Stirrup Towers, 5.6-5.10b

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 33.95996°N / 116.01726°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Fall, Winter
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Rollerskating with Aliens, Beam Me Up Scottie, Bublinky, I Slept with LK and Space Metal
Rollerskating with Aliens, Beam Me Up Scottie, Bublinky, I Slept with LK and Space Metal

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.  Stirrup Towers is the name given to a set of pinnacles just east out of the parking lot at Stirrup Tank.  A tower resembling a weatern style stirrup gives the area its namesake.  The climbs line the southwest face of this granite outcrop that lead up to the “Stirrup” itself at the east end.  Stirrup Tank in general is a quiet area that you more than likely will have to yourself on many days.

Go Ask Alice, Filet of Cole and Notch Route
Go Ask Alice, Filet of Cole and Notch Route

Two routes line the face of an aesthetic leaning tower on the left, Rollerskating with Aliens, 5.8, and Beam Me Up Scotty, 5.10a*.  Beam Me Up is a fun bolted arete climb.  Four more line up on a southeast broad face that is reached via boulder hopping in from the leaning tower:  Bublinky, 5.8*, I Slept with LK, 5.10a* and Space Metal, 5.10a*.  I Slept with LK is a fun trad climb. There is one located between Slept With and Space Metal that is unpublished in the guides as of 2019, named Manichean Jacobin, 5.10b.  Two are located on a feature named Pyramid Tower:  Go Ask Alice, 5.10b*, and Filet of Cole, 5.10a*.  Go Ask Alice has a height dependant clip off the deck.  Filet is an excellent mixed climb.  The Notch Route, 5.6, is the short easy finger splitter on the Stirrup itself and can be accessed from a variety of methods including from the rap off of Pyramid Tower (stop at the notch).  It is worth doing.

From the main park loop road, head east at the Cottonwood junction (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. Stirrup Towers start just east of the parking area. 

Routes Listed Left to Right as you Face the Walls

Crack of Noon- 5.10a/Faces the Parking Area.

Narrow (leaning) Tower

Rollerskating with Aliens- 40’-5.8/ More challenging and sustained then its neighbor route, Beam Me Up Scottie, 5.10a*.  Start up an easy wide crack at the left side of the tower and then make committing and chossy moves rightward to the first bolt.  Sustained through another bolt to a shared rap with Beam.  Two bolts, run out. Dow

Beam Me Up Scottie- 40’-5.10a*/ Modern bolted route on the right side of the tower.  Well protected through fun edge climbing.  Fully bolted.  Soft for the grade at Jtree.  Dow

Southeast Face

Bublinky- 5.8*/ During the afternoon the belay was in the sun on this one (but not on the routes to the right). Up an easy crack to a short slab, past a few bolts to a fixed rap. Dow

I Slept with LK- 40’-5.10a*/ This is a decent trad route for this area.  Step over from a boulder to the middle of the face and place a small cam.  Make a committing move up fingers with good, but selective, pro.  Traverse right to a larger crack that finishes up well below the grade on the right-side shoulder with a shared rap anchor.  Single to #2, a few wires.  Dow

Manichean Jacobin – 50’-5.10b/ This route is relatively new and not listed in the 3rd edition of the Miramontes guide.  Modern bolted (7!).  The crux is the lower 3rd.  Some tricky sequences to get lost in.  Much better rock than Space Metal.  Fully bolted to shared rap.  Dow

Space Metal- 85’-5.10a*/ Miramontes has this route listed as two pitches but there is no need to divide it up.  Climb the right side arete through three bad hangers/bolts (2019).  The start, stepping over to climbing on the wall at the grade from a boulder, is the crux.  Once you reach the broad shoulder with the shared rap, move left and climb through two more bad bolts, the top one of which is truly suspect.  Climb the short steep wall to a jug to mantle on at the top.  There is one bad bolt there.  There is a modern rap anchor over on Bublinky.   Fully bolted.  Dow

Pyramid Tower

Go Ask Alice- 70'-5.10b*/ Height dependant first clip off the deck.

Filet of Cole- 100’-5.10a*/ Reminds me of an easier Scareway (Indian Cove) which is one of my favorite 5.10’s in the park.  Climb the discontinuous flared finger crack with thoughtful pro from micro to #.75.  When it ends, move up and left via face climbing, on varnished rock, to a bolt.  Then trend up and right through typical white slab below the grade, runout, through a bolt near the top.  Double from micro to #.75.  Fixed rap that leads down right from the summit, to the notch between Stirrup Tower.  Dow

Stirrup Tower

The Notch Route- 30’-5.6/ A fun and easy finger crack in good rock to the summit of the Stirrup itself.  Climb after Filet of Cole, so you can just rap down to the notch and then climb the Notch.  Otherwise, climb up a chimney from inside a small cave like feature to reach the finger crack.  Worth doing.  Dow



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