Fun Stuff is the name for a route on the North Wall of Echo Cove
in the Echo Rock
area of Joshua Tree National Park
The name of this route explains it all. This is a fun climb that is highly recommended for an intermediate visiting climber to Echo Cove. For one thing, it's the very first route you come to as you enter the cove. This route could have easily been called "A taste of Things to Come." There are a number of moderate routes on this formation and Fun Stuff sets a good example for those. It's a good route to warm up on to try more ambitious climbs such as Big Moe
, rated 11a, located on the North Face of Echo Cove
, right across the cove from it. Fun Stuff is southwest facing and a great one to play on for a cold winter day. This route combines face climbing on a low angle rock with some steeper crack/face climbing toward the end.
Fun Stuff starts on a slab protected by two bolts to the base of a short crack. It is possible to supplement the bolts with some thin pieces of protection. It is not necessary to use crack climbing techniques to climb the upper crack as there are plenty of face hold to use. The crack, however, provides a great medium for placing protection. A few feet from the top the crack peters out forcing you to make a few moves on pure friction to a double bolt anchor and chains. Have fun on Fun Stuff, 5.8.
Bring a sixty meter rope, Standard rack, pro to 2.5 inches, slings and draws. Please don't lower off from the anchor. It's best to rappel and reduce wear and tear on the anchor.
The north wall of Echo Cove seen from the entrance to Echo Cove area
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.” Walk along the dirt road and within less than a minute the South Face Of Echo Cove will be on your right, and right next to the road. Continue walking along the road to the end of the south face where you will see another small parking area. In front of the parking area there is a sign reading "Thin Crack" pointing you into the gully/cove. The North Wall of Echo Cove, left side, is immediately to your left. Fun Stuff is on the first formation you come to and easy to find.
Environmental Concerns, Camping, Noise Considerations
Please tread lightly. The Access Fund has gone to great lengths posting trail marker 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 trails.
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 camp grounds in hopes of getting a hand out. It’s better to let them live their natural life.
protecting native plants
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.