The group campground at Indian Cove is not an ideal place to hang out if you would rather climb vs socialize, particularly on the weekends. But several of the crags in that area are remote enough to escape the horde, The Big Top being one of them. Even though it is only a half a mile hike from the end of the group campground road, it has five routes, three of which are 5.10 and folks at the group campground are not in Jtree to climb 5.10, so more than likely you will have the formation to yourself.
The Big Top is isolated in the middle of the desert floor northwest from the end of the gravel road. When the rest of Indian Cove is protected from the wind, Big Top can really catch it. More My Speed, 5.3, Lion Tamer, 5.8*, and Sawdust and Peanut Shells, 5.10a*, are located side by side on the broad and varnished west face. Three Ring Circus, 5.10b**, and Under the Big Top, 5.10d, are two bolted lines located on the northeast side of the formation and are therefore shaded for most of the day. This side of the formation does not have any striking face on it and in fact Under the Big Top is only 25’ tall.
Park at the end of the road. Hike due west from the restroom along a well-established trail between the formations. You intersect the Boy Scout trail in just a minute or two. Turn right and hike north for a little while, but in short order cross the open ground heading northwest for the Big Top crossing a broad wash. The west face is the easiest way to identify it but obviously hard to see until you get closer since you are hiking from the east. The hike is no more than half a mile, so just look for a group of rocks to the northwest and head for them. You will find the right formation which features a tall, triangle in shape (big top), dark varnished wall (photo). Sawdust and Peanut Shells is the sparsely bolted climb up the right side arête. More My Speed climbs the left side arête. Lion Tamer follows an intermittent crack feature in the middle of the face.
More My Speed- 65’-5.3/ Actually a fun angled crack up right and then traverse a hand crack back left to atop a boulder in space. I soloed and then down-climbed it, but you could tie back into Lion Tamer and finish to its rap anchor. Dow
Lion Tamer- 70’-5.8*/ Excellent slab climb on good rock. Cruxy start up a thin arching crack. Eventually you get a bomber finger piece and then up right a short crack to the typical Jtree slab, well sustained at the grade. You can get two to three medium pieces in to supplement the three bolts. These are good modern bolts as of 2018. Fixed rap anchor at top. Dow
Sawdust and Peanut Shells- 70’-5.11a*/ Bad bolts and hangers as of 2018. Cruxy start after you make the first clip: left edge to palm mantle. Several palm mantels on the upper slab. Sporty for the grade. Rap Lion Tamer. Dow
Three Ring Circus- 55'-5.10b**/
Under the Big Top- 25'-5.10d/