Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 33.99894°N / 116.01991°W
Activities Activities: Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Sign the Climber's Log


Vanishing Desert, 5.8*
Vanishing Desert, 5.8*

Belle Campground is normally the best choice you will have for peace regarding camping choices in Joshua Tree National Park.  It also has three climbing formations:  Castle Rock (with End Block), Short Cake Rocks and Half Rock.  Short Cake Rocks is broken down in the guide as three separate formations although they all practically touch.  Miramontes guide has them marked as all day sun routes, but depending on the time of year, that is not necessarily the case.   Half Rock is the obvious half remains of a massive boulder almost due west of Short Cake Rocks by not even 5 minutes.  This large sliced boulder leans against other boulders to form a significant cave like setting underneath. Vanishing Desert, 5.8*, is a short bolted climb worth doing if you are in the area.  Kinder and Gentler, 5.6, shares the same start.  All the climbs are bolted even though the guide shows some of them as mixed.  Fixed rap down the southwest face.

When you pull into the campground proper, End Block is what you are looking at with Castle Rock located directly behind it.  Half Rock and Short Cake Rocks are the only other two climbing formations in the Campground and neither are surrounded by campsites. Both are located the same distance south from Castle Rock.  Half Rock is easily identifiable as half of a massive boulder to the west of Short Cake Rocks.  Short Cake Rocks is a compilation of massive boulders to the east of Half Rock.  Both are to the south of Castle Rock, approximately a 5 minute walk, and easily identifiable by the photos. 

Route Descriptions

Northeast Face, Left to Right

  • Vanishing Desert- 30’-5.8*/ This route climbs a cool varnished "half rock" feature which serves as a roof over a cave like atmosphere. Climb up the left side of the north face through three bolts to the summit. Start up a flake with hands, then traverse left into the bolt line. Rap down the opposite side. Fully bolted.  Dow
  • Kinder and Gentler Ream Job- 30'-5.6/ Start up the same flake, but continue straight up through one bolt to the summit. Dow
  • Rangers in Space- 30'-5.11a*/

Southwest Face, Left to Right

  • Big Sandy Bound- 30'-5.10c/
  • Global Warming- 30'-5.11b*/



Related objects are relevant to each other in some way, but they don't form a parent/child relationship. Also, they don't necessarily share the same parent.