King Otto’s Castle, 5.6-5.12a

King Otto’s Castle, 5.6-5.12a

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 34.09241°N / 116.15674°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Fall, Winter
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Dow leading Date Queen, 5.8
Dow leading Date Queen, 5.8

Many routes in Indian Cove originate right out of campsites and are usually lathered with humans compared to Rattlesnake Canyon or many upper portions of the park.  King Otto’s Castle however seems to always be fairly quiet.  Part of that is that the Castle has stouter routes than the majority of the other walls in Indian Cove.  All of its climbs are located on its south facing wall, from Don Genero Crack, 5.10a* on its own feature to the far left to three routes including the decent off-width crack, Date Queen, 5.8, on a sub formation to the far right.  The rest of the routes are located on the main south facing dome like wall and are comprised mostly of bolted slab/face climbs.

Don Genero Crack is an excellent right to left slanting varnished hand/finger crack independent of the other routes at this destination.  Date Queen at the opposite end of King Otto’s Castle is a good lead for the budding off-width leader.  A singe C4 #5 and #6 will suffice for most.  There is no fixed station atop this smaller formation separated to the right as the latest local guide suggests, rather it is a gear anchor in a horizontal then walk off to clean.  Sweatband, 5.10b**, and Tarawassie Wiggle, 5.10a**, both offer decent face climbs at the right end of the main wall. The run out bottom halves of both are well below the grade.   Tarawassie requires wires for pro whereas Sweatband if fully bolted.  Plain but Good Hearted, 5.6*, is a decent lead for the budding trad leader. Most of it is below the grade and it protects well, despite what the guide suggests, when climbing at the grade near the top.

King Otto’s Castle originates out of several different campsites at Indian Cove.  When you enter the cove, turn left and then turn right and circumvent the feature in front of you to the southwest.  That is King Otto’s Castle.  All of its routes are on its south side comprised of several different features with one main south facing wall.  You can park on the left side day use pull out and ask permission to climb or during the week on many instances these camp sites will be empty.

Routes Listed Right to Left on the South Facing Wall

Black Max- 40’-5.11d*/

Sweat Pants- 45’-5.11d/

Date Queen- 45’-5.8/ This is a rare off-width opportunity at Indian Cove.  It should receive a recommendation (star) in the local guide for that reason alone.  A single #5 and #6 will suffice for the competent OW leader.  Needs medium gear for the belay/top rope.  Will have to extend a lot to set up a TR.  Walk off climber’s right.  South facing.  This feature is on the right side of the main King Otto’s Castle.  Guide shows a fixed anchor atop this sub formation, but there is none as of 2019.  Dow

Plain but Good Hearted- 90-5.6*/ Fun and easy crack climb on the right side arete of the main formation to a fixed rap.  Guide mentions “unprotected face climbing” near the top, but it is not a significant distance nor is it at the grade.  You get good protection in the flake before traversing easy terrain up and left to the shared fixed anchor.  South facing.  Rap the route.  Single rack to #3.  Dow

Tarawassie Wiggle- 90’-5.10a*/ Shared start with Plain but Good Hearted.  Leave Plain for a thinner seam as it splits up and left.  Guide says “tricky pro”, but I thought it protected well with wires and small cams.  Shared anchor.  South facing. Dow

Sweatband- 90’-5.10b**/ This is a good sport climb for the grade at Indian Cove.  Easy run out climbing to the horizontal with your first clip right above.  Then well bolted (6) as you maneuver face and slab moves up to the shared fixed anchor.  More face climbing than most bolted routes at Indian Cove (which typically feature more slab than face). South facing.   Dow

Casino Royale- 90’-5.11a*/

Quivering Savages- 90’-5.12a**/

Goodbye Mr. Bond- 85’-5.10c*/

The Bridge- 85’-5.11bR/

Don Genero Crack- 40’-5.10a*/ Excellent left leaning varnished hand/finger crack independent of the other routes at this destination on a wall further to the west (left).  Look for the varnished diagonal approximately 150’ to the left of the main wall.  Single rack to C4 #2.  Dow