SE Rib of the South Ridge

Page Type
California, United States, North America
Route Type:
Technical Rock Climb/Scramble
Time Required:
Most of a day
Class 3-4 up to 5.2

Route Quality: 6 Votes

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SE Rib of the South Ridge
Created On: Feb 20, 2005
Last Edited On: Feb 20, 2005


Borrego Palm Canyon State Campground is the starting point, where one can take the nature trail up Borrego Palm Canyon.

Route Description

Hike up the trail for about twenty minutes and turn off the trail where two large dark rusty brown boulders on top of a slight rise. Also look to the right for the descent route off of the peak which is a wash that comes down the south east side of the peak, it is the first major wash to the east of the peak. Head for the two large boulders which brings one to the South East rib.

This route up Indianhead goes up to the South ridge up this south east rib. Continue climbing up the rib, which is mostly class 2 with some class 3 steps and head up to the prominent point on the South ridge.

At this first point on the South ridge a lunch/snack break is recommended. From this spot, it is a way to go, even though one has climbed half of the elevation gain for the climb. Continue going up the South ridge which is gentle in steepness for a short distance, but starts to get more interesting the further one cllimbs up it. There is one spot where one can climb a 10 foot dihedral on the left which is about 5.5-5.6. It is easier to go to the right which is a very easy class 4 step instead of climbing solo in the dihedral. Climb up several more class 3 steps and travers several moderate class 4 slabs that have some pretty exposed spots. Keep climbing primarily on the top of the South ridge and stay mainly on the right side of the ridge, even on the slab traverses.

Finally traverse the last 4th class slab to just below the "chin" of Indianhead. From here there is a small dirt ledge and an outside corner on the right hand side of the ledge. The outside corner is definitely the crux of the climb here.

Climb up the outside corner, which is class 5.1-5.2 for a few moves and go about 30 feet straight up and set up a belay ancho, if one chooses to use it.. There is a belay anchor, which is a rock and crack that takes #1-3 camalots. Continue climbing up class 1-2 terrain up to the top of the "chin" of Indianhead.

From the "chin", which is a false summit, descend a little bit downhill and climbed up again towards the true summit. This is the "head" portion of the Indianhead profile. The rest of the climb is a class 1 use trail to the top, approximately 3,960 feet. For the descent, leave the summit and head down the east ridge and down a pretty easy class 1 use trail to the saddle above the main south east wash that is the first one east of the summit.

Descend some looser terrain to the rest of the descent is down steep class 1-2 terrain down the wash with some spots of cat claw. Further down the middle section of these slick granite steps that involves some class 3 down climbing. Downclimbing these class 3 ledges in the dark is alot more challenging even with the head lamp in the dark. I do not recommend it. Thisis the Sierra Club route to climbthe peak. Folks, be especially aware of stepping in the soft grass patches. One will just keep working their way down the SE wash to the Palm Canyon nature trail and out to the State campground.

Essential Gear

A short light rope, harness, belay device, a light rack of BD camalots 1-3, perhaps a few hexes and stoppers of the same size as the camalots, 21 ft. cordelette, helmet and rock climbing shoes unless one is comfortable in mountaineering boots the whole way. Bring plenty of water with electrolytes, about a gallon, sunscreen and the usual equipment for a climb of a desert peak.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.

SE Rib of the South Ridge

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