Joshua Tree sunset
South End Formation
The Wall is a rock formation in the Joshua Tree National Park, California.
North End Formation
This appropriately named and very long formation consists of three distinct, but physically connected sections: the north end, the middle section and the south end. This rock is somewhat convoluted but for the most part it’s southwest facing.
The Wall works like the wall of a fortress securing and enclosing one whole side of the very famous Hidden Valley Campground. The base is strewn with boulders and nooks and crannies providing many hiding places for those seeking a little seclusion from the noise and hustle and bustle of the large campground.
Unlike its impressive and very famous neighbors, Intersection Rock
, Old Woman
, Chimney Rock
and The Blob
, The Wall does not receive very much attention from climbers. This may be due to the difficulty in approach to the middle and the south end formations, or heavy competition from its more pleasing looking neighbors. Whatever the reason, The Wall also gets a slice of the pie when it comes to offering moderate to challenging crack and face climbs. The approach to the base of the north end and the south end formations are pretty trivial, but you have to be prepared to make the scramble up to the base of the middle section.
Select Routes of The Wall
North End Formation
South End Formation End Formation
Having a prime location, The Wall also saw a number of early route developments. The history of technical climbing on The Wall finds its roots going back to the late sixties and early seventies when all the formations surrounding Hidden Valley Campground were being developed. Two of the original pioneers were none other than John Long and my good friend Herb Laeger with his first ascent of “Two Scoops Please,” originally rated at 10c, and now a 10d, and a daring lead to boot.
If there is one route on the entire formation that might catch your eye with a climber on it, it would be “Hands Off,” rated 5.8. This is a short crack located on the north end part of The Wall.
On a personal note, “Hands Off” is one of the first routes I climbed in Joshua Tree in the early 1970s. I was proudly thinking that I was very special to soon stand and pose on top of the route. About ten feet from the top, I heard a voice from above, “Hey Dude!” I looked up to see this guy leaning over the edge and smiling. I was befuddled to find out that there was an easy way to the top from the back side. My two minutes of glory and pride was lost.
The Wall, of course, has a lot more to offer than just “Hands Off.” The “Middle Section,” if you bother to scramble up to its base, offers a number of climbs in the 5.9 to 10b range. You will also find a classic climb “Chalk Up Another One,” rated 10a. on the south end formation of The Wall.
Important Climbing Etiquette
Select Climbs of The Wall
|A||Hands Down, 11c, Toprope, on the north end formation
|B||Two Scoops Please, 10d, runout, standard rack, on the north end formation
|C||Hands Off, 5.8, standard rack, on the north end formation|
|D||D.R.M.F. 10b, runout, standard rack, on the middle formation|
|E||C.F.M.F. 5.8, standard rack, on the middle formation |
|F||Damn Jam, 5.6, standard rack, include several big pro up to 4.5", on the south end formation|
|G||Chalk Up Another One, 10b, standard rack, on the south end formation|
|H||Pumping Ego, 10b, bolts and gear, on the south end formation|
Many of the rock formations in the Hidden Valley Campground, including The Wall, are located behind campsites. It is highly advised to get permission from the campsite residents to cross their site to start or finish your climb. It is most likely the campers will not protest your intrusion onto their site. They may, however, smile at you and even offer you a beer if you do, as a courtesy, ask their permission.
Camping and noise Considerations
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.
Please tread lightly. The Access Fund has gone to great lengths posting trail marker for approaches to many of the more popular crags. Do you 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.
Food and Fees
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 16.00$/person. But, you must get there early, or be prepared to wait by the door for a table.
How to get there
I hope you get to see a sunset like this during your visit to Joshua Tree.
From the western entrance to Joshua Tree National Park drive on Park Boulevard, formerly known as Quail Springs Road, for about nine miles to a major rock formation called “Intersection Rock.” Intersection Rock is a major landmark on the north side of Park Boulevard with ample parking for visitors and climbers alike. This rock, true to its name, sit at the cross roads to Hidden Valley Campground, Barker Dam Road and the road to Day use and picnic area. Park your car here, and walk into Hidden Valley Campground. Walk all the way to the far end of the campground. The last formation to your right is The North End formation of The Wall.