Old Woman formation showing the location of Orphan.
Orphan is the name of a route on The Old Woman
in the Hidden Valley Campground
area of Joshua Tree National Park
There are only a few dozen formations in Joshua Tree with a large number of super classic routes and the best accessibility. If there was to be a list, the Old Woman would have to be placed on top or near the top of it. Climbers graduating from leading Toe Jam
, 5.7, Double Cross
, rated 5.7 and Dogleg
, rated 5.8 would not have to go far to reach the next level in climbing. Orphan, rated 5.9, is only a few feet away on the same formation.
Established in the mid fifties and conveniently positioned to the left of Dandelion
and to the right of Sexy Grandma
, Orphan follows a crack system leading to the top of the rock. The 5.9 crux is located fairly low on the route and consists of jamming and stemming the two sides of a short dihedral. Past the crux, beautiful hand jams and face holds, no harder than 5.8, will bring you to the base of a chimney about two thirds of the way up. Easy chimney climbing with plenty of face holds will put you on top of the route.
There are no easy walk-downs from the summit of Old Woman formation. You can, however, find a number of rappel stations on top of some of the routes. The closest anchor is off to the right on top of Toe Jam.
One sixty meter rope, standard rack, protection up to 3 inches, slings.
The Old Woman
From the western entrance to Joshua Tree National Park drive on Park Boulevard, formerly known as Quail Springs Road, for about nine miles to a major rock formation called “Intersection Rock.” Intersection Rock is a major landmark on the north side of Park Boulevard with ample parking for visitors and climbers alike. This rock, true to its name, sit at the cross roads to Hidden Valley Campground, Barker Dam Road and the road to Day use and picnic area. Old Woman formation is located across the parking lot from Intersection Rock and right next to Hidden Valley Campground. Orphan is located on the west face Old Woman which sits at the southern entrance to Hidden Valley Campground.