Ministry Wall, along with its neighboring rock formations, is located in a narrow canyon some seven and half miles up Pine Creek Canyon Road. This narrow canyon is at the elevation of over seven thousand feet and stays failry cool even during the hot summer months.
Ministry Wall is north east facing. It catches a little sun during the morning hours and it’s in the shade for the rest of the day. You will enjoy the sound of the nearby creek and plenty of pleasant spots for your lunch break.
In 1995 two of my climbing buddies and I hiked up into this canyon to check out a famous traditional climb called Pratt’s Crack, named after the famous Yosemite Valley ace climber Chuck Pratt. When we entred the narrow slot canyon, we could not believe our own eyes how beautiful the rock formations were. Pratt’s Crack was easy to find, but what we didn’t expect to see were the first signs of sport routes being established right next to the very traditional Pratt’s Crack. The sport climbs were on what’s known as Ministry Wall now. The bolted climbs on Ministry Wall looked too difficult for the caliber of climbers we were, and they are even more so now. On my last visit to Ministry Wall in 2009 I saw many climbers on the neighboring formations, but not a single person on the Ministry Wall itself.
The drive up toward Pine Creek Canyon will offer some of the most breathtaking views Eastern Sierras have to Offer.
Pine Creek Canyon
Driving toward Pine Creek Canyon
Pine Creek Canyon
Climbs of Ministry Wall
|Climbs of Ministry Wall
|A||Twitch, 12a, 6 bolts
|B||Effigy, 11b, 8 bolts
|C||Burning Inside, 11c, 10 bolts
|D||Stigma, 11a, 6 bolts
|E||Neighborhood Watch, 12a, 8 bolts
|F||Never Believe, 10c, 8 bolts
|G||New World Order, 11d, 7 bolts
|H||Deity, 11c, 7 bolts
Looking at the list of Climbs on Ministry Wall and the ratings gives you a clue as to the level of climbing you need to be ready for to climb here. Except for one 10c climb, the rest of the routes on this formation are in the 5.11, and one 5.12, range. In short, you’d better be ready to pull on some very small fingernail holds on steep rock. The only 10c climb here is called “Never Believe” which is a flaring crack. If you enjoy climbing flaring cracks, there is another one just to the right of Never Believe and it’s called Diety, rated at 11c protected by seven bolts ending on a double cold shuts anchor. In the old times we would have shuttered at the thought of any bolts next to a crack, let alone an anchor at the end of every pitch. Today, however, this practice is not even an issue. Good, climbing here is all safer and saner now.
extreme right with Pratt's Crack in the dihedral
Ministry wall seen from above
There is one primitive campground with a few campsites across from the slot canyon. However, there are many more developed campgrounds in the vicinity of Bishop to the south and in the Rock Creek Canyon further north of here.
Rock Creek Canyon
Inyo National Forest
Horton Creek Campground
Bishop Creek and vicinity camping
How to get there
From the town of Bishop California drive about ten miles north on highway 395 to its intersection with Pine Creek Road & Rovana. Take this exit and continue west on Pine Creek Road past the town of Rovana for about 7.6 miles. You will see many rock formations to your right and a slot canyon. This slot canyon is very narrow, steep and probably in the shade. Drive a bit further till you come to a dirt road. Turn right on this road, then take another sharp turn to the right. This short and rough dirt road will quickly take you to the climbers’ parking area. The trail into the canyon is obvious and shouldn’t take more than ten minutes.
The views you are treated to on your drive up Pine Creek Road are breathtaking. Take a few minutes for a few photos. You will be happy to have them in twenty years.