Short Cake Rocks, 5.6-5.13a

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 33.99950°N / 116.01856°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
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Short Cake, 5.10a*
Dow leading Short Cake, 5.10a*
Cake Walk, 5.6*
Dow leading Cake Walk, 5.6*

Belle Campground is normally the best choice you will have for peace regarding camping choices in Joshua Tree National Park.  It also has three climbing formations:  Castle Rock (with End Block), Short Cake Rocks and Half Rock.  Short Cake Rocks is broken down in the guide as three separate formations although they all practically touch.  Miramontes guide has them marked as all day sun routes, but depending on the time of year, that is not necessarily the case.  The guide does not show all the fixed stations/raps.  Atop Short Cake, 5.10a*, which is the best route I climbed on these formations, is a fixed rap that goes down the backside.  There is a top rope anchor above Short Flake, 5.6.  There is a fixed rap above Piece of Cake, 5.13a** and Cake Walk, 5.6*.

consider Short Cake a must do if you are climbing at Belle.  It is a vertical protruding dike to the top.  Your only pro consists of two bolts but the crux comes after your second clip is made.  The crux is an interesting off balance, lay back move on polished dike.  Short Flake is an easy crack with gear.  Cake Walk climbs a much easier vertical dike than Short Cake through two bolts as well.

When you pull into the campground proper, End Block is what you are looking at with Castle Rock located directly behind it.  Half Rock and Short Cake Rocks are the only other two climbing formations in the Campground and neither are surrounded by campsites. Both are located the same distance south from Castle Rock.  Half Rock is easily identifiable as half of a massive boulder to the west of Short Cake Rocks.  Short Cake Rocks is a compilation of massive boulders to the east of Half Rock.  Both are to the south of Castle Rock, approximately a 5 minute walk, and easily identifiable by the photos. 

Route Descriptions, Left to Right Facing the Formation on Approach from Castle Rock

  • Piece of Cake- 40'-5.13a**/
  • Cake Walk- 30’-5.6*/ Fully bolted climb albeit only two bolts. Another cool dike climb in this formation group, more challenging than the one on the opposite wall (not published and no bolts, just a solo). Run out between the bolts. Fixed rap up and left. Dow
  • Short Cake- 45’-5.10a*/ Challenging dike climb for the grade. The crux is after you clip the 2nd bolt. A tough (at the grade) off balance/off center lay back up the dike. One or two moves at most, but full on technical to figure the sequence and body position/weight. The rest is just a fun dike the whole way. Fixed rap on the summit, off the backside. Fully bolted, albeit just two bolts. The 2nd bolt at the crux is a spinner (2018). Dow

  • Short Flake- 40'-5.6/ Easy crack climb to bolts and hangers on top if you want to top rope it.  Rap off the backside. Dow

  • Blue Sky Mine- 50'-5.10d/

  • Ashes to Ashes- 50'-5.10d*/