Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Lat/Lon: 34.01884°N / 116.16688°W
County: Riverside
Activities: Trad Climbing
Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Elevation: 4000 ft / 1219 m


Watanobe Wall, left side side
Nightfall in Joshua Tree
Nightfall in Joshua Tree

Watanobe Wall is a rock formation in the Steve Canyon area of Joshua Tree National Park, California.

I described in some detail the area known as Steve Canyon in my page on Super Roof Wall. In contrast to Super Roof Wall that is east facing and inside, Watanobe Wall is west facing and just outside of Steve Canyon. This wall is clearly visible from Park Boulevard, the main artery running west to east in the park. Steve Canyon and Watanobe Wall have a prime location being very close to the huge parking lot, phone and bathroom facilities of (Intersection Rock) area, yet far enough to give you some sense of privacy. It is unlikely that you receive many spectators while climbing on this formation.

Watanobe Wall was named after the most popular and the original route on this formation, Watanobe Wall, rated 10a. This route is truly one of the best of its type and difficulty rating in Joshua Tree. If the names Tobin Sorenson, or Guyzo mean anything to you, they did the first ascent of this route. A few other climbers who established routes on this formation were none other than legendary figures like Herb Laeger, Alan Bartlett and Santa Barbara’s own, Dave Black.

The west face of Watanobe Wall is divided into two main areas, the left side and the right side. The left side, being a single unbroken piece, is the more prominent of the two and contains the original route, Watanobe Wall route. The right side also has its own share of quality routes such as, Season Opener, 5.8 and Come-N-Do-Me, 10b. The left side sits atop huge boulders, but the base of Watanobe Wall route is flat and not very large. The right side belay areas are mostly in the shade of trees and boulders, but not as aesthetic as the base of the left side.

To descend you have at least two options. The first option is to climb to the top of the formation and look for a set of anchor bolts atop the east face. These bolts will bring you down to the base of a very popular climb called Candelabra. Please be carefull with the huge flake that constitutes the middle section of Candelabra. The second option is to go left from the top of Watanobe Wall to gain the notch that separates this formation from the formation containing Super Roof Wall. From the notch descend easy second and third class rocks down Steve Canyon passing by the base of Sidewinder formation.

Getting There

Watanobe Wall area seen from the road
Watanobe area seen from Park Boulevard.

To get to Watanobe Wall formation 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 follow the signs to the base of Watanobe Wall.

List of the Select Routes of Watanobe Wall

Select Routes of Watanobe Wall area
AWataneast Route, 5.7, Standard Rack, pro to 3 inches
BWatanobe Wall, 10a, standard rack
CYei-Bei-Chei Crack, 5.9, standard rack, pro to 3 inches
DSeason Opener, 5.8, standard rack
ECome-N-Do-Me, 10b, Bolts and gear, standard rack
FI'm Already Bored With The New Millennium, 5.8, Standard Rack

Select Routes of Watanobe Wall

Watanobe Wall, 10a
Watanobe Wall, 10a, is the prominent crack in the middle of the face
Select routes of Watanobe Wall
Select routes of Watanobe Wall
Watanobe Wall, right side
Right side

Camping, Noise considerations & Environments Concerns

Joshua Tree landscape
Typical Joshua Tree landscape

Desert Flowers near...
Desert Flowers

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.


Protecting native plants
protecting native plants

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

Noise considerations

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

Entrance station...
The best Thai 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.