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Evening top roping in Joshua Tree during the summer?
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By Ben Gordon
From La Canada, CA
Jun 20, 2012

Hey Everyone!

Here is my dilemna: I want to get stronger at crack climbing but I am not a terribly strong crack climber or trad leader.

I have a place in Palm Springs and was wondering about the feasibility of hitting Joshua Tree in the evenings some weekends during the summer to set up a TR on some routes that would help me get my desert crack climbing down.

My questions are:

1) If I got to Joshua Tree around 430, set up TR and then climbed like 530-7 would it be cool enough to enjoy? Or should I just wait until later in the year when it starts to cool down?

2) What are some good walls I could set up a TR on weekend evenings without annoying the community? I am thinking good walk offs where I can safely rig a bomber anchor set up. I climb 5.11 indoor and 5.10a/b for sport. So stuff in the 5.9-5.10 range would be perfect.

Thanks for the help!


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Jun 20, 2012

You won't have to worry too much about annoying people during the summer, the place is pretty empty (of climbers) from May-Sept.

I've done what you're after, all summer in the past. It is bearable, but way less than ideal. Why not just hit Suicide in the morning instead?

Not going to point you (and everyone else who'd read this)toward my own choices, for obvious reasons, but there is plenty available. Just spent some quality time with your guidebook (one like the Miramontes or even the Winger book, they have sun/shade info). Thin Wall is an obvious choice...east facing, close to the car, bolted anchors, easy to walk to the top. Mel's Diner (the Mel Cracks) is another, faces basically east, easy scramble up the chimney to the left, one anchor has bolts one takes gear... green camalot to gold IIRC. Conan's Corridor is another obvious choice.

Most stuff at Josh tends to face mostly east or west, so finding shade isn't too bad. There is also usually a decent breeze late in the day. Buttcrack of dawn is better than afternoons if you can find suitable west-facing routes, it's cooler. You can hit something like Lizards Landing at first light and tick the entire crag in about an hour.


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By x15x15
Jun 20, 2012

i have to second what Will S said, why not hit up suicide or tahquitz. suicide is best in the later afternoon hours, while tahquitz is great in the early morning hours.

but, to answer your question, jt is fine for what your after. i've spent many summer afternoons there once the students went home. bring two ropes, top rope Hemmingway Buttress and git her wired.


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By Ben Gordon
From La Canada, CA
Jun 20, 2012

Thanks for the input guys! I wasnt aware either Tahquitz or Suicide had much good for top roping cracks, which is why it wasnt really on my radar.


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By Gregory D
From La Verne
Jun 20, 2012
fun in the (twilight) sun

If it is going to be an afternoon thing, time might be a factor. In that case, I would add that the walk up to suicide is a bit longer than some of the crags in JT.


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By Ben Gordon
From La Canada, CA
Jun 20, 2012

Gregory D wrote:
If it is going to be an afternoon thing, time might be a factor. In that case, I would add that the walk up to suicide is a bit longer than some of the crags in JT.


Super true. That approach is killer.


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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Jun 26, 2012
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.

You are correct about Taquitiz and Suicide.... not really any TOP ROPE possibilities mostly because of all the flack you would get when you drop cord down the Flower....

Josh would be better, no climbers around in Summer to bust your chops.

Just be on the lookout for rattlers.... they own the place.


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By alleyehave
From San Diego, CA
Jun 30, 2012
Start of Pitch 3

Just work some hot laps on the first pitch of Open Book, you'll be fine...


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By Michael Truax
From the desert
Jul 3, 2012
Classic Thin Crack, Joshua Tree

The east face of Hemingway Buttress, Dairy Queen Wall, and Rock Garden Valley all have shade in the afternoon and have cracks that fit the bill. 25 ft of static line and a small assortment of cams for the TR setup (some of the routes have bolted anchors as well), and you would be set til the sun goes down.


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By toddgordon
From Joshua Tree, California
Jul 4, 2012

99% of the climbs at Joshua tree can be top roped. Climbing is the AM is fun, but you have to get up early and things just get hotter and hotter, so things end up cookin'.....In the evenings it starts out hot (about 5 PM) and just gets better and better, and ends on a good note...there is often a breeze in the evenings as well...If you are driving from Palm Springs, climbing in the AM would require you to get up mega-early for you would have over an hour extra for the drive, depending on where you wish to climb. We climb a couple evenings a week in the Park;...it is more or less a ghost town. Call up or contact me if you have a certain day you are here;...maybe we can meet up to climb.


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