Dow leading Last Angry Arab, 5.6*
Nomad Dome would only light up on your radar, if like myself, you were looking to join the 1000 route club at Joshua Tree. It has zero multi starred routes on it. It is "relatively" remote to reach albeit not far from the well-traveled wide canyon wash in Wonderland South that leads to the Astrodome climbs as well as other classics further in. Rather it lies in an obscure location, by itself for the most part, to the north of this well-traveled area. It is hidden behind Freak Brothers Dome and Surprise Rock
. It does not take much of a feat to reach it once you leave the main wash, but Nomad does not offer much in the way of quality climbing to balance the effort.
Someone getting creative
The most difficult route has one move or two moves at the grade (Ben, 5.10a). From there you drop down to three 5.6-5.7 routes that are side by side. They are average for the grade. The 5.5R route to the far right of the south face is best soloed. There are three fixed anchors on the dome in good shape as of 2017
. One atop Ben, one that services two of the others (sport routes) and one that essentially serves as a summit rap if you go to the top (far right end above the 5.5R). Several of these routes were put up in the 70’s and are relatively stiff for their grade.
The approach can be a pain to find per Miramontes guide description.
My description is as follows. Park at the Wallstreet Mill (Wonderland South) parking area. They look to be paving it as of 2017, however it has been a sandy parking lot up to this point. Hike past the “Pink House Ruin”. Enter the wash and head northwest following the wash as you would for the main routes on South and North Astrodome. Once you are even with these large domes located on your left. Surprise Rock and Freak Brothers Dome are on your right. Nomad is hidden behind these domes to the southeast. There is no beaten path. Just head for the right side of Surprise Rock and identify Nomad Dome from the attached photo relatively quickly. Maybe only 15 minutes from the main wash to the base of the south face where these five climbs are located.
Route Description(s)Routes Listed Left to Right as you face the South Wall
Ben- 120’-5.10a*/Miramontes guide has this at 100’ to its own fixed rap anchor. It is a solid 120’. When rapping with a true 70m rope, you have to make a one meter jump to the starting boulder. You can top out to the summit in one pitch and access easy (and cool via a “ladder” dike) down climbing to reach the east end of the wall and the fixed rap for Ricochet. A 70m gets you down to the saddle at the east end. The guide (even the 2106 edition) references that new hardware is needed on this route, but it has been recently retro bolted (2017). The lead start to Ben is the crux via weak and grainy thin edges to reach the first bolt which is well placed above the roof it protects via an athletic mantel move which is unlocked by a slightly hidden left hand. From there it eases way up through run out bolts. I missed one way to the left, so angle left if anything. The fixed station is clearly visible 30’ below the top. There are solid medium gear placements on the summit to bring up a 2nd if you are using the east end rap. The guide references a “standard” rack, but the only gear opportunities are either below or right above existing bolts. Dow
Lost Angry Arab- 150’-5.6*/The only pure trad lead on the wall. Climb the obvious crack feature from right to left and then up to the summit. You can also easily traverse left onto Ben’s rap anchor. Dow
Willard- 110’-5.7*/ First bolt line east (right) of the obvious Lost Angry Arab feature. Follow four bolts up to a fixed rap anchor at 80’. You can continue through one more bolt up a shallow corner to the summit. Guide mentions standard rack. Only placements would be on the short 2nd pitch section. A single bolt protects this section fairly well. The run out start of Willard is probably the crux for many. Move up and right under the first bolt. A fun mantle mid-way up on the route is the technical crux. A worthy sport route at the grade. Dow
Final Furious Farsi- 100’-5.6*/ Next bolted line to the right. A challenging slab and face sport route for the grade. Relatively well bolted (7) and shares the same anchor as Willard. The last couple of bolts lead you left on a traverse. Crux is the run out start and the first couple of bolts. The traverse is much easier. Dow
Ricochet- 140’-5.5R/ This is more of a solo climb. You can protect under the roof midway if you want to. Climb up and right at the east end of the formation directly under an obvious roof feature. Pull over the roof on the right side via a fun and positive mantle. Continue up slab following the better rock trending right. The rap anchor is up on a short wall just below the summit on the east face. Continue up another level to climb a short but very cool dike ladder to the summit. Dow