Dow leading Godsend, 5.10c*
North Astro Dome’s southwest face offers a collection of tall (100’+) bolted routes in a secluded setting.
More than likely you will have this entire wall to yourself without another person in sight. The more popular routes on both North and South Astro Domes are on their north faces. Getting to this southwest face of North Astro Dome can be a challenge unless you know the area well. This face features full sun and well bolted (by Jtree standards) tall routes to a massive summit in a beautiful part of the park. The alcove at the base of the wall has a certain mystic to it.
Dow leading Let Your Freak Flag Fly, 5.7**
There is only one trad climb (Hush Puppies, 5.6*) at the far east end, otherwise all of these routes are bolted for the most part and require edging and slab skills. Godsend, 5.10c*,
was full on at the grade. After the first 30’+ it became sustained for approximately 60’ through 5 bolts. Let Your Freak Flag Fly, 5.7**
, is the only route that gets multiple stars in Miramontes guide but was not overly impressive for the grade compared to the others. He also list it as a sport climb and has the others listed as mixed but the only bolted route that mentions taking a piece of gear up on it is Godsend and I thought it was well bolted (a sport climb). There are multiple fixed raps at the top of the face that can be descended via a 70m rope
and a fixed rap at the far east end that can be done with a 60m.
There is an easy way to describe getting in this alcove and then when you leave you can take a more direct descent over slabs to the southwest before cutting back east to Barker Dam and then have this nondescript slab in your cache of knowledge for the next visit. The most direct, easiest to explain, approach if coming from the Barker Damn parking area is to enter the valley that extends west from Barker Dam. This is the same approach you would take for a coveted trad route named Room to Shroom, 5.9***
. The Astro Domes are not as easily spotted from this valley as they are from the valley directly north (the Pink House entrance), but they are still the most massive rocks in Wonderland South. You are looking to pass them on your right. Stay out into the washes to the south vs tracking too close or you will be bushwhacking and boulder hopping. Once you pass North Astro Dome on your right, heading northwest, cut back northeast through a heavily vegetated pass at the northwest corner of North Astro Dome. Stay up on the right side to avoid the worst of the cactus and bushwhacking and eventually start scrambling up boulders to an interesting ladder like notch at the very base of the northwest corner of the southwest face. Scramble up this water chute and you will enter the alcove below the southwest face. I bit of bushwhacking lands you at the base of Let Your Freak Flag Fly which is the most left route. If you can sport climb the grades in here, this is a great all day destination away from the folks and worth the effort.
Route Description (s)Southwest Face, Routes Left to Right
Let Your Freak Flag Fly- 120’-5.7**/ This is an unusually well bolted 5.7 for Jtree at 11 clips through 120’. A 70m gets the competent leader down to an area they can down climb without having to rap the east end. Rap station at top. Dow
Lead Us Not Into Temptation- 120’-5.9*/
Godsend- 110’-5.10c*/ “Following a faint water chute” is code for chossy edges and holds. After making one of many moves at the grade and feeling a tiny edge squeak, I cleaned it off. No doubt not the first to do that on Godsend, therefore it is getting harder with age (less edges). Thoughtful move after thoughtful move. I was going right, then left, then back right, searching for side pulls, tiny edges and/or faint feet. Well bolted at every crux, 11 clips through 110’. The first 30’ was easy low angled, so not hard to rap with a single 60m or 70m for the competent climber (then downclimbing) vs rapping the east end with a single rope. There is no need for gear so I have no idea why Miramontes has this in the guide as a mixed route. Dow
Life’s a Pitch- 100’-5.12a*/
Chute to Kill- 90’-5.10c*/
Deliver Us From Evil- 90’-5.8R/
Hush Puppies- 80’-5.6*/