Dow leading Moubit, 5.10a* (pic above is Crack #6)
Isles Corridor is more often than not an afterthought to the ultra Joshua Tree classics: Bird of Fire
. That being said, these two walls, separated by a grassy and shaded corridor, can serve in their own right as a trad destination at Jtree, particularly when seeking shade from the desert heat. The 5.10s on the right wall (as you enter the corridor) are significantly more challenging and less climbed (a bit chossy and coarse) than the 5.9’s and 10’s on the left wall. Several of the routes are worth doing. There are no fixed raps (2017) atop of either wall that descend back down into the corridor itself (you can rap back down on the Bird of Fire side). Rather I choose to scramble down the right wall at the far end, 5th class, or the left wall at the near end, 5th class. Some, depending on experience, might want to pack a few larger pieces if leading Moubit and Hour of Power.
Park at Split Rock trail head. Approach as you would for Bird of Fire, including the 5th class approach pitch to the base of that route/wall. Circumvent this wall to the left and scramble up and through a narrow section that dumps you into the surreal corridor directly behind the Bird of Fire wall. If you want a sunny picnic spot for lunch, you will find it at the far end via a flat sunny spot, otherwise this corridor is mostly covered in shade.
Route Description (s) Routes Listed Left to Right as you face the Left (West) Wall
Descent Crack- 30’-5.2/ There is no rap on this side therefore I use this route as a down climb for my descent after finishing any of the other routes. The line is quite obvious when you are descending. Dow
Crack #2- 40’-5.6/
Crack #4- 50’-5.10c/
Crack #5- 50’-5.9**/ Straight forward hand crack, fun movement, nothing out of the ordinary. Dow
Mettle (sic) Detector- 50’-5.12bR**/
Crack #6- 50’-5.10a**/ I have led much harder 5.10's at Jtree then this pitch. It will feel like Jtree 5.9 at most. Mostly hands and fists (found no need to lay back any of it as mentioned by others), fun movement, nothing out of the ordinary. Dow
Routes Listed Right to Left as you face the Right (East) Wall
Crack A- 45’-5.7/
Crack B- 55’-5.9/
Moubit- 55’-5.10a*/ This route is located directly across from Crack #6 on the other side. This pitch is much easier than Hour of Power. Straight forward as you will find hands for most of this crack, but the rock is coarse as it is with all routes in this corridor. Can belay off of one of two fixed raps for Isles in the Sky routes and scramble down 5th class at either end back into the corridor. Dow
Hour of Power- 60’-5.10a*/The description in Miramontes guide states “power out an overhanging hand crack”. This pitch is as much off- width, particularly at the roof pull crux, than it ever is hands of any size. I led it with a single C4#3 and #4 which meant I ran it out from the roof to the top where it is much easier off-width climbing. Climb huecos to gain the crack (hands), place a #2 deep in to get it out of the way of your feet and make tough physical moves for the grade to gain the small roof via the wide crack. More knees and arm bars than anything else. Place a #4 and head up much easier climbing from there. The crux will be more than many 5.10- leaders might appreciate. Gear belay. You can scramble down just meters to the west. Dow