The Orc Wall. The large flake on the route Candelabra is clearly visible.
Rapping down The Orc Wall
Looking down at Joshua Tree landscape from Steve Canyon. The formations Old Woman on the left, and Intersection Rock on the right are clearly visible. Saddle Rock, at a great distance, is visible in between the two closer formations.
The Orc Wall is a rock formation in the Steve Canyon
region of Joshua Tree National Park
As you enter Steve Canyon, probably heading for Super Roof Wall
or Grain Surgery Wall
, it's easy to pass by The Orc Wall without so much as a glimpse at it. This sixty foot formation sits immediately on the mouth of Steve Canyon to you left, east side. Most people notice this formation coming out of the canyon. It is easy to see how The Orc Wall gets lost in a neighborhood rich in famous formations such as Sidewinder Rock
on the opposite side of the canyon from The Orc Wall.
The Orc Wall is actually the back side of Watanobe Wall
. Many people who climb Watanobe Wall make their way to the top of the formation to use the double bolt anchor on the top of the east face, The Orc Wall, to get back down. When you rappel from this anchor, you end up on the base of a very famous route named Candelabra
, rated 10a R/X. The letter R
stands for "Runout" which means that you have to climb long stretches of the rock without any protection. The letter X
stands for "Great chance of death." When you look at Candelabra from the base, it becomes obvious why this route gets an X rating. There is a huge flake half way up the route that seems ready to separate from the main face. If this flake comes off while you are anywhere near it, you could meet your maker in a hurry. Most people top rope this route using the anchor on top. If you are top roping or leading this route, please take great care not to tug on the flake too hard.
The Orc Wall was named after it's most sought after route The Orc
, rated 10a. There are no huge flakes on this route to endanger your life. This is a short but beautiful crack system that takes you all the way to the top of the formation. There are two variations with about the same difficulty levels. Take a sixty meter rope and a standard rack for this route.
The last route on the right side of The Orc Wall is The Troll
, rated 11c. This route starts out on a a thin face to the right of The Orc, and climbs past bolts to a ledge. It's best to do the rest of this climb on a separate pitch to reduce rope drag. The second pitch climbs up the middle of the upper face past one more bolt. Take a standard rack and a sixty meter rope.
Looking up Steve CanyonTo Get to The Orc Wall
from the west entrance to Joshua Tree National Park, drive 8.3 miles on Park Boulevard
to a turnout about quarter of a mile before reaching Intersection Rock parking lot. Looking on the opposite side of the road, in the northeasterly direction, you will see Watanobe Wall to the west of the narrow and steep Steve Canyon. Park in the turnout and and head for Steve Canyon. The Orc Wall is the very first formation to your left as you enter the canyon.
Routes of The Orc Wall
Grand Theft Avocado, 5.7
List of the routes
Routes of The Orc Wall
|A||Grand Theft Avocado, 5.7, Standard Rack,|
|B||Candelabra, 10a, standard rack, Lookout for the flake|
|C||The Orc, 10a, standard rack|
|D||The Troll, 11c, bolt and standard rack|
Camping, Noise Considerations, Environmental Concerns, Fees & Food
Typical Joshua Tree landscape
Please tread lightly. The Access Fund has gone to great lengths posting trail marker for approaches to many of the more popular crags. Do your best to stay on these trails, and where you are forced to use a different path, choose the ones that rain can mend in time. Drainages make for good trails where there are no established trails.
Avoid stepping on native and fragile plants, and do not feed the coyotes. Coyotes are very much used to people and often hang around picnic areas and camp grounds in hopes of getting a hand out. It’s better to let them live their natural life.
There are nine campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park. At the entrance to the park you are always asked if you would care to have a map and a brochure. The brochure will have plenty of information on the campgrounds and the map will guide you to many of the pleasant hikes throughout the park. You may even get the latest information as to availability of campsites. During the peak season (mid winter through spring) finding a campsite may become a major task. It is highly recommended to use the following link to get more information in advance.
Joshua Tree Camping
When you are camping with friends and sitting around the fire, it is easy to forget that there are other people trying to sleep in the nearby campsites. It is important to put yourself in their shoes. Keep the noise and music to a minimum and certainly not too much past 10 p.m. Your neighbors will smile at you in the morning instead of giving you dirty looks.
Fees and Food
My wife and I have had Thai food in many different restaurants and cities. This Thai place beats them all. In November when the number of visitors to Joshua Tree reaches its peak, this restaurant puts on a Thai buffet, all you can eat for 10.95$/person. But, you must get there early, or be prepared to wait by the door for a table. The latest information indicates that the buffet style will be terminated by the end of February and will resume in November of 2010.