Pope's Crack, 5.9
My second day of climbing at JTree led me to a classic 5.9 crack named Touch and Go
in an area known as Echo Tee
. Across from this popular objective is a huge slabby dome labeled with the namesake Echo Rock
. Though no one was climbing on Echo Rock when we were there, supposedly it is a popular destination littered with classics. One of those is Pope’s Crack, 5.9+,
located at the far south end of the dome. Although given the same status in the new guide book (2011) as the classic hand crack Touch and Go, I did not find it near as comparable a pitch. It is worth doing however. Swept Away, 5.11a
, is another classic located at the south end of Echo Rock. Obviously this wall is a great morning objective during winter mornings and stays lit well into the afternoon.
Echo Rock is divided in the new guide book into two separate climbing areas, West Face and South Side
. E.B.G.B.’S Block (with its own climbing routes) divides the two. Follow Park Blvd to the Keys Ranch/Barker Dam turn-off and take a left. Drive past the Hidden Valley campground and Keys Ranch road on your left and pull into the immediate trail head for Echo Tee. From the restrooms, take off to the right towards the south end of the broad dome you are looking at to the north. Swept Away is a an obvious traverse route along the very right hand fold on the dome.
Pope’s Crack is located directly under two roofs to the left, an obvious hand crack. There are eight more routes located between these two classics and one slab route to the right of Swept Away.
Route Description (s)
The Routes are Listed Left to Right as you Face the Wall
- Pope’s Crack- 100’- 5.9+/***Pope’s is a fun hand crack, but not as aesthetic a climb as Touch and Go. There are three variations to finish the route. It starts in a hand crack corner below two roofs. Place gear at will and as you pass the first roof on your right side, the angle eases way up to below the second roof. The original route traversed out left and up. In 2010, they added the bolt that actually pulls the right side of the roof. We chose to traverse up and right on a bit of run out, but below the grade. Then down climbed 4th class a few meters to British Airways rap station. Dow
- British Airways- 80’- 5.11aR/*
- London Calling- 80’- 5.11cR/*
- Rule Britannia- 80’- 5.11cR/**
- Raked over the Coles- 60’- 5.10d/**
- Nuts are for Men Without Balls- 50’- 5.8/
- Sole Fusion- 60’- 5.12a/**
- My Idea of Fun- 50’- 5.13a/*
- Street Sweeper- 80’- 5.12a/*
- Swept Away- 150’- 5.11a/***
- TS Special- 160’- 5.9/*
External LinksJoshua Tree National Park Including Map.
Campsites I don’t recommend the Ryan Campsite. We were there at a quiet time as far as seeing any other climbers at all, yet this campsite was full of tents and RVs. The RV’s ran their generators all night and the circle configuration of the site made it very loud and crowded. Hidden Valley looks strung out and much more quiet.
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Royal Siam Thai Restaurant
Everyone thinks this is great Thai food. It really is not, but food always taste better after a day of climbing. Best option in Jtree proper. The camping is pretty decent though and I would advise taking your own food.
Robert Miramontes' fantastic new guide book (2011) at Wolverine Publishing