Bighorn Dome, 5.10a-5.11b

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 34.04798°N / 116.13909°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
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The Tube, Poaching Bighorn and Greenhorn Dihedral
The Tube, Poaching Bighorn and Greenhorn Dihedral

This remote wall, complete with some of the better 5.10-5.11 trad routes in the entire park, did not get a visit from me until near the end of my 1000 route pursuit in Joshua Tree National Park.  Bighorn Dome is not to be confused with Bighorn Dihedral, 5.10b***, located on Suicide Horn Rock further to the west.  Bighorn Dome is actually not even that remote as it is hidden.  If you have climbed on Disneyland Dome in South Wonderland, you were not far from Bighorn Dome as the crow flies.  Bighorn Dome and Cornerstone lay hidden in a wash to the east of the main wash/hike to the west of Freak Brothers, Disneyland Dome and Bighorn Mating Grotto.  These far eastern objectives are literally the last granite domes to the east before you run into the sloped hills that line the eastern perimeter above Rattlesnake Canyon.

Listed as north facing in the guide, Bighorn Dome is situated such that the base of the routes receive plenty of sun in the month of May.  The quality of the routes on Bighorn cannot be overstated.  Of the six published routes, two receive a three-star recommendation in the local guide and I concur with same:  Poaching Bighorn, 5.11b*** and Greenhorn Dihedral, 5.10c***.  Love Goat, 5.10a*, shares the same base with Poaching Bighorn and is as good and tall as any route at that grade in the park.   Aliens Ate My Buick, 5.10b*, shares the same base as Greenhorn and was more of a contrived mix bolted line with little to offer compared to the before mentioned stellar trad climbs. There is a slung feature (2019) atop Greenhorn Dihedral that you can rap via one double rope rap and serves as the way down for all the routes although I am sure you can scramble down one of the ends as well.

Park as you would for most destinations in Wonderland South, the dirt parking lot just beyond the large gravel lot for Echo Cove.  Drive past where it turns to sand from pavement on Big Horn Pass Road and take a left on a dirt road that leads to a small parking area complete with restroom.  Hike north out of the parking area and turn west on a trail heading for the Pink House ruins.  Enter the main wash from there and hike a mile until you reach the Freak Brothers feature on your right, which features several large connecting roofs.  Turn right after Freak Brothers into a smaller wash and head east.  Once you clear the domes on the right and left, look to exit the wash on the left and cross over some flat terrain and enter another wash heading northeast.  There is a large boulder with a mixed route on it.  Pass under it on the right and boulder hop north until it drops into a wash again.  Bighorn Dome is on your left, a north facing wall (photos) you will have no visual of until you reach this point.  Hike up a wash on the left to easy ground that leads to the base of the wall.  A short scramble is required to reach the base of the Tube, Poaching Big Horn and the Love Goat (opposing corners) on the left.  Aliens Ate My Buick (broad arete) and Greenhorn (right facing dihedral) start from the ground up the gut of the formation.  Zorba is located further right.

Routes Listed Left to Right facing the North Wall

Tube- 115’-5.10b/

Poaching Big Horn- 120’-5.11b***/

Love Goat- 115’-5.10a*/ Exceptional route for the grade.  Starts out in the nice left facing hand crack (opposite Poaching Bighorn) corner that turns wide the taller you go eventually reaching chicken wing width.  Has a funky exposed move (below grade) at the top.  Has a mid-ledge which is where the singular bolt is located that the local guide has listed as pro although it is just a single bolt mid rap station.  Medium to large gear anchor at top, a single 70m just makes it back down to the base of the route.  Slung rap atop Greenhorn Dihedral as of 2019 will get you off the wall with a single double rope rap.   Doubles to #3, single #4.  Dow

Aliens Ate my Buick- 140’-5.10b*/ Starts out as a bolted broad arete face climb.  There is a piton (2019) underneath the roof.  Pull the roof at the right end and gain the shallow crack above that gets better as you move up it and joins Greenhorn at its roof pull.  Sustained at the grade to that point.  Shared slung rap with Greenhorn.  Double rope rap required. Single to #1 and several draws.   Dow

Greenhorn Dihedral- 140’-5.10c***/ Given props in the local guide book and well deserved.  Not as good in rock quality as many of the other 510c*** climbs in the book, but its length obviously makes up for it.  This is a lichen covered wall.  Start in the finger crack corner that aligns with the left corner of the prominent roof above.  Nice finger pockets make this section more than reasonable.  The route gets steeper into a hands crack on the left wall of the corner.  You lose the hands back to fingers, as the wall steepens, which peter out into the crux moves via an exposed roof pull utilizing face features.  Then easier climbing to the slung rap.  Dow

Zorba- 140’-5.11aR*/



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