Outhouse Rock

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California, United States, North America
Trad Climbing
4200 ft / 1280 m
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Outhouse Rock
Created On: Feb 5, 2010
Last Edited On: Oct 13, 2010


Outhouse Rock
View Looking EastLooking east from Outhouse Rock,

Outhouse Rock is a rock formation in Joshua Tree National Park, California.

If you get past the unpleasant name, Outhouse Rock is a great rock to spend a few hours on. This formation is located just beyond The Wall and just outside the Hidden Valley Campground. Outhouse Rock seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle of so many famous and popular rock formation that surround the Hidden Valley Campground. Climbers going past The Wall are usually heading for Rock Hudson without so much as a glimpse at this seventy foot formation.

I am not familiar with how this rock came to be known as Outhouse Rock, but not to worry, you will not run into any human waste anywhere here, at least not for the past fifty years. Hidden Valley Campground has ample facilities that climbers and campers can use.

Select Routes of the north face

Routes of the north face
View Looking WestLooking West from Outhouse Rock,

A closer look reveals a number of elements that make Outhouse Rock a great formation to climb on. Most of the nearby formations such as Old Woman, Chimney Rock, The Wall or The Blob don’t offer a north facing side with good climbing potential in the shade. In contrast, the best climbing on Outhouse Rock are the cracks located on the steep north face of it. The base of the north face is shady, flat and stays cool, therefore a great place to belay from. In addition to all that, there is little chance of having to wait to get on any of the routes.

Being situated so close to Hidden Valley Campground, it should come as no surprise that Outhouse Rock was climbed early in the history of technical climbing in Joshua Tree. In the mid 1960s a few easy routes were climbed. Then, in the early 1970s a young and talented climber named John Long hit the climbing scene with his first ascent of Strawberry Jam, rated 5.9. Strawberry Jam is a crack on the north east face of Outhouse Rock, and it can be considered as the best route on the entire formation.

Left of centerLeft side of the north face
Center of the formationCenter of the north face

Strawberry Jam is a highly recommened route on Outhouse Rock, but by no means is it the only one. There are a number of crack/chimney routes, ranging from 5.4 to 5.10 that can be led or top roped. To descend from the top walk to the west end of the formation and use the anchor bolts to rapell.

Being the last of the series of rock formations around or near Hidden Valley Campground, the views out to the north east from the top or even from the base are open and beautiful. Typical Joshua Tree high desert landscape scenery is truly a sight to see.

There is a large boulder near the base of the south face that creates a cave with the surrounding boulders. This cave is a great place to escape from a rain storm or from the heat of the summer.

List of The Select Routes

Left of CenterLeft of Center

Select climbs of Outhouse Rock
AOut For a Bite, 10d, TR
BDiagonal Chimney, 5.6, Standard Rack, pro to 3.5"
CStrawberry Jam, 5.9, The best climb on the formation, Standard Rack, pro to 3"
DThe Loo Sanction, 10a, bolts and pro to 3"
EStraight Flush, 5.8 Standard Rack, pro to 3"
FWise Crack, 5.9, standard rack, pro to 3"

Environmental Concerns,

Joshua Tree landscapeTypical Joshua Tree landscape

Desert Flowers near...Desert Flowers

Please tread lightly. The Access Fund has gone to great lengths posting trail marker for approaches to many of the more popular crags. Do you best to stay on these trails, and where you are forced to use a different path, choose the ones that rain can mend in time. Drainages make for good trails where there are no established trails.
Avoid stepping on native and fragile plants, and do not feed the coyotes. Coyotes are very much used to people and often hang around picnic areas and camp grounds in hopes of getting a hand out. It’s better to let them live their natural life.

Camping and Noise Considerations

There are nine campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park. At the entrance to the park you are always asked if you would care to have a map and a brochure. The brochure will have plenty of information on the campgrounds and the map will guide you to many of the pleasant hikes throughout the park. You may even get the latest information as to availability of campsites. During the peak season (mid winter through spring) finding a campsite may become a major task. It is highly recommended to use the following link to get more information in advance.

Joshua Tree Camping

Noise considerations

When you are camping with friends and sitting around the fire, it is easy to forget that there are other people trying to sleep in the nearby campsites. It is important to put yourself in their shoes. Keep the noise and music to a minimum and certainly not too much past 10 p.m. Your neighbors will smile at you in the morning instead of giving you dirty looks.

How to get there, Fees and Food

Entrance station...
The best Thai food...
My wife and I have had Thai food in many different restaurants and cities. This Thai place beats them all. In November when the number of visitors to Joshua Tree reaches its peak, this restaurant puts on a Thai Buffet, all you can eat for 16.00$/person. But, you must get there early, or be prepared to wait by the door for a table.

How To Get There

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. Park your car here, and walk into Hidden Valley Campground. Walk all the way to the far end of the campground. The last formation to your right is The North End formation of The Wall. Outhouse Rock is the next formation to the north of The Wall.


Joshua Tree Camping

Chimney Rock

The Blob

Intersection Rock

Old Woman

The Wall

Rock Hudson ,font size=3>Joshua Tree Camping