Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 36.61467°N / 118.1068°W
Additional Information County: Inyo
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing, Toprope
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 4857 ft / 1480 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Lone Pine Peak seen from...
Oz is the name of a formation in the Alabama Hills on the outskirts of Mount Whitney in the Sierra Nevada Range, California.

It is reasonable to assume that a great number of the people of the world have seen the movie "Wizard of Oz." We all know "Dorothy," the young girl from Kansas who had to travel a great distance to meet Wizard of Oz. Stories and fantasies aside, in contrast to most Alabama Hills formations, you need to travel a bit of distance to the formation named Oz. Unless you have a 4-wheel drive, or a car with very high clearance, you will find yourself having to travel on foot to get to this unusual but intriguing chunk of rock.

Oz is a huge cube made of quartz monzonite granite sitting alone on a hillside with no other formations in its vicinity to challenge its presence. Although the west face and the south face of Oz are covered by huge boulders and the hillside, the north face and the east face are clean and vertical. These are the two faces that are visible from the approach trail. The cubic shape of the rock is striking and leaves no doubt you have arrived at the right formation.

Topo of Select Routes

Select routes of Oz
Profile of the north face
Dorothy s Crack, 5.9
routes of the north face
Top anchor boltsTop anchor, please do not remove carabiners

Most of the Alabama Hills rocks are very grainy and rough to the touch. Although Oz is made of the same rock type as the rest of the area, the east face of this formation is especially smooth and clean. The north face, however, seems to have the same feel as the rest of the area. You will find several vertical bolted face routes, as well as at least two crack climbs on these two faces. The face routes are generally fairly difficult, in the 5.11 range. There is, however, one route that will get your attention without pushing you well into 5.11 range. This is "Munchkin Land," rated 10d, on the north face of Oz. The most sought after and interesting route on the entire formation, in my humble opinion, follows the arete between the two faces. This is "Heartless," rated 10a, and it is protected by five bolts to reach its own double-bolt anchor on the top of the vertical section.

In contrast to most other Alabama Hills formations, Oz offers at least two crack routes. The two routes are more moderate in difficulty rating and offer a break from face climbing and clipping bolts. On the east face you will find "Dorothy's Crack," rated 5.9. This is a highly recommended route, but don't forget to tape up. The other crack route is located on the right side of the north face. This crack is not as clean as "Dorothy's Crack" but it's only 5.8 and may be worth doing. This is "Cowardly Line" and like most routes on Oz has its own double bolt anchor.

One of the ways to get a feel for steep face climbing, or just mastering the moves on some of the 5.11s, is to top rope the routes, and no other formation in the Alabama Hills provides that opportunity better than OZ. You can hike up the steep hill on the left side of the granite cube and eventually scramble on some rocks and boulders to reach the top of the formation. Look for double bolt anchors that you can use to rappel to the edge of the steep part of the rock and set up your top rope. You may find locking carabiners in the top anchors. It is highly recommended to leave those carabiners in place for the subsequent climbers.

List of select routes

select routes of Oz
1The Wizard, 10d, standard rack, pro to 3.5", bolts, anchor
2Dorothy's Crack, 5.9, Standard Rack, pro to 3.5", anchor
3Heartless, 10a, bolts, anchor
4Munchkin Land, 10d, bolts, anchor
5Flying Monkeys, 11b, bolts, anchor
6Wicked Witch, 11a, bolts, anchor
7Cowardly Line, 5.8. standard rack, pro to 2", anchor
8Anchor bolts for lowering to the edge of the cliff

In reference to Erik Anderson's "Additions and Corrections" I am including the old topo of the routes in the main body of this page. For the history of this photo please refer to "Additions and Corrections."
Old Conspiracy Dome Topo

How to get there

Approach road

From the town of Lone Pine, California, on Highway 395 take Whitney Portal Road at the only traffic light in town. Drive 2.7 miles west on this road to intersect Movie Road. Turn right onto the Movie Road. This road is paved for a short distance then it turns into a dirt road. Drive down this road for exactly three miles. You will see a dirt road intersecting this road from the right. Turn right here. If you have a low clearance car park as soon as you can. Walk three quarters of a mile to the rock. The shape of the rock is unmistakable. It's a cube seen from this road. If you have a high clearance car or a 4-wheel drive you can easily drive all the way to the rock.


Mount WhitneyMount Whitney
Although many parties camp within the parking areas of the Alabama Hills, this practice is highly discouraged. The area suffers from mismanaged campsites and blackened caves. There are two campgrounds very close to the Alabama Hills. Lone Pine Campground is further up the road on Whitney Portal Road, and Tuttle Creek Campground is within a few miles up Horseshoe Meadow Road.

If you don't mind driving another fifty miles, there are many campgrounds along Bishop Creek just to the west of Bishop. There are also many places in The Buttermilks area that are close to a creek that are suitable for camping. Please do not camp in The Buttermilks bouldering area. That area is very crowded and is suffering from the impact unregulated camping has caused.

The following links should help finding a good campsite

Horton Creek Campground

Rock Creek Canyon

Inyo National Forest

Bishop Creek and vicinity camping

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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Tom239 - Jan 26, 2013 7:58 pm - Hasn't voted

a.k.a. Conspiracy Dome

At the base of the east face there's a rock with a sheltered opening, where--shortly after the routes had been put up--the developers of this formation had left a canister containing copies of a topo drawing with route descriptions. The names of the formation and routes (and a couple ratings) given in the early topo sheet differ from the current ones as listed here and in Marty Lewis' guidebook. The original name for the crag--"Conspiracy Dome"--has stuck among some locals who know the routes from the original topo.


Marcsoltan - Jan 26, 2013 8:46 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: a.k.a. Conspiracy Dome

Thank you very much for the new information. From your comments, it's obvious that you are very familiar with the area. I would like to include this piece of history to the OZ page. Do you, by any chance, know why and how the original name was changed to OZ?


Poser - May 24, 2014 7:28 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: a.k.a. Conspiracy Dome

Conspiracy Dome: Crystal and I found what we called Conspiracy Dome in Fall 2001 when we were looking for a nice camp spot away from the weekend ATV crowd in the AB Hills. We loved it, and could not believe there were no recorded routes on this formation. Over the next few years, we went back, bolted lines, and left updated topos in a hollow rock at the base of the formation. The name Conspiracy Dome came from a book on conspiracy theories we were reading at the time. In 2006, I was contacted by Marty Lewis about publishing the routes in his new guide book. I was a bit hesitant, because Conspiracy Dome had become our sanctuary in the AB Hills, with a good handful of routes of a challenging grade, and a regular stop when driving up the Eastside. We did not want it to change...but life moves on. During publication of the new guide book, Marty Lewis was contacted by Marty Hornick, who had climbed some of the routes in the 1980s and named the formation Oz. After some discussion and debate with dos Marty's, we all agreed that the name of the formation should be Oz, as given by the first climber of record. After more discussion and debate, we all agreed that the bolts on Marty's routes should stay, and that they were suitable given the climbs and area. I also thought the conspiracy names for my routes seemed kind of out of place on a formation called Oz, so I changed the names to fit the venue. So that is the story of Conspiracy was an escape, with some challenging leads. I was kind of disappointed to see that anchors have gone in on top to set TRs, but it seems like we all have different versions of Oz...enjoy! I'll try and post one of the old Conspiracy Dome topos for history's sake. Erik Anderson


Marcsoltan - May 24, 2014 8:16 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: a.k.a. Conspiracy Dome

Thank you very much for the detailed history of Oz, a.k.a. Conspiracy Dome. I included the old topo in the main body of this page and for the history I made a reference to the "Additions and Corrections."

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