DXM Wall is the name of a rock formation in the The Alabama Hills
on the outskirts of Mount Whitney
in the Sierra Nevada Range
DXM Wall is the last major formation in an area known as The Ghost. The entire Ghost area is rich in formations and rock towers, and I have no doubt that in the future more areas up this rocky canyon will be developed. DXM Wall is located a short distance to the northwest of Elephant Rock & The Leaning Tower of Pizza
, and it's clearly visible from the parking area. Unlike many formations in The Alabama Hills that you have a wide and flat base, DXM Wall has a rocky base and not particularly inviting for large groups. That fact alone may be the reason for lack popularity that this formation well deserves. The most distinguishing features of this wall are two wide cracks that run parallel to each other separating the formation into two sections, right and left. The larger concentration of the routes are located on the left wall, hence a bit more problematic getting to bases of.
The most sought after route on the left wall is a beautiful crack/double crack that was originally done using standard gear for protection. This route is named Dextromethorphan, rated 5.9. At some point in time, this route was bolted and it's rating was down graded to 5.8. In either case, using gear or clipping bolts next the crack for protection, this route is definitely worthy of doing for a visitor. A set of anchor bolts just before the angle of the rock eases off, will greet your arrival. The right side of DXM Wall also sports one of the most popular routes on this formation. This route is called Ghost Dance, rated 5.8 and is protected by bolts. Although the old guide book by Michael Strassman calls this route a great beginner lead, I know a number of climbers, myself included, that were forced to pay close attention to every move to get up this route. On top of Ghost Dance, as well as most of the routes on DXM Wall, you will find double-bolt anchors. The best way to preserve and lengthen the life of these critical anchors is to rappel off of them and not using them for lowering off. In addition, please use your own quick draws for top roping.
Select Routes of DXM Wall
|A||Tussin, 10a, Bolts, anchor
|B||Boodgie Boy, 5.9, bolts, anchor
|C||Dextromethorphan, 5.9, Gear or bolts, anchor
|D||44D, 5.9, bolts, anchor
|E||Right DXM Crack, 10a, Standard Rack, gear up to 4.5", anchor
|F||Ghost Dance, 5.8, bolts, anchor
Upper Ghost Area and DXM Wall on the right
From the town of Lone Pine, California, on Highway 395 take Whitney Portal Road
at the only traffic light in town. Drive 2.7 miles west on this road to intersect Move Road
. Turn right onto the Movie Road. This road is paved for a short distance then it turns into a dirt road. The first dirt road to intersect the Movie Road heads for Shark's Fin
. Drive about a mile to where Movie Road makes a sweeping turn to the right. Just before reaching this turn you will see a dirt road intersecting from the left. Take this dirt road. Drive a short distance to another dirt road from the left. Go left on this one as well. If you end up by Tall Wall
, The Western Wall
and Nut Towers
you have not taken the correct left turn on your way to the Ghosts area. Looking from the Movie Road, the Ghosts area is to the left of the Tall Wall and Western Wall area. You need to back track and take the correct left turn. There is a large parking area here and it's almost surrounded by rack formations. Looking across the wash, Elephant Rock is obvious. Please use the trails marked by small stones and rocks to reach to formations. Drop down the marked path to the base of Elephant Rock and go right past The Leaning Tower of Pizza. Then, scramble around and over some boulders to get to the base.
Although many parties camp within the parking areas of the Alabama Hills, this practice is highly discouraged. The area suffers from mismanaged campsites and blackened caves. There are two campgrounds very close to the Alabama Hills. Lone Pine Campground
is further up the road on Whitney Portal Road
, and Tuttle Creek Campground
is within a few miles up Horseshoe Meadow Road.
If you don't mind driving another fifty miles, there are many campgrounds along Bishop Creek just to the west of Bishop. There are also many places in The Buttermilks area that are close to a creek that are suitable for camping. Please do not camp in The Buttermilks bouldering area. That area is very crowded and is suffering from the impact unregulated camping has caused.
The following links should help finding a good campsite
Horton Creek Campground
Rock Creek Canyon
Inyo National Forest
Bishop Creek and vicinity camping