Zebra Cliffs North, 5.6-5.11c

Zebra Cliffs North, 5.6-5.11c

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 33.98580°N / 116.05751°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
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Dow leading Zebra Dihedral, 5.10a*
Dow leading Zebra Dihedral, 5.10a*

My first visit to this Zebra Cliffs area was several years ago climbing on the east walls and my particular target was a crazy good traverse route named Around the World, 5.10b***.  This north face area did not disappoint either.  Although just a short and easy hike from the Jumbo Rocks campground (1 mile), this area is rarely visited by other climbers and you will more than likely have it to yourself.  It is chock full of decent 5.10 crack lines.

There are two primary climbing walls at the north end of Zebra Cliffs, a left and right.  My favorite route of this grouping is at the far-right side, named Zebra Dihedral, 5.10a*.  No other climb has more of the name sake zebra like stripes on the route than this funky dihedral.  It bends mid-way creating a cool and fun corner climb.  A route out on the left arete from this dihedral is named Short and Crank, 5.10b.  This climb needs a R rating as it requires that you to leave a crack at a sloping ledge and tie off a knob before finishing at face at the grade above the ledge.  The main issue is that the knob tie-off is not bomber.  Further left, is an easy climb for the grade, Jim Cruise, 5.10a*, that runs up twin cracks.  As of 2019, there is no fixed hardware of any kind on these three routes.  They all require gear belays.  The walk off requires you to hike atop the plateau to the south and descend into the canyon on the right, the same one that the Zebra Dihedral is actually located in, which requires some scrambling. 

The left side of the north walls contains a quanity of routes including an interesting crack traverse around an exposed arete and up a finger/ring lock crack finish named Corner n’Crack, 5.10a*.  Its uniqueness makes it my favorite of the left side grouping, but is does require more courage than the average 5.10- at Jtree.  It is the furthest left route.  Just to the right is a short, but worthy, crack line named Short Crack, 5.10a*.  The next face right is separated from these routes by an easy chimney solo named Dan Cruise, 5.6.  To the right of Dan are two sandbagged 5.9’s named Mrs. Pauls, 5.9R and Frozen Fish Fingers, 5.9*.  Can’t say I recommend either of them.  The only bolts in this entire area are found on a short face to the right and out front and include three 5.11 routes.

Park at the entrance to the campground as there are not many if any day use parking sites in the camping area itself.  There is a large hill to the southeast of the campground.  It blocks any view of this crag.  However, there is an established hiking trail heading out of the parking area that circumvents the right side of that same hill.  Just follow this trail to the back side of the hill and you will find Zebra Cliffs North with the Zebra Dihedral being an obvious feature (photo).  One mile at most.

Right Side, Right to Left as you are Facing the North Wall

Zebra Dihedral- 35’-5.10a*/ The best climb on this wall.  Short but powerful and fun dog leg dihedral under a roof.  Fingers are the crux, with your back against the right wall, great rock, great protection.  Best to just bring the 2nd up as there are no bolts or fixed anchors on any of these routes at the north face right end.  Medium gear belay on top.  Walk south and scramble back down the chimney you belay out of.  Single to C4#1.  Double up on finger sizes.  The coloration (zebra stripes) of this rock is amazing.  Dow

Short and Crank- 30’-5.10b/ The worse climb of this group.  Climb the obvious thin crack on the arete on the right side of this block that peters out to a shallow ledge.  Sling a small horn out on the arete, not a confident feature/pro, and finish above the ledge on face at the grade.  Single rack to C4# .75.  Not a recommended route.  Decent is same as Zebra Dihedral.   Dow   

Jim Cruise- 30’-5.10a*/ Relatively easy for the grade, particularly in comparison to other routes at this destination.  Protects well with small gear up juggy rock that leads to a single finger crack that goes to hands near the top.  Worthy route.  Medium gear belay above.  Difficult to top rope, I suggest you bring the 2nd up.  Walk off like Zebra.  Single from micro/wires to C4#2. Dow

Left Side, Right to Left as you are Facing the North Walls

Sand Truck- 35’-5.11c**/

More Frozen Food- 35’-5.10d**/

Small Animal Sanctuary- 35’-5.11a*/

Frozen Fish Fingers- 35’- 5.9*/ Larger block in back of the front block creates a left facing dihedral.  Easy climbing to the top of this left facing dihedral and then commit to the finger crack. Cruxy going from there up the steep fingers that peter out to tricky slab run out for the last several meters.  Medium gear belay not far from the edge therefore can be top roped.  Walk off climbers right by walking south and left and then cutting back right in a deep corridor.  Scramble down the corridor way back west.  Single from micros to C4 #1.  Zero bolts on these back routes.  Dow

Mrs. Pauls- 35’- 5.9R/ To the left of Frozen Fish Fingers is a partial splitter on the upper wall but you must climb run out face at the grade to reach it.  It widens to small hands above.  Single from micro to C4# 1.  Walk off as you do for Frozen Fish.  Dow

Dan Cruise- 35’- 5.6/ Secure solo up a chimney that separates the two back walls at this destination.  Good hands and inside edges.  Dow

Short Crack- 30’-5.10a*/ Cool short splitter in the middle on the upper left wall. Great gear and rock.  Fingers and finger locks.  Easier than the two 5.9’s on the right back wall, Frozen and Mrs. Pauls.   Single to C4# .75,  Gear belay on top.  Walk off as for Frozen.  Dow

Corner n’ Crack- 45’-5.10a*/ One of my favorite 5.10a’s at Jtree.  Short but interesting climbing on good rock.  Start up the wall to the left of the arete on the left side of the upper wall.  Place gear in intermittent cracks as you climb intermittent jugs up and traverse right and cross the arete onto the right face.  There you find a true horizontal with exposure below.  Takes good gear as you traverse to the right and meet up with a C4#.75 splitter that goes straight up.  Make the physical mantle (lay back) into the #.75 crack and climb it to the top.  Gear belay, with no viable top rope.  Walk off as for Frozen Fish.  Micro to C4 #.75.  Double from #.3 through #.75.  Dow