Remote (by Jtree standards) Stirrup Rock offers two of the better rock faces in all of Joshua Tree National Park. The heavily varnished south face also offers up one of the best moderate crack climbs in the park: Peter Eater Pumpkin Eater (5.10d***). Dancin’ Daze (5.8*) and Overpowered by Funk (5.12b) are also two of the better climbs at their grade in Joshua Tree. Carlos Danger, 5.9**, is a fun route at the grade as well. The north face offers up a great sport climb, Freckle Face, 5.11a**, as well as one of the better 5.9 trad pitches in the park, Do or "Dike".
Stirrup Tank is a seldom visited collection of granite spires located on the eastern fringes of Joshua Tree, beyond White Tank campground off of Cottonwood Springs Road (Pinto Basin). A tower resembling a western style stirrup (the “Stirrup”) gives the area its namesake. But the “Stirrup Rock” formation (not where the Stirrup is located) offers the most aesthetic climbs at Stirrup Tank via both north and south facing walls. Most of these routes were established in the 80’s by a variety of FAers. All of Stirrup Tank is a quiet area that you more than likely will have to yourself at least during week days.
From the main park loop road, head east at the Cottonwood junction (Pinto Basin and/or Cottonwood Springs Road). Drive past both campgrounds, Belle and White Tank. Fairly immediate after White Tank, turn right at Bovine Dome (parking area). Head down a dirt road to its end with a trailhead and restroom. Head west out of the parking area for the obvious dark wall in the distance, Stirrup Rock’s south face.
Carlos Danger- 90’-5.9**/ Fully bolted sport route (7). Climb up a short steep but juggy start to a 5th class slab through a second bolt. Scramble up to the steep wall on the right and traverse it left to right via bolts, to the arete. Steep but positive. Finish up to a fixed rap. Dow
Dancin’ Daze- 5.8*/ One arm bar up the short off width and then up the arete on huge jugs (sling for pro) to finish on an easy crack. Can rap off of Carlos Danger. Dow
Peter Eater Pumpkin Eater- 5.10d***/ Very aesthetic crack climb. The crux of this route, as is the case with many featured climbs at Jtree, is off the deck. A micro piece followed by a C4 .3 protects a flarring and otherwise closed crack. Palm up the right side with a desperate layback going until you can reach a small hand jam. I found this section sandbagged for the grade at Jtree. From that point on, the crack was more like 5.9+ or 5.10- with plenty of rests. Can rap off right at the next crack over. Dow
Overpowered by Funk- 5.12b**/
Crack Kills- 5.10c/
New Toy- 70’-5.6/ One of the better trad routes in the park for this grade despite not receiving a recommendation in the local guide. Place gear at will up a left facing, curvy corner on the left side of this middle portion of the north face. Some decent exposure 2/3rds up. Top out at a gear belay. Carefully rap Freckle Face. Dow
Jugular Vein- 5.8*/ Can be laden with bird shit in the spring.
Freckle Face- 55’-5.11a**/ This section of the north face is home to some of the best rock in the park. The crux is after the first clip and at the last clip. Sparsely bolted route (no gear). Sustained climbing through four bolts, but the middle of the route features way more positive holds. Fixed rap atop the route. Stays in the shade most all year. Dow
Do or Dike- 60’-5.9/ One of the best routes for this grade in the park (I have climbed over 1000) on great rock, but gets no recommendation in the guide. When you add these great north face trad routes with Peter Eater Pumpkin Eater, 5.10d***, on the other side, this is one of the better trad climbing formations in the park. Climb the dike which offers more pro than you might think that eventually develops into a right facing corner. Micro to medium gear with a medium gear belay at top. Carefully rap Freckle Face. Dow
Finger Bowl- 5.12a*/ Sport route.