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More J-Tree...best place to avoid the crowds?
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By Nick_M
Feb 15, 2013
Where's your go-to area/s to avoid the zoofest on 3-day weekends like this upcoming one? (climbing, that is, don't care about camping).

My limited knowledge consists of Hidden Valley and Indian Cove, and Lord knows I'll avoid those this trip. We like to climb 5.9 - mid/hard 10's there.

Of course, don't divulge your quiet local gems that I'm sure abound; just thought I'd ask for some general pointers to mainstream but less-visited crags. My usual game plan is to shoot for zones with long approaches and a lack of easier routes, but any advice would be appreciated.

See you out there!

By TomCaldwell
From Clemson, S.C.
Feb 15, 2013
Me on One Pitch Wonder at Whitesides.  Photo credi...
Outer Mongolia's Dos Chi Chis is seldom visited due to the long approach. The two faces have several 9's and 10's. On the way out or the way back there is also the Women in Peril Rock, which is fairly easy to find. Reggie Dome is on the way back as well, but close to the parking lot.

By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From Bend, OR
Feb 15, 2013
Racked and loaded... name that splitter behind me?...
The new book has changed the flow some... but here are some fun routes/areas that don't seem to get alot of traffic. The first three are all modern Bob Gaines routes and really fun.

  • Harley Queen on Saddle Rocks (10+, bolted, sun)
  • Wherever I May Roam on Saddle Rocks (10+, bolted, sun, awesome!)
  • Physical Graffiti (11-, back behind Snickers, sun).

A nice place to visit..

  • Light Sabre area... (5.9 to 5.10+ cracks), lots of sun, can be hit-or-miss with the crowds

You could combine the climbs below into a good 2/3 day and probably not have to deal with anyone..

  • Left/Right Banana Cracks (5.10 to 5.11 trad) - for whatever reason people seem to miss these. Afternoon sun.
  • Blackjack (11-, sport). Near Banana cracks. Really quality sport climbing. Safe. Nobody does it! Afternoon shade.
  • Jam or Slam (10c, trad, sunny)
  • A Women's Work is Never Done (10b/c, short, sunny, but fun)

In real hidden valley, people seem to miss these

  • Broken Glass (10b, trad, shady)
  • Martin Quits (10c, trad, short but fierce)
  • P1 of Ball Bearing (10a, trad, shady)

Also Hidden Dome is about an hour hike, and awesome, but very shady thus could be cold now. Great cracks there...

By Dow Williams
From Saint George, UT
Feb 15, 2013
Dow Williams, 2011
My favorite moderate winter crack climbs (only thing I climb there)that avoid the folks...

Dangling Wo Li Master, 5.10a (and its sister routes)
Comic Book, 5.10a (combined with Cerro Torre climbs)
Ace of Spades/Popular Mechanics, 5.9, not much sun in Feb, but warm enough
Firewater Chimney, 5.10b and Valley of the Kings in general
Jungle Cruise, 5.10b
Peter Eater Pumpkin Eater, 5.10c
Micronesia, 5.10d
Room to Shroom, 5.9
Bird on Fire, 5.10a

Good Luck

By plantmandan
From Brighton, Co
Feb 15, 2013
J Tree after blizzard
The area around Astro Dome is beautiful. Lots of great climbs, few people, and better protection from the wind. The approach is scenic and pleasant.

The previously mentioned Outer Mongolia is a great suggestion as well.

By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Feb 15, 2013
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Ka...
Nick. I like "Rock Garden Valley" ... just enuf of a uphill to keep the population down.

Hound Rocks is overlooked, for some reason, Walk??? not to bad

Left and right Mel cracks.

I think the key is to use your feet and seperate yourself from the masses.

By jon Kates
From Palm Springs
Feb 18, 2013
Great Burrito / hidden valley

By C Miller
Feb 18, 2013
Sugar Pine (Pinus lambertiana), Black Mountain
Walk about 10-15 minutes from the car and try to avoid the more popular areas (i.e. Hidden Valley CG, Real Hidden Valley, Bighorn Mating Grotto, Lenticular Dome, Astro Domes, Outer Mongolia etc.) and the heavily starred routes; often the lesser starred routes are quite enjoyable and some of that enjoyment comes from not having queues of people all around. Another thing to consider is that probably 75% of the climbing traffic is in the western half of the Park so places like OZ, Belle CG, Stirrup Tank, Loveland and the like are obvious choices to avoid the crowds. Another option is to climb out-of-season at places like Tahquitz and have the place to yourself.

By Nick_M
Feb 19, 2013
Thanks everybody, much appreciated! Just returned and had a great time; used some of your advice for sure. There's just so much damn rock out there and I can't wait to keep exploring.

Outer Mongolia and Hidden Dome we're awesome, the Astro Domes area was unreal, and Rock Garden Valley + surrounding area was sweet too. Barely met anyone for three days.


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