Dow leading Tails of Poodles, 5.10bLeft and Right Banana Cracks (5.10b and 5.11a)
are the real draw to this area. But Mindless Mound
is part of the same feature. Just circumvent from Banana Cracks to the southwest to find its sunny climbing wall offering four more starred routes in Miramontes guide. The best of those recommended routes are Blood on the Tracks (5.10b)
and Don’t Think Twice (5.9) which share the same start and summit. Blood on the Tracks is by far the easiest 5.10b I have climbed at Jtree. Don’t Think Twice has a cool roof to pull but is also fairly laid back for the grade. Maggie’s Farm (5.7) offers a nicely varnished thin hands corner ideal for someone learning to trad lead. But it is short. All Along the Watchtower (5.8) shares the same start and summit and climbs a bolted arête.The closest parking is to drive down Lost Horse Road past the paved parking area and park in the first sandy pull out on the left. You are starring at the south facing wall of Mindless Mound. The Banana Cracks are just around to the right and are also south facing. Left Hand of Darkness offers some stouter trad climbs just a short walk north. Banana Cracks, Left Hand of Darkness and Mindless Mound will make for a decent full day offering a mix of sun and shade.
Route Description(s)Routes Listed Left to Right as you face the Wall
Dow leading Left Banana Crack, 5.10b Peter leading Right Banana Crack, 5.11aRainy Day Women- 35’-5.7/ To the left of the more popular Maggie’s Farm at the same grade. Secure solo for the grade. I prefer to climb down the chimney, climber’s right, for the descent but you can walk off climbers left as well. Dow Unnamed- 35’-5.6/ Contrived route, just a variation finish to Maggie’s Farm, up and left through the wider crack. Same descent as Rainy Day. Dow
Maggie’s Farm- 5.7* / This is the obvious black varnished right facing corner. Small hand jams in the corner pulling a bulge at the top. Can share the same gear top-rope/belay as All Along the Watchtower. I down climbed a 5th class chimney to climber’s right. There no doubt is a scramble or walk off to the north. Dow All Along the Watchtower- 5.8* / After placing one C4#.5 piece, this is a bolted climb up the arête just to the right of Maggie’s Farm. Mostly slab and face climbing. See Maggie’s Farm for descent options. Dow Blood on the Tracks- 5.10b* / This could possibly be the easiest 5.10b I have led at Jtree. Start up the obvious corner for Don’t Think Twice. Move left to the intermittent finger cracks in the middle of the face. Climb up to the roof and make an easy move out left. The crux of the rout is the left slanting crack up from there. The gear is a bit chossy, but you have hand jams to jugs to make the one or two awkward moves to the top. You can set up a gear belay to top rope/rap with a directional from a crack on the summit. DowDon’t Think Twice- 5.9* / Climb the obvious right facing corner that turns wide at the roof. However, there are still hand jams to be had at the outer edge. A C4#4 is helpful protecting the roof pull itself. It is a fun and athletic move. I down climbed this route, but suspect you can walk off north. DowShake the Monster- 5.10d Idiot Wind- 40’-5.8/ This is one of the more interesting short 5.8 trad routes in the park although it gets no recommendation from the local guide book. At the far-right end of the south wall, in an alcove of sorts, climb the short crack with an obvious C4#4 sized steep off-width finish. The off width is the crux although the entire climb is stout for 5.8 at Jtree. In the OW, face left even though facing right looks like the ticket, for the smoother way through. A little dirty, could clean up to be a great OW introduction at the grade. Single to C4#4. Gear belay on top. Down climb the chimney climber’s right. Dow Banana Cracks, Routes Listed Left to RightPapaya Crack- 5.11a* Left Banana Crack- 5.10b* / One of the easier 5.10b’s I have led at Jtree. It looks more intimidating than it actually climbs. Stem up hands to fingers. There are features for your left foot out left to keep stemming up. The right foot obviously rides the crack. At the roof you get good hands to make the athletic pull up and over. Easier ground leads to the top. If you are done, one partner can rap to the ground from a slung boulder, picking up your packs on the ledge along the way and the other can clean up the sling and scramble/down climb climbers right. DowRight Banana Crack- 5.11a** / At first glance, this corner looks no more difficult than the left one. It is overhanging but small hands get you to the pull over spot. The crux moves are full on at the grade at that point. The route protects exceptionally. The crux is getting your left toe up to a feature that allows you to balance most if not all of your weight because above the roof it goes wide, no hands or fists. The crux is short and once you have straightened up, the wide crack goes easier to the top. If you are done, one partner can rap to the ground from a slung boulder, picking up your packs on the ledge along the way and the other can clean up the sling and scramble/down-climb climbers right. DowBanana Peal- 5.11b* Tails of Poodles- 5.10b* / To the right of the Banana Cracks is a wide corner climb at the same height level. I paced a single C4#4 and #3 up the corner. Arm bars, large hands and fists worked fine for this corner. But the crux move is the pumpy, exposed, no feet traverse left at the top. The perfect piece to protect this traverse with is an offset cam, X4#.4/.5 in a horizontal. The horizontal crack is choss and flaring except for this one bomber pocket. The exposure offers potential slam back onto the corner if you fail the traverse. You have to make some aggressive moves (dyno) to reach the jugs above and to the left. Miramontes guide shows descending climbers left, but climber’s right seemed more logical even though it involves a down climbing move or two or you can sling a block and rap down to the base of the Banana Cracks and prepare to climb those. These climbs don’t link up at their base, there is a void. Dow