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Conrad Rock - Heart of Darkness Corridor
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Body Stem TR 
Heart of Darkness T 
Jungle (aka Apocalypse Now), The T 

Heart of Darkness 

YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b

   
Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 40'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Rick Cashner and Dale Bard, 1979
Page Views: 9,443
Submitted By: C Miller on Jan 1, 2005

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (93)
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Bryan Ferris on Heart of Darkness. Photo Joseph La...

Description 

A striking splitter on perfect, varnished rock that runs from fingers through small hands (this route favors those with smaller hands). The unique location and high quality rock make this a three (out of five) star route; were it longer this would garner more stars.


Protection 

pro to 2", bolted anchor/rap



Photos of Heart of Darkness Slideshow Add Photo
Into the light on Heart of Darkness (5.10d), Joshua Tree NP
Into the light on Heart of Darkness (5.10d), Joshu...
Michael Levato on Heart of Darkness. Photo Joseph Lascurain
Michael Levato on Heart of Darkness. Photo Joseph ...
Galo Basualdo on Heart of Darkness. Photo Joseph Lascurain
Galo Basualdo on Heart of Darkness. Photo Joseph L...
Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness
Josh Higgins onsights Heart of Darkness (5.11a), Saddle Rocks area.
Josh Higgins onsights Heart of Darkness (5.11a), S...
Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness
Mike on Heart of Darkness. Photo - Joseph Lascurain
Mike on Heart of Darkness. Photo - Joseph Lascurai...
The beautiful "heart of darkness"
The beautiful "heart of darkness"
little taste of the creek....
little taste of the creek....
John Dubrawski on Heart of Darkness 11a
John Dubrawski on Heart of Darkness 11a
Stevie Strong, yo.
Stevie Strong, yo.
Heart of Darkness 11a
Heart of Darkness 11a
Kelvin is all smile after a short but sweet jam session
Kelvin is all smile after a short but sweet jam se...
Kevin on Heart of Darkness
Kevin on Heart of Darkness
clipping the chains
clipping the chains
Comments on Heart of Darkness Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 1, 2014
By Randy
Apr 9, 2003
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

Only 3 out of 5 stars (despite the excellent quality of crack and rock) because it is just too short. 5.11a is about right, the crux is only about a body length long.

By Ben Craft
Apr 9, 2003
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

The route is short, but I think it still deserves 3(5) stars because this type of crack is so rare at jtree.

By David Evans
Apr 11, 2003

As is usually the case, a crack's difficulty is determined by hand size. You've all heard it (I hope!), " big hands, big weenie."

By David Evans
Apr 11, 2003

This route is at least as hard as The Valleys 5.11-'s that I have done.

By kentoncard
Apr 24, 2005

So what is the deal with the large chains, cant you get set up anchor and walk off?

By C Miller
Administrator
Apr 25, 2005

The anchor is there because no easy way exists off the formation; a simul-rap is possible but would be very harsh on your rope.

By kentoncard
Apr 25, 2005

Thanks for clearing that one up CM.

By jim thornburg
Dec 9, 2005

I cleaned the bottom 10 feet of this crack in 1989 thinking I was making the first ascent (the crack was packed with a chossy softer rock) and gave it the name "Heart of Darkness" and placed the lower-off bolts at the top. I'm NOT calling BS by any means, just wondering if there was a mistake.

By Randy
Dec 9, 2005
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

Jim: If there is a mistake, it would be that Dale and Rick climbed some other crack in the same area. But this seems to be the only crack that fits the discription and rating. In the ensuing years I haven't heard of another thin hands 5.11 crack in the area. If nothing else, your name seems to have stuck and was the reason why I named the formation Conrad Rock.

By Randy
Dec 12, 2005
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

Chris (Jim) these are all good questions. Since both Dale and Rick are around, I will try to talk to both of them about this.

However, Dale never claimed the FA of Brain Death (just first lead). Also Brain Death is in the Comic Book, a couple miles from Conrad Rock. Brain Death is solid 12a (not 11c). Spencer Lennard did the first TR of Brain Death in 1978. FA of Heart of Darkness was "claimed" by Cashner and Bard in 79.

For a long time people called Heart of Darkness 11b or c (Bartlett calls it 11b) which is more in line with the 11c rating (though concensus is now 11a).

Something that could be sorted out with a few phone calls perhaps.

By Randy
Dec 12, 2005
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

Chris, not to belabor the point (I think we basically agree), but the 1986 guide should not be taken as the gospel on the FA info (some of the info was often third hand). The 1992 guide tried more to get info right (wasn't super successful with that, though).

I suspect I changed the TR vs. Lead because someone corrected the info. Anyway, will investigate.

By Will S
From: Joshua Tree
Oct 28, 2007

Next time you're out there, after doing HOD try the "Closet Rod" chimney. Put your feet on the back wall and your hands on the HOD side and do a full body span of the corridor to the top.

By Adam Kimmerly
Oct 31, 2007
rating: 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

A fun little route! I'd even lean toward 5.10d for skinny little hands like mine. Most definitely hand size dependent.

By Mike
From: Phoenix
Nov 14, 2007
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

I don't care how short it is, this is a great route! Both guidebooks I have say 5.11c, but 5.11a is really more accurate. This climb is easier if you have smaller hands, but even with bigger hands like mine it wasn't near 5.11c. A rare J-Tree featherbag maybe???

By Adam Stackhouse
Administrator
Nov 14, 2007

Mike, no doubt this rating (11a) will be adapted in upcoming editions of Joshua Tree guidebooks.

By armando fimbrez
From: rancho cucamonga
Feb 27, 2008

Did this route one cold and windy day.My friend Jack led it first then had to retreat due to numb very cold hands. So I gave a go. Got to were it starts overhanging and then my fingers got numb. So I had to take, put on my gloves warmed up and then sent it right after. (Without the gloves of course). Returned a few month later and fell towards the top. Awesome climb beautiful rock. Wish it was longer.

By Bowie
From: Portland, OR
Dec 7, 2008
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

If you have small hands like I do (even .75's are still tight hands for me), this is more like a 5.9+/10a. I had a blast on this today. At the top don't plug up the #1 pods with gear, use them for your hands and feet. I placed a #1 from the good stance below the crux, then placed a .75, bumped the .75 up, and then placed a #2 before clipping the chains and topping out. Super fun. Just wish it were longer!

By Pat C
From: Honolulu
Apr 21, 2009

How do you do those jams?? Too small for hands, too big for fingers. I was stacking my fingers up and sliding my hand in far and twisting and all this stuff. I made it, but I hung with every piece of protection (I put a lot of pro in).

By Nick Barczak
Oct 11, 2009

I'll go with 5.10d on this one. For reference, I think it feels a touch easier than, say, Jaws (.11a) at Mt. Woodson. However, handsize can be a factor on this crack. Given that this climb never receives sun, its perfect for those unpleasantly warm days.

By ChugachMan
Oct 26, 2009
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

Funny, for my hand size I say Mt. Woodson's Jaws is easier... still, 11a seemed about right for me. Fun climb - wish JTree had more and longer splitters like this!

By ccmski
From: Prescott, AZ
Nov 7, 2009
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

One bolt on the anchor needs replacing. Gear for me was yellow alien, then 3 x BD .75. No need for bigger gear since you would be placing it in the good pods anyway

By Nick Sullens
From: Yosemite/ Bend
May 31, 2010
rating: 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

In my opinion, the crux jamming on Heart of Darkness was about the same difficulty as the thin jamming section of Lunatic Fringe and I have bigger hands.

By Frost
Dec 14, 2010
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

Don't have particularly small hands and still found it to be 5.10+. You can climb the whole upper section on hand jams (used perhaps one ring lock - thin hand jam).

By D-Storm
Apr 1, 2014
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

It kind of adds another little crux keeping it more solid at 11a if you mantel out at the top. I suspect many people clip the chains while hanging from the flake at the lip. Fair enough, it's technically still a send, but you're missing out on the final crux and punting on J-Tree style if you don't top out. There's something really satisfying when you find yourself suddenly out of the darkness, basking in the glow of a desert sunset.