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The Blob - West Face
Routes Sorted
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Beginner's One T 
Beginner's Twenty-six T 
Beginner's Two T 
Berkeley Dyke T 
Dialing For Ducats T 
Hobbit Roof T 
Safety In Numbers T 
Smear Tactics T 
Swagger T 

Beginner's Two 

YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c

   
Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 170'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a [details]
FA: unknown
Page Views: 2,657
Submitted By: Kelly on Apr 29, 2003

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (53)
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BETA PHOTO: Beginner's Two

Description 

A beauty to look at, it had to be done. Who care's the grade if the climbing is fun?

Protection 

Pro to 3"


Photos of Beginner's Two Slideshow Add Photo
Near the top
Near the top
One of my first trad leads.
One of my first trad leads.
Overview
BETA PHOTO: Overview
This part at the beginning seems much harder than 5.2
BETA PHOTO: This part at the beginning seems much harder than ...
Second pro placement. Note: I should have placed my long sling here, not where I have it on the first piece. I had rope drag due to no sling on this second piece, because the route goes back over to the left.
BETA PHOTO: Second pro placement. Note: I should have placed m...

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Dec 19, 2012
By M.Morley
Administrator
From: Sacramento, CA
Apr 30, 2003

Just to add to Kelly's description, Beginner's Two lies a little ways right (south) of The Bong. I've always descended to climber's left to the top of the Bong, and then downclimbed as for that route. However, this might be a case where the downclimb is harder than the actual route! Does anyone know of the easiest descent option?
By Anonymous Coward
Apr 30, 2003

Sounds like there is a need for a convenience anchor; maybe even two sets for people who climb this route with 135 meter rope.
By Flying T
May 1, 2003

Perhaps contracting all concessions to Disney will help. Then all descents will be easily identified through the gift shops, where you can buy a photo of your face at the crux.

See The Blob comments for a 5.0 descent off the northeast.
By Matthew Fienup
Administrator
From: Ventura, CA
Apr 5, 2006
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

The easiest descent is East (towards the Old Woman). Walk and scramble along the crest of the formation. Continue heading downhill (Class 2-3) until reaching the top of Papa Woolsey. There are slings and rap rings around a large chalkstone. It is also possible to descend to the south (from atop Papa Woolsey) via a 5.0 path.
By Matthew Fienup
Administrator
From: Ventura, CA
Apr 5, 2006
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Although "Beginner's Two" is an extremely fun route, prospective climbers should know that there are 2 distinct 5.7 cruxes---yes 5.7! The first is leaving the large alcove at the start of the main crack (you may be able to bypass this crux with some unprotected face climbing out to the left). The second comes near the top of the formation and pulls through a short off-width section.

This is NOT a beginners route.
By Blitzo
Sep 23, 2006

Wow, sounds a lot harder than it was back in 1977. Maybe I'll go do it again.
By Will S
From: Joshua Tree
Jan 10, 2008
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Easiest descent is probably to walk climber's right across the top of the formation to the far right end of the west face and descend low angle and ledgy terrain southwest to a point where you can work back a bit west to the top of the chimney descent commonly used for Bussonier. You will know it's the right chimney because there is an old bolt sleeve (no bolt) right at the top of the chimney. Basically go to the far right, follow the path of least resistance down to the chimney.

This route is a giant sandbag for the rating. Involves a fair amount of wide climbing on low angle terrain with a crux where is steepens just before the top. Realistically probably 5.5+. Probably not a great new leader route. Although I wasn't on a rope and not looking for them, I didn't really see many places you would get gear. The Bong is a much better route both for climbing and for a new leader (it's also easier).
By Meredith Moseley
From: San Jose, CA
Feb 26, 2008
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

When I did this last week, my partner and I rapped off of bolts with a nest of webbing on the other side of the rock. It's mostly a free rappel, and it landed us on a large ledge that was still about 12 feet or so off the ground. He slung a boulder, took all my gear, and rapped down to the ground. Then I dismantled his anchor and climbed down a convenient tree.

The point is: the descent isn't obvious, and the top of the formation is pretty big, so make sure you know where to head once you're done with the route (I wish we had).
By Mark L
May 12, 2008

The Climb: Sand bag at "5.2". That is nothing new for 40 year old routes however. Stemming up the start could go at 5.5 but near the top of that section I went left on the face and regretted the decision. I probably would have been happier sitcking to the stemming a little longer.
Grovel on up through the long, tight 5.2-5.4 OW. Dont look for much pro from the beginning of the climb until after the second crux either unless you've brought a few 4-5" cams. Nearly the entire crack is 4-6" wide and flared and little other pro exists where you need it. Carrying up to a #3 camalot I could only get (primarily near the more challenging parts) 4 or 5 pieces of gear in on the 180' from start to the top. Keep on up through a few other minor challenges to what Matthew refers to as the 5.7 OW. I enjoy working on OW skills but this one was funky. Save a #3 camalot for the 2nd crux - perfect pod to fit one before starting the 2nd crux. I would suggest that you may want to be a 5.8 josh leader to tackle that little 15' OW section comfortably. There is not too much for hands and feet. You can hit whats below you with only that blue camalot in, so you dont want to botch it.

Anchor requires slightly larger gear in the main crack OR walk back further and there is a decent place to the right of the rack to use some medium pieces.

The descent: I don't think its reasonable to expect you will find the south descent without a lot of hunting. Agree with Mike the downclimb to the Bong descent looks not just harder than the climb up, but dangerous. Unless you want an adventure I dont know this route is worth doing unless you are with someone who knows the Bouisoneer descent or you know it. It's an easy chimney descent for someone use to j-tree descents but finding the top of it is somewhat hard. There is no rusted spinner bolt there anymore. A local climber I met mentioned the papa woolsey rap slings are not to be trusted lightly. Lastly, dont take a beginner on this climb without lowering them back off before you do the descent unless they are cool with hopping down boulders and 5.0 downclimbing with exposure.
By Brian Hench
From: Costa Mesa, CA
Dec 30, 2008

There is an arch near a bathtub that can be slung. A singe rope rap will get you down to the top of The Bong. From there go northeast toward some brown knobby looking rock. Work your way left into a cave and chimney down it, fourth class and then downclimb the rest of the way. It's not hard.
By RTM
Jul 31, 2009

I lead this route years ago and it scared the crud out of me. Insecure moves with questionable gear!
By Jason Partin
From: San Diego, CA
Nov 16, 2009
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

DO NOT PUT SOMEONE ON IT FOR A FIRST CLIMB WITHOUT DOING IT YOURSELF FIRST! This is not a 5.2 climb, as the book says!!! The consensus on MP is 5.5 to 5.6, with a few people calling the crux move 5.7. Regardless of the exact rating (which will always be subjective) it's a difficult move through the crux, with poor protection, and decking potential should the leader fall. I learned this last weekend when I put someone on their first trad lead. They did it, but thought The Bong was a lot easier, and I agree. It's a fun route, but the 5.2 rating in Vogel's book and the name "Beginners" are deceiving for new climbers... It's a 5.5 - 5.6 crack with decking potential, so be careful.
By Joseph Stover
From: Batesville, AR
Apr 26, 2010
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13

There is a bolt up high on this climb too, and just above the bolt(maybe 5-10 feet) there is a perfect pocket for a #2 C4. Up top there is a pocket that fits a purple 0.75 C4 for an anchor; a #4 would probably work good up there too, but I had to make do with a unevenly cammed #3. It seemed like the route would have protected well with several large cams, maybe #'s 4-6. It was mostly just leaning into the crack/channel and hiking up, then a few harder moves up high. The low angle makes it doable with minimal technique.

I started the climb above the hard thin vertical crack; as high as can be reached along the face slab. Maybe this makes it significantly easier.

I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner/novice trad leader. It is a good alternative if the bong is being bogarted though.
By Chris D
From: the couch
May 3, 2010
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a R

I think I protected this the same way Joseph Stover described above, minus the .75. I just girth-hitched the bathtub arch for an anchor. I was looking pretty thoroughly for gear placements, and there are very few. The high crux of this route is a low-angle, funky, shallow off-width. If you're not at least a little familiar with off-widths I wouldn't recommend leading this. I took a #5 C4 and it was nothing but dead weight. Everything's too wide for it.

Looking up at the line from the start, I thought "Oh, man, there's either some magic going on up there, or this is a total sandbag at 5.2"

It's a total sandbag. Ha! That said, it goes at about a modern 5.5, and is quite fun, but PG13 or perhaps even R...just because the high second crux is hard or impossible to protect near the top and would be hard to fall out of without getting hurt.

Descending to the top of the Bong then taking the bong descent is not only not as hard as people make it sound, but at least as much fun as the climb if you enjoy 4th or low 5th class downclimbing.
By Wesley Stupar
From: Glendora
Jan 2, 2011
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13

My first trad lead after 15 years of not climbing!!! I made a mistake and headed up this thinking it was the Bong and would be an easy rated G climb. I would rate the danger as PG/PG-13 (hurt/broken but not lasting broken or dead). I had 2-3 moments where I mentally had to turn off the fear factor. Pro placements were hard to find and I thought "if I fall, I'm going to get hurt... at least cut up". I calmed myself down mentally and took my time and was always able to find pro, when I really desperately wanted it and the placement spots all had pretty comfortable/easy stances. I had Metolius Master Cams yellow - green and red, yellow and blue Camelots and a set of standard nuts. I used my blue Camelot right at the top and loved it. I downclimbed the chimney near Bussonier - its a little hairy if you're not comfortable with that. I set up a rappel anchor for my partner and several other people literally lined up to use it. I felt good in the chimney - a bit slippery, but able to stay in control - not really bad, but I did have to turn off a mental alarm there too. All in all, I had a really great climb and am very, very happy to be climbing and placing pro again!
By Mary Moser
Sep 19, 2011
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who thought this climb was a sandbag and that the pro was sparse. But then again, it's Joshua Tree and I've come to expect that. Definitely not recommended for a beginner leader.
By kennoyce
From: Layton, UT
Nov 21, 2011
rating: 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a

Just wanted to let everyone know that I climbed this on Saturday, and it is nowhere near 5.7 as was mentioned earlier. I would say that it was a bit harder than 5.2, but certainly not any harder than 5.4. I give it a 5.3 based on that. As far as pro goes, there is a quarter inch button-head just before the "crux" and about 10 feet above that there was a perfect pod for a #3 C4. All the climbing before the bolt was 3rd or 4th class, except for the short 5.2 stemming chimney out of the pod that looked like it had a good protectable crack at the back of it (I didn't look too hard though). As for the anchor, I used a #4, #5 (I generally take these two just for anchors at J-tree), and #2 C4 at the top of the crack. I rapped the route so that others in our group could TR it, so no personall experience with the walkoff, but my friend who did the walk off headed north and said that it was easy fifth class (like 5.0).
By Mike Grainger
From: Waterloo, ON Canada
Dec 19, 2012
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13

I respectfully disagree with the above comment. I am new to leading at Joshua Tree, but lead to 5.7 in other areas and feel that a 5.5 -5.6 rating is in the ballpark for this climb. There is protection available on this climb is you look for it - if you have some small offset cams, bring them along, they will come in handy. Agree with those who note that injury is pretty much a given if you blow the insecure moves on the high crux. I set up a belay anchor with a WC Helium #4 (slightly larger than a Camalot #3) and a couple of smaller cams deep in the crack at the top. Definitely not a route for new leaders who haven't got their "lead head" yet. The down climb may be fun for those who know it, but as visitors we had no confidence in it and chose to invest in some cord and a quick link to set up a rap down to the area below the start of the Bong. All good fun and more climbing than expected, but definitely not for beginners.