Poppie Field Boulders, 5.6-5.13c

Poppie Field Boulders, 5.6-5.13c

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 34.03332°N / 116.04347°W
Activities Activities: Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Fall, Winter
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Dow leading Baum's Way, 5.10a*
Dow leading Baum's Way, 5.10a*

One of the last true gems I found on my way to finishing 1000 routes in the park, was the Rattler, 5.10c*** up at Emerald City.  It is a long and convoluted hike to get to Emerald City, but I can assure you that the Rattler can compete with best in class at the grade for the park.  A smart strategy is to combine the short, but interesting, face routes on Poppie Field Boulders, en-route, with Emerald City for a full day of climbing.  It is even wise to make this trek via a loop on return through Voodoo Dome back to your car.  The local guide has the calculation at a 1.3 mile hike to Poppie Field Boulders and that seems correct.  If you are not continuing on to Emerald City, the hike is relatively mellow to Poppie Field.

These bolted boulder routes are strewn about right in the wash and are close to one another. The first boulder you come to that faces northwest, right in the wash, contains an obvious splitter on the left side named the Rusty Axe, 5.6*.  It has a bolted (just two!) line up its right side named the Scarecrow, 5.10a.  Both of these routes are worth doing, but Scarecrow is a bit chossy.  Just walk off the back.  Next boulder in the wash, behind the first one, features my favorite route of the group, Baum’s Away, 5.10a*, facing due north.  The start is water worn from floods and therefore tricky, but it is well bolted, four, to a fixed rap. Fun climbing at the grade and the best rock of the group.  This same boulder has three bolted routes on the west face around to the right of Baum’s Away, hard overhung routes featuring a 5.12 and 5.13.  On the south face (but shaded by a neighboring wall) is a decent moderate named Off to See the Wizard, 5.10b*.  The crux is the start, but offers  fun climbing at the grade on side pulls and edges.  A bit chossy.  Just to the left of this route, on another boulder, as you are facing it is a modern bolted climb, not in local guides or on MP.com as of 2019.  Felt like 5.9, diagonal left to right through four bolts to a fixed rap.  A bit chossy again.

Park at the same pull out used for Zsa Zsa Gabor, Hawk Hatchery and/or Voodoo Dome, a pullout on the south side of the park road almost three miles in from the 29 Palms park entrance kiosk.  There is an interpretive nature board there as of 2019.  It is a pullout that accepts about three vehicles or so.  The obvious granite spires you see in the distance (southwest) are Voodoo Dome and No Place like Dome.  Circumvent the hillside to the right, drop into a wash heading for Zsa Zsa Gabor Boulder in the far distance.  You pass a steep drainage on your left that leads to the Hawk Hatchery.  Continue to the next, much broader gully/wash on your left and Poppie Field Boulders will be visible.  Hike through the first section of boulders which are not bolted (2019) and stay in the wash to locate the obvious before mentioned splitter, Rusty Axe.  You can orientate yourself from there. 

First Boulder in the Wash, Left to Right

Rusty Axe- 25’-5.6*/ A clean splitter on the left side of this boulder located in the center of the wash.  West facing.  Fingers to arm bars.  Can sling a chockstone for belay or top rope, walk off the back.  Dow

Scarecrow- 25’-5.10a/ On the right side of the same boulder that features Rusty Axe.  Looks more improbable than it actually is at the grade.  Just two bolts, but protects reasonably with them.  The rock is chossy, but the edges are all there to make the climbing reasonable at the grade.  Bad bolt atop the route, best to sling the chockstone atop Rusty Axe and use the bolt atop the route for directional only.  Dow

Overhanging Jugs, Bolted Line on a Boulder Directly Across (right) from Scarecrow

Oil My Joints- 25’-5.10c/

Next Boulder in the Wash Behind Rusty Axe, from North Face to West Face to South Face

Baum’s Away- 35’-5.10a*/ North facing (faces the wash). The lone route on this side of the boulder which features the majority of routes at Poppy Field.  My favorite route relative to the grade of the group.  The lower few meters is water worn from floods in the wash, but after the first clip, you find good rock with fun edges that trend up and right to the arete.  But avoid taking the arete, rather traverse back left and go for the jug up the face.  You cannot see the last bolt after clipping the third, but it is up and left.  Single bolt atop the route.  Best to bring the 2nd up and rap Unnamed or Off to See the World.  Four bolts.  Dow

Wiz- 30’-5.10d*/

Unnamed- 30’-5.12c/

Greedy Slum Lord- 30’-5.13c*/

Off to See the World- 30’-5.10b*/ South facing but shaded by a wall.  The crux is getting started on some sharp and awkward edges stemming across from a boulder.  But the first clip protects it well.  Interesting dark face with crumbling sharp edges.  Worth doing, cool setting.  Fixed rap anchor atop the route.  Modern fixed rap anchor atop Unnamed on the other side.  Three bolts.  Dow

Boulder Down and left from Off to See the World

Unnamed- 35’-5.9*/ Unpublished.  Southeast Facing, lone route on this boulder as of 2019.  Worth doing, but the rock quality is not as good as most of the other routes at Poppie Field.  Trend up and right through four bolts to a fixed anchor.  The edges are all there, but are crunchy.  Dow



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