crux of Friendly Hands, 5.10b
Most climbers find their way out into the open expanse of Lost Horse Valley to get fun poser shots on Aguille De Joshua Tree
(see photo on right) which is located in the middle of the desert/valley floor. Just to the southwest of Augille is Jimmy Cliff which is considered the largest formation in this area
. Even so, on the busiest of California weekends, you are still likely to have this entire formation to yourself which is not actually a bad idea considering several quality moderate trad routes on its north face.
Friendly Hands (5.10b), I consider worthy of inclusion in the top dozen 5.10b trad routes in the park.
It is a striking curved splitter. Third World (5.9) and the Harder They Fall (5.10a) run up opposite sides of an impressive roof with great positions. If you don’t mind the effort to reach them, Downpour (5.8) and Thin Flakes (5.9) are worthy routes as well.
Drive down Lost Horse road and park at the end on the right before the ranger station gate. Jimmy Cliff stands out by itself in the middle of the desert to the south. Miramonte’s guide states a mile hike but it is on the short side of a mile to reach Jimmy Cliff. Hike out on a well-traveled trail as you would for Aguille De Joshua Tree and/or Lloyd's Rock. Right before you reach Aguille, cut off on a climber’s trail on the right that aims for the north face of Jimmy Cliff. The majority of the climbing is located on the north wall with a few routes located all the way around the formation. As with most formations in Jtree, care has been taken to offer just a few fixed rap anchors. Most top ropes can be set up with extended gear belays.
Route Description(s)Routes are Listed Left to Right as you Face the North Wall
These route are located just around the west end of the north face and obviously face northwest
- Penalty Runout- 5.9R/*
- The Harder They Fall- 5.10a/* This is a pretty mellow (but worthwhile) climb for 5.10a at Jtree. There is a massive roof on the upper left side of the north face. The Harder They Fall and Third World climb around the next roof to the right. It is smaller and in the middle of the wall vs at the top. Harder They Fall climbs up the left side. Both routes start out the same at the apex of the hill. Climb easy ground up into the right facing corner under the roof. Climb up the corner and break out left below the roof on face holds (crux) and enter the crack above. Climb straight up from there. It is easy to do gear anchors for top roping both routes (the same spot really), but the last person up will have to clean the anchor and walk along the large ledge to the west to rap the Dike route with a single rope. Dow
- Third World- 5.9/* Third World is more challenging and sustained than The Harder They Fall in my opinion. They have different FAers. Same start, except make a pretty interesting face move just below the upper (above the roof) right facing corner. Jug through the right side of the roof and lay back the finger crack with good feet and place finger pieces at will. A single rack ought to get you up both of these routes with little issue. There are plenty of cracks to build a top rope anchor that serves both routes. You need to bring plenty of webbing or long slings to extend the rope to the edge. Dow
- The Brontos or Us- 5.11a/*
- The Dike- 5.10bR/
- Dick Van Dyke- 5.10b/
- Friendly Hands- 5.10b/** Friendly Hands is one of the better 5.10b trad routes I have climbed at Jtree. Miramonte lists over a dozen 5.10b trad routes with three stars or more in his first edition guide and I have climbed most all of them and it is my opinion that Friendly belongs in the group. It is not sustained at the grade as much as it is unique. You start out on a cool left leaning ramp, switching between stemming and off-balance jamming until you hit a roof. The crux is a move or two at the grade pulling your lower body out left onto the face with finger and ring locks and little to no feet. From there, the crack offers great fingers and hands to the top of the formation. Like Third World and the Harder They Fall, you can set up a top rope on gear in a variety of good cracks on top and when done rap climbers right off of Cliff Hanger. I think I set a top rope off of Cliff Hanger's fixed anchor for this route, just take plenty of cord to extend the top rope as the fixed anchor is on a large flat ledge. I did not need to lay back any of the route as Miramonte suggests. Dow
- Cliff Hanger- 5.10b/*
- Fiendish Fists- 5.9/* This is a fun and obvious route to combine with the highlight climb on this wall, Friendly Hands. You can top rope the route with appropriate extension off of Cliff Hanger. This is the obvious line that curves up and right (where Friendly curves up and left). The crack looks wide, but climbs at 5.9 or easier via features, etc. Just another route, fairly uneventful. Dow
Routes are Listed Left to Right as you Face the South Wall(s)
- Hueco Thanks- 5.4R/*
- Grain of Truth- 5.10d/
- GS-5- 5.9/
- The Lone Ranger- 5.9/*
These three face south, but are located on a upper independent wall that requires an approach pitch
- Velveeta Rabbit- 5.7/
- They Found Hitler’s Brain- 5.12b/*
- Short Stop- 5.10a/
- Downpour- 5.8/* This thin corner offers exceptional, but short lived, climbing in a unique position up high on Jimmy Cliff but it is hardly worth the effort. I lead a chossy 5.7/8 pitch up the left side and traversed right onto the small ledge below all three of these routes. There is not a rap from the top of this wall. We descended by scrambling down the cliff due south and burrowing through a tight hole that led us to the fixed anchor atop Short Stop (single rope rap). Downpour climbs the good stem/finger corner with small gear, it is relatively short. Dow
- Thin Flakes- 5.9/* If this route were safer to lead, it would make the trip up here worthwhile for the moderate trad leader. It climbs the chossy flake/crack in the middle of the face to the right of Downpour.
- Ratrace- 5.11aR/* Same as Thin Flakes in terms of if it were safer. Ratrace climbs the arête and is sparsely bolted.