West Chimney, 5.6

Page Type: Route
Lat/Lon: 34.01510°N / 116.1634°W
Route Type: Trad Climbing
Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Time Required: Less than two hours
Difficulty: 5.6
Rock Difficulty: 5.6 (YDS)
Number of Pitches: 2
Grade: I


Climbers on West Chimney
Rappelling the north face

The hulk of a rock known as Intersection Rock is without a doubt the most famous formation in all of Joshua Tree National Park. There are numerous routes with varying degrees of difficulty all around this rock. The most prominent feature of the west face is a gaping crack known as west Chimney. This feature runs from the very base all the way to the top of the formation. Considering its low technical difficulty level, it should come as no surprise that it became one of the first routes to be climbed on this rock and in fact in all of Joshua Tree National Park.

Located just to the right of The Flake, west Chimney is about 150 feet long and with a rope long enough it can be climbed in one pitch. Having witnessed a number of difficulties experienced by different parties I am convinced that it is best for this route to be done in two pitches. This way you are always closer to your partner wich makes communication simpler and reduces rope drag. West Chimney is not a pure chimney climb. You will find many features inside the chimney to use as handholds and footholds.

Descent: If you are climbing with two skinny ropes, you can get to the bottom with just one rappel from any one of a number of rap stations on top. If you have just one rope, rap down to Bat Ledge, on the west face, then make another rap to the bottom from there.

Essential Equipment: Standard rack with extra large pieces of protection, slings, and one or two ropes.

Getting There

West Face with West Chimney
Topo of the route

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 Quail Springs Road 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.

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