Beef Jello represents the true “Inner City” in that it is approximately the same distance between two major trailheads: North Fork and Circle Creek. To complete one of the best 5.10/11 cirques in the park, I recommend starting out by climbing Beef Jello, 5.10d*** (east facing), then cross over the creek to climb Banana Belly, 5.10a** and Banana Split, 5.10d* (east facing), followed by the bolted fantastic two pitch arete on Nameless Tower, Sub Zero, 5.11a*** (west facing), and finish the day on the Great Wall on a stellar and unique two pitch trad climb named Birth Canal, 5.10d** (west facing). In this order they are set up to keep you in the sun on cooler days. The cirque is off trail and makes sense when you do it this way in terms of elevation. Beef Jello, the route, is one of the few good trad lines at the City of Rocks unencumbered with bolts. The same can be said for Birth Canal. There are only two established routes on Beef Jello as of 2020. The other is a 5.12 bolted route on the arete to the left of Beef Jello. The formation in general is not overly impressive in size. I appreciate the name as it gives me the opportunity to explain to my younger partners exactly what is in jello.
I prefer to approach by parking at the Circle Creek Trailhead. I have approached from both directions, but North Fork involves a lot more elevation loss and gain vs the relatively level approach all the way in from Circle Creek. Pass Stripe Rock on your left as you go through a gate and continue on the trail past Nexus on your right. After Nexus, Nameless Tower’s excellent arete climb, Sub Zero, 5.11a***, can be seen at the top of the hill on your right, a broad faced arete. Beef Jello is the smaller feature still in front of you on the left. To reach Banana Crag, requires a short bushwhack NE from Beef Jello.
The Mold- 5.12a**/
Beef Jello- 5.10d***/ As the guide alludes to, if this trad corner were closer to the road, it would be one of the more popular climbs at its grade, if not the best 5.10d trad route in the park. Beef Jello's corner is located at the south end of the east face. It shades itself in the morning and therefore stays shaded for most of the day. One crux is getting started on the mossy section at the bottom of the corner, a finger crack that leads up to a pack rat nesting ledge. Then a slightly overhung layback fingers to eventual hands makes for a physical climb true to the grade. Fixed rap anchor atop. Gear to #3. Dow