Hall of Horrors, Jaws Area, 5.6-5.11b

Hall of Horrors, Jaws Area, 5.6-5.11b

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 33.99920°N / 116.14748°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Fall, Winter
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Dow leading Doin' Life, 5.10a*
Dow leading Doin' Life, 5.10a*

My first day of climbing at Joshua Tree National Park involved 13 different routes, the majority of which were concentrated at the Hall of Horrors. No question my favorite destination wall at this grouping is named the Exercist Area which is the north facing wall of the main formation.  But in my quest to climb a 1000 routes in the park, I eventually got around to the west end of the same main formation which is named the Jaws Area.  The two walls stand in stark contrast in terms of style.  Where Exercist and company is mostly about trad climbing via fairly good cracks, the Jaws grouping is more about bolted slab climbs except for its namesake, Jaws 5.6R**, which is a secure solo chimney climb.

Follow Park Blvd past the Ryan campground heading east. Next parking area on your left will be the Hall of Horrors. From the parking/rest rooms, head west through a notch between the main formation on your right and Horror Rock on your left.  Circumvent the formation to your right looking for a bolted slab area.  Jaws is a chimney located on the left end of this slab.   Buenos Aires climbs the face forming the left side of Jaws.  The other routes are to the right.  This area and Jaws specifically are normally well marked by park signs.

Routes Listed Left to Right on this West Facing Slab

Buenos Aires- 70’-5.10a*/ The least desirable route on this wall.  Miramontes guide (2014) mentions 2 bolts and thin protection but there is no pro outside of the bolts.  It is a long run-out climb just to the left of Jaws up a dishy face.  The last move to the first bolt is 5.9 with consequences.  Then climbing at the grade through the two bolts.  I traversed up and right to the fixed rap that serves the other slab routes on this wall and brought the 2nd up.  130’. Dow

Jaws- 100’-5.6R**/ The guide has the lengths wrong on these routes.  You can just barely top rope them all with a 60m rope except for Buenos, from the singular fixed rap centered atop the wall.  This is a secure solo right facing chimney, then pull out at top via hands and traverse up and right on easy slab to the fixed rap. Dow

Casual- 100’-5.9*/ As the name implies, the most casual route on the wall.  There really is no gear as the guide suggests except near the top on an easy slab finish. Climb through three bolts up the slab arete just to the right of Jaws. Dow

Doin’ Life- 100’-5.10a*/ Unlike Casual, there is an opportunity to place a few medium pieces of gear as you climb up a right leaning crack.  Pull up atop the crack just below the first bolt.  The crux is the first move or two through this bolt, which is sandbagged to say the least, more 5.11 than 5.10.  Vertical slab with little to no features to make out.  Bring your xray vision. Once through your first bolts, mostly just 5.9 slab through three more bolts to the fixed rap.  The guide says “friction and edging”, but way more friction than edging on this wall. Dow

Search for Klingons- 100’-5.7*/ A worthy 5.7.  Climb up the right facing hands corner with medium gear to a ledge.  Make a power move at the grade to mantle up to below the first bolt.  Then another bolt up typical slab to the anchor. Dow



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