Touch And Go Face is a rock formation in Joshua Tree National Park, California.
This small formation received its name and reputation because of one, and only one, route.
That route is named “Touch And Go.” rated 5.9. Although there are half a dozen other climbs on this face that have been done, you hardly ever see anyone trying them. The day I was taking photos for this page a team was trying to climb another route on the right, “Thrash or Crash, 5.9” without much success. The more difficult routes are basically top rope problems, and the more moderate ones are not of the quality that would bring many climbers to their bases. Another reason for this lack of attention could be due to the feeling of fulfillment you get after you have climbed Touch And Go. For these reasons I will dedicate the rest of this page to featuring this one climb. You will also find a route topo and a list of routes in a separate chapter.
Touch And Go, 5.9
If you were to make a list of the best crack climbs in Joshua tree in the 5.9 difficulty level, without a doubt, “Touch And Go” would end up in your first page. This short but beautiful crack is so famous that the entire face is named after it. “Touch And Go” is located across from Echo Rock, less than a mile from Hidden Valley Campground. This is the first route to be climbed on this face in the mid 1970s. It consists of a single crack in a left facing corner. The crux of the route is in the first twelve to fifteen feet. The crack is wide enough for nice finger locks, and you can stem the two faces making the left facing corner. The rest of the route climbs a solid and well-protected 5.8 hand jam to a flat and comfortable top.
Descent from “Touch And Go” is made by going right, north, on slabs and jumping or down climbing a short step.
Essential Gear: Standard Rack, take a few runners to set up belay anchor on top.
List of Routes
Select Climbs of Touch And Go Face
|A||The Cornerstone, 10a, standard Rack|
|B||Touch And Go, 5.9, standard rack|
|C||The Gold Hunk, 11a, TR/Toprope, first ascent by John Long|
|D||Gilded Lump, 11a, TR/Toprope|
|E||Credibility Gap, 5.9, standard rack |
|F||Thrash Or Crash, 5.9, standard rack, include some large pro|
How to get there
From the western entrance to Joshua Tree National Park drive on Park Boulevard, formerly known as Quail Springs Road, for about nine miles to a major rock formation called “Intersection Rock.” Intersection Rock is a major landmark on the north side of Quail Springs Road with ample parking for visitors and climbers alike. This rock, true to its name, sit at the cross roads to “Hidden Valley Campground”, Barker Dam Road and the road to “Day use and picnic” area.
Just past (Intersection Rock), take the road to Barker Dam for a short distance. Shortly after getting on this road you’ll see a sign for “Key’s Ranch” Road. Take this dirt road to a large parking area on the right. Just beyond the parking area there is a sign for “Key’s Ranch Guided Tours.” You can drive further on this road to access several other climbing formations, but you will run into a locked gate for “Key’s Ranch.”
Best times to climb
If you are in Joshua Tree during the warm seasons looking for a moderate crack climb in the shade, give “Touch And Go” a try in the afternoon. In addition, the north south orientation of the valley between Echo Rock and “Touch And Go Face” seems to produce a gentle breeze keeping the area cool. Conversely, if you are here during the cold seasons, you may want to hit this east facing formation in mid day after the sun has had time to warm up the rock.
Please tread lightly. The Access Fund has gone to great lengths posting trail markers for approaches to many of the more popular crags. Do your best to stay on these trails, and where you are forced to use a different path, choose the ones that rain can mend in time. Drainages make for good trails where there are no established ones.
Avoid stepping on native and fragile plants, and do not feed the coyotes. Coyotes are very much used to people and often hang around picnic areas and campgrounds in hopes of getting a hand out. It’s better to let them live their natural life.
Camping and noise considerations
There are nine campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park. At the entrance to the park you are always asked if you would care to have a map and a brochure. The brochure will have plenty of information on the campgrounds and the map will guide you to many of the pleasant hikes throughout the park. You may even get the latest information as to availability of campsites. During the peak season (mid winter through spring) finding a campsite may become a major task. It is highly recommended to use the following link to get more information in advance.
Joshua Tree Camping
When you are camping with friends and sitting around the fire, it is easy to forget that there are other people trying to sleep in the nearby campsites. It is important to put yourself in their shoes. Keep the noise and music to a minimum and certainly not too much past 10 p.m. Your neighbors will smile at you in the morning instead of giving you dirty looks.
Fees and Food
My wife and I have had Thai food in many different restaurants and cities. This Thai place beats them all. In November when the number of visitors to Joshua Tree reaches its peak, this restaurant puts on a Thai Buffet, all you can eat for 16.00$/person. But, you must get there early, or be prepared to wait by the door for a table.