This vaguely defined location in Echo Canyon has a few of the park's best and most-popular single-pitch routes.
On a weekend, you want to get here very early because guides usually have some of the routes set up (I am often one of those guides). Usually, the guides are fine with you climbing, even on their gear, until the clients arrive and occupy the routes for much of the day.
Or show up on a weekday and have the place to yourself.
Set out on the Summit Trail and then take the Echo Canyon Trail. When that trail reaches a board with lots of information posted, take the purple trail. Motorboat Rock will be to the left, and Practice Slab will be to the right; the other three climbs are uphill a little and require some scrambling to reach.
The first three routes listed are from left to right. Practice Slab, the last listed, is below the others. To set up Practice Slab, you must access the base of Jack Knife.
Hard Hands, 5.10a-- an obvious crack route. No top anchors.
Jack Knife, 5.5-- the best climb at the grade in the park. Great pro, but a #4 and even a #5 will make you feel better near the top. Bolted anchors. Jack Knife provides access to Cave Crack, and many parties pair the two for a two- or three-pitch trip to the top of the dome (see attached route page).
Orient Express, 5.9-- 4 bolts, bolted anchors.
Practice Slab, 5.6-5.8-- TR only. No top anchors. Build an anchor with a boulder and cracks.
There is a $7 daily entrance fee.
Climbers and rappelers are required to sign in. You are not required to pay a fee, get a permit, or list where you will be climbing; but you have to name the members of your party, note your climbing dates, and sign a waiver.
Periodically, the park closes for permitted hunts. Check the park website (final section below) for these and other possible closure periods.
On weekends and holidays and during school breaks, the parking lots often fill by as early as 10 or even 9 A.M. When that happens, the park closes for up to three hours at a time. Signs on major access roads will announce these closures, but that doesn't help if you're not local, so you might want to call before leaving. From the park's website: "Flashing signs on approaching roads will also alert you if the park is closed. One sign is north of Fredericksburg on R.R. 965; the other is on Hwy. 16 near the R.R. 965 intersection."
The state parks now have an online system for reserving day passes up to 30 days in advance.
When to Climb
Early spring and late fall are best, but winter has a lot of good climbing days. Unless you're out here really early or really late, you pretty much don't want to touch this place May through September.
The park has a campground and also allows primitive camping (backpacking) in designated zones. Reservations are strongly recommended. See the park website.
There is also camping 7 miles away at Frontier Outpost and 13 miles away at Oxford Ranch. Both sites are privately owned. Fees are $10 and starting at $8 per night per person, respectively.
Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the
Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The
Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.
Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.