Pernicious Dome, 5.7-5.11b

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 34.05966°N / 116.17098°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Fall, Winter
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Little Brown Jug, 5.7
Little Brown Jug, 5.7

Pernicious Dome is one of several features located relatively close together in a small east-west valley (named Middle Kingdom) at the north end of what the local guides call the “West Rim” at the entrance to North Wonderland.  The west rim refers to a massive hillside of jumbled rock that produces several good rock climbing faces including Hidden Dome,   Ellesmere and Gilligan’s Islands.  The West Rim can be seen in the distance to the north from the Boy Scout trailhead parking area which is located on the north side of the main park road.  You hike straight north on the Boy Scout trail and follow it left and then take the right fork for Willow Hole.  You are circumventing this West Rim around its west side.  Middle Kingdom’s valley opens up to the east as you pass Gilligan’s Island.  In this valley are three climbing destinations:  Techulator, Pernicious Dome and El Dorado.  Techulator and Pernicious Dome are located next to each other at the east end of this small valley and most of their climbs are south facing.

The best route on Pernicious is a sport route named Tail Gunner, 5.11b**.   Beyond that there are three 5.7 routes and one short 5.10c crack.  Gourmet Sausage, 5.7*, is unique in that it is a bolted leaning independent block just to the right of Tail Gunner which itself runs up an arête.   The other three routes are located up the hill and to the right of Gourmet.  They originate out of a shaded short corridor formed by a massive boulder leaning against the main wall.  These three routes have no fixed hardware with the exception of a fixed rap located on a ledge 20’ down from the summit.  You can scramble down the gully to the west of the summit or down climb back to this fixed rap to get off with a 60m rope.  Little Brown Jug, 5.7, is a decent and well protected corner trad lead for the aspiring trad leader to learn on. 

Park at the Boy Scout trailhead.  The hike is approximately 1.5 miles.  Head north on the main Boy Scout Trail and follow it left around the West Rim.  Take the right fork for Willow Trail and when a small valley opens up on the right (east) side.  Hike east through open desert floor to the two walls at the east end of this short valley.  Techulator is on the right and Pernicious is on the left.  Boulder hop up to the base of Tail Gunner which follows an arête at the west end of the south face.  Gourmet Sausage is on a block just 50’ further up the hill to the east.  Keep ascending to the upper face at the east end of the formation for the other routes.

Routes Listed Left to Right as you Face the South Wall

Tail Gunner- 80’-5.11b**/

Gourmet Sausage- 40’-5.7*/ Well bolted sport climb up a cool leaning block in front of the formation.  Worth doing just for the aesthetics of it.  Fixed rap atop.  Dow

Little Bit of Magic- 30’-5.10c*/

Little Brown Jug- 90’-5.7/ This is the better of these two side by side 5.7’s at the right end of the formation, despite the local guide giving Dreams of Red Rock an edge.  If you have made it to the base of either, I could not imagine why you would not just climb both.  Little Brown Jug is actually a corner climb vs flake as the guide infers.  From the shaded belay behind a massive boulder, climb the left facing corner on decent rock up to where it arches left.  Move back right to finish atop the formation via another corner below the grade.  There is a fixed rap before finishing this final corner.  You can either down climb back to it, exposed mid 5th , or scramble down the gully directly to the west.  Single rack to C4#3.  Dow

Dreams of Red Rocks- 90’-5.7*/ Same belay as Little Brown Jug.  Climb up the face to the right of Brown Jug and continue on discontinuous cracks straight up.  You can use either of the same descent options mentioned on Little Brown Jug.  Single rack to medium.  Dow



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