Cathouse is a very popular crag in Joshua Tree located amongst the roadside objectives between Lost Horse Road and Intersection Rock. These two southeast facing walls offer one of the larger collection of easier climbs in the park during the winter months. Therefore you will find a lot of top roping and “friend guiding” in this area. Cathouse cannot be seen from the road, so it is difficult to assess just how crowded it is until you surmount a small col.
Cathouse is divided into a left and right wall that Miramontes calls “lower” and “upper” respectively. I found a decent moderate crack climb on the lower wall that was easily doable on a 40F day, Limited Partnership (5.8). Miramontes guide references “scant pro” on this route via three parallel thin cracks. However, I found the pro to be bomber, but this route does provide a clinic for the aspiring trad leader in placing his/her smaller gear from micros to offsets. My second favorite of this group is Hello Kitty (5.9). Most of these routes were established in the 90’s by Chris Miller or Alan Bartlett.
Just east of Lost Horse Road is a pullout. Park here and hike southwest to the left choice of two small cols. Pick up a faint climbers trail that leads up and over large boulders to the walls on your right side. Maybe 10 minutes from the car.
Routes Listed Left to Right as you Face the Walls
Right Wall (Upper)
Hello Kitty- 5.9**/ Hello Kitty is by far the more interesting of this collection on the right wall. You hit a shallow corner that takes an interesting layback move at the grade, then face climb through bolts to finish. Shares a fixed rap with the next two routes. Dow
Nine Lives- 5.8*/ This is the center line of this right wall and heads for the decent crack up high. Neither this route nor Cat Scratch Fever are very sustained. Hello Kitty is by far the more interesting of the three. Dow
Cat Scratch Fever- 5.9*/ Not really Jtree 5.9. Pull a bulge and finish on a seam. Dow
Left Wall (Lower)
Felix- 5.4/ Easy solo on the left side of the wall. Climb well featured ground, hand crack and jugs, to another wall facing south above and continue up to the rap out right. Dow
Little Brown Jug- 5.7*/ A fairly easy 5.7 by Jtree standards, had a client lead it, safe enough but a bit run out for teaching on. Shares a fixed rap with most all the routes on this left wall. Dow
Limited Partnership- 5.8*/ This pitch was surprisingly good. You stem up small features whilst placing micros and offset cams in the shallow crack in front. The 2nd half of the pitch is not very good though. About 30' of real climbing. Despite what the guide book says, it is not difficult to protect if you know what you are doing. Dow
Marmac’s Crack- 5.6/ Easy secure solo for the grade. Hand crack to the top, fixed rap way out left. Dow
Tourette’s Syndrome- 5.10c*/ Interesting opposing side pulls (lips of a short crack) allow you sort of lay back up the face. The crux is right off the deck. Stout move or two for the grade with intricate pro, then much easier. Fixed rap way out left. Dow
Bobcat- 5.10a*/ A few meters of face climbing through two bolts at the grade off the deck leads to a crack above and trend up and left on much easier ground. One or two pieces of medium gear. Fixed rap way out left. Dow