Willit Pillar is a rock formation in the Indian Cove
area of Joshua Tree National Park
This pillar is located just to the left, west, of Indian Palisades Corridor, and some 250 feet to the right of Billboard Buttress
. Indian Palisades Corridor itself is flanked by the south face of Varnished Wall
on one side and the back side of Feudal Wall
on the other. Willit Pillar is interesting in that it's hiding in plain sight. Looking from a distance, it blends in with the south face of Varnished Wall, and looks as it were a part of it. But, looking at it from the side it becomes obvious that the two formations are separate.
The history of climbing on Willit Pillar dates back to the 1980s, if not even earlier. At that time there were only two routes established on it. You would be hard pressed to find many bolt ladders in a climbing area such as Joshua Tree National Park, but there is one here on Willit Pillar. As far as I know, No one knows who put up this bolt ladder, but it is obvious that some other climbers have removed some of the hangers from the bolts, and may be even the bolts themselves have been removed in some cases. Suffice to say, I have never seen any one attempting to aid up this route known as "Unknown Highway."
Aside from the bolt ladder, there are a number of routes on this pillar. All of the route, except for a route known as "Call of The West," combine a certain amount of both face and crack climbing to reach the top. Most of the routes are done in two pitches to reduce rope drag. The descent is done by rappelling eighty feet down the back side.
One of the best known routes on Willit Pillar is "Call of The West," rated 5.9. This route starts on a right facing open book and follows a series of cracks to the top. Another well known and more challenging than the previous route is "Hollywood And Vaino," rated 10c, runout. This route combines mostly face climbing on thin holds with sparse protection, hence the "rounout" suffix, and a little bit of crack climbing leading to the top of the pillar. This route is best done in two pitches.
Routes of Willit Pillar
|A||Unknown Highway, A1, lookout for missing bolt hangers and bolts|
|B||Hollywood And Vaino, 10c, RUNOUT, standard rack|
|C||Call of The West, 5.9, standard rack|
|D||South Face Route, 5.9, standard rack|
Entrance to the park/Ranger Station
Indian Cove is located roughly nine miles east of the town of Joshua Tree on highway 62. The sign directing you to Indan Cove is obvious. Turn right, going south, here. If you go as far the town of 29 Palms, you have gone too far. It’s about three miles from here to Indian Cove Campground. Drive south on this road to a ranger station and the enterance to the park. You will be checked at the gate for your America The Beautiful card, or will be charged an enterance fee. Driving past the gate will bring you to the Indian Cove Campground. Billboard Buttress is to your left just before entering the campground. Enter the campground and turn left, east loop. Willit Pillar is some seventy five yards to the east of Billboard Buttress, and it's directly behind campsite #3.
Camping, Noise considerations, Environmental concerns, fees
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.