Hall of Horrors, Exorcist Area 5.8-5.11a

Hall of Horrors, Exorcist Area 5.8-5.11a

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 33.99974°N / 116.14703°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Fall, Winter
Sign the Climber's Log


Diamond Dogs, 5.10a Dow leading Diamond Dogs, 5.10a
Exorcist, 5.10a
Exorcist, 5.10a

My first day of climbing at JTree involved 13 different routes, the majority of which were concentrated at the Hall of Horrors. We had camped at Ryan the night before and incurred quite a heavy frost. By early morning we were climbing sans shirts at the Hall of Horrors area. We spent most of the day there, beautiful weather, until we finished off across the way at Saddle Rocks. During the entire day we only came across one boulderer and one other pair of climbers on a mid-day, late February, early March. The west face of the east wall is obviously a good afternoon objective during the winter months. 

The west face (east wall) of Hall of Horrors is the largest face in the Sheep Pass area short of Saddle Rocks. This face is divided up in the new guidebook (2011) as the North End, Exorcist area, Troy Block and the Jaws area. The routes are a combination of classic crack climbs like the Exorcist (5.10a) and Nurn’s Romp (5.8) as well as several face climbs, Casual (5.9) and Love Goddess (5.12a). The Exorcist area consists of six routes with several 100' classics. Obviously a great place in the winter during the afternoon with good shade offered in the mornings. Follow Park Blvd to Loop road past the Ryan campground. Next parking area on your left will be the Hall of Horrors. From the parking/rest rooms, head straight north for the right side of the long Hall of Horrors wall in front of you. Follow the trail signs to the right end of the wall and circumvent back to the center of the northwest wall where you will find an obvious 5.8 crack to the top (Nurn’s Romp). Exorcist (5.10a) is just a few meters further right. Jaws (5.6) is all the way down on the right side of this northwest facing wall. Exorcist, Jaws and Nurn’s Romp are all marked with their own signs (2011).

Routes Listed Left to Right as you Face the North Wall

Borat- 80’-5.8/ Not in the local guides as of 2019.  Overly bolted route to the left of Lickety Splits.  Mostly slab with a few edges.  Eases way up as one could predict.  Rap Lickety Splits.  Dow

Lickety Splits- 80’-5.7*/ Solid for the grade.  Worthy of the recommendation in the local guide.  Start up the fingers flake on the left side of Diamond Dogs' wide undercling.   At the top of the crack, it is run out to the rap chains atop the formation.  The run out  is 5.5 slab. C4#.3 to #.5.  Dow

Lickety Dogs 80’- 5.9TR/ A convoluted (thus top rope) route that can easily be done after the really good 5.7, Lickety Splits.  Lower to a boulder and then climb though a short fat flake (mantle crux) to the top of the Lickety Splits flake.  Dow

Diamond Dogs 80’- 5.10a**/ This is a fascinating route and second best only to the Exorcist in the Hall of Horrors in my opinion. Most no doubt top rope it from the easier routes to the left, but it is an interesting lead. Stick a C4#4 up deep on the first major under cling grab. Continue moving right up the strenuous flake (harder than it looks). If you have a C4#6 you can place it, but it is rattly. Bottom line is the start of this route has fall potential. Mantel the obvious horn. From there, you climb up and left on intricate slab moves. Do not hang with the remaining flake for too long. Move up and left on slab where you can get a sloper with not much for feet. Mantle up on that and follow two bolts to a fixed anchor. They are run out but protect the crux face moves which still offer some decent 5.9 climbing. Dow

Nurn’s Romp 80’- 5.8**/ This is a fantastic hand crack to warm up on. It is the most obvious route on this side of the formation. The start has a bit of easy off width, then into the crack with all the medium gear you want. The old guide book calls for you to jump across the void on your left at the top to walk off the route. No worries, only a 10% chance you might go to the hospital. Or......you can simply rap Exorcist with a 60m rope which should be your next route anyway, a super classic 5.10a. Just walk the ledge out climbers right. Not knowing this, I soloed down the east side, only to look up and see a feature rap on that side as well. Dow

Exorcist 100’- 5.10a***/ Robert’s guide book says 60’, but it might be more comfortable for some to belay at the base of the wall which is 100'. However if you will scramble up to the ledge below the crack itself, it offers a fantastic position.  This namesake for the west face of the east formation is one of my favorites at JTree. You climb a beautiful thin finger crack with relief at the feet from time to time making it a 10-/5.9+. Layback facing left, then right.  Just small lay back moves off of finger and ring locks. The crack vanishes at a bolt where you make one crux balancing move (right finger edge) to a huge horn. Make a physical mantle to easier ground above. The rap is up and left and a 70m makes it all the way back to the ground. All finger pieces. Dow

It- 60’-5.9*/ Good route with a stout move for the grade.  Climb the obvious left facing hand corner just to the right of Exorcist to a ledge.  The crux is the first few meters of the upper left facing corner (above the ledge):  an awkward layback move or two gets you to fingers.  It all protects well and is on good rock.  Can rap Exorcist.  Dow

The Antichrist- 30’-5.11a*/ Fully bolted, sandbagged, route on the short right face to the right of Exorcist, starting on the same ledge.  The start is an incredulous leap to a side jug with a shark’s tooth like feature that almost ripped my finger off.  Another punchy move at the grade midway up.  Finish on one of the other routes and rap the Exorcist.  Dow

That- 25’-5.10b/ A left leaning crack on the upper cliff band (starts on the upper ledge) to the right of Exorcist.  Small to medium gear.  Soft for the grade.  Dow

What- 130’-5.8/ This long, stacked corner, trad route deserves a recommendation over many of the 5.8’s ahead of it in the local guide.  However, the crux does involve chossy rock.  Climb the right facing corner on the right side of the Exorcist area, on nice rock below the grade.  From the ledge above, climb the wide crack with a chossy flake inside.  This wide crack with questionable rock is the crux.  Dow



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