This route sometimes has a bolt anchor on top, sometimes not. I climbed it one day when the bolt anchor was in that little bowl on top under a small overhang, and the next day I soloed it and the bolts were already gone! What's the point of this story you ask? Just this: don't waste your time and money putting in a bolt anchor, some zealot will no doubt chop it within 24 hours.
By C Miller Administrator Feb 26, 2004 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
Aka - Snake Dike and Death Dike. Decent climbing up an obvious feature, but very short and not especially memorable.
Good story on this one. My friend, Chuck, went to lead it thinking it was 5.7. It was probably his third lead, and we were looking for something easy make him feel good about his leading ability. As Chuck gets to the crux, some guy walks by and starts talking to us about the grade change (5.9 at that time). Not wanting to freak out Chuck, we quiet the guy and watch Chuck battle the crux. He must have tried it about ten times before he committed and took a nice little whipper. Chuck was pissed until we told him the route was much harder
Funny, I've seen a lot of photos of this thing and had many friends describe it as a must do. But a lot of you locals only give it 1 star. I thought it was a thought provoker up an interesting feature. Two stars.
I led this years ago before the bolts; and for the life of me, I can't figure out how I protected it. I did it again today, and decided I must have been nuts. Anyway, it's no more than nine plus as far as I'm concerned. It's an invigorating lead though. Good fun.
Woody: Are you saying you did the route before 1973? If so, had it been done (to your knowledge) before you led it? Certainly, if you did lead it without the bolts (pre:1973) it was the FA or at least FKFA.
Do you recall when exactly you did it and who else climbed it with you? Since my current publisher has sidelined the guide until November/December, it would be nice to correct any FA info.
I led it in the early to mid seventies before the bolts were set. It was called Death Dike in those days so I couldn't have done the FA. That climb would have been with Dick Webster and /or Bill Briggs.
I did this route again today to confirm a suspicion about the rating. Last year I used a different combination of foot moves that I'd not tried before and was surprised at the result. The original rating--way back--was 5.7 then raised to 5.8 and is now 10a/b. Well, it was 5.7/5.8 today. Here's the secret: stay on the rib all the way. You start with the left foot on a reasonable sloper, then proceed on good holds right, left, right and grab the horn. While doing this, lean back a bit using the right edge of the dike all the way to the horn. Surprised the hell out of me. To me, it appears, the original party rated it correctly. I've done this twice now, and I'm certain I'm correct. Others should give it a try and see for themselves.
By Paul Rezucha From: Alameda Jun 8, 2006 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
A fun route to do at the end of the day right out of the Hidden Valley Campground. Easy climbing leads to the second bolt which is where the crux begins. It is not obvious what to do here but the foot and hand sequence is fun to figure out. If you get it right the first time it may not seem that hard. But if you try different sequences and have to down climb to the stance a few times, it could get a little tiring. I generously give this ** just for the interesting dike characteristic!
By susan peplow From: Joshua Tree Feb 25, 2007 rating: 5.9+5c17VI17E1 5a
Fun route with pseudo crux (if you can call it that) getting past the second bolt. Took only a moment to figure out the move. Casual climbing to the top. Bring some medium size cams for the anchor.
You can walk off by heading directly to your right towards Cyclops Rock. Down what looks to be a grim slab to a crack that heads back towards the front of the route. Looking right, head for the tree and down-climb there. I've done a lot of J-Tree walk-offs and this one is a lot better than most. Providing you know where you're headed.
As for the rating. I agree with Woody and go with a 9+ as the crux is maybe one move, the route is short and if you compare it to other routes in the area it doesn't support the 10b rating. IMO
I too think that even 5.10a might be a stretch on this one. The move is really easy if you set up the foot sequence right. I used little edges on the right side of the dike and liebacked right off a good sidepull to reach the better holds above. No harder than 5.9.
Though short, and really a one-move-wonder (like so many in JTree) this is still a very fun route up a cool feature. 2 stars out of 5 from me.
By Wolfgang Braun From: Beavercreek, Oregon Oct 15, 2008 rating: 5.10b6a+19VII-19E2 5b
This is a very fun route. i seem to remember scrambling off it on some slabs to the right. Then stepping down next to a tree in a crack.
I did this right after SW Corner and Cryptic, and I thought it was easier than both of these. I thought there would be a crux, but I didn't even find a move harder than 5.8. The crux was making an anchor to belay the second. Fun route, but disappointing.
By tallmark515 From: San Francisco Apr 8, 2009 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
One or two 5.10- moves on the dike, but once you hit the sequence from the great stance then it feels like a cakewalk. There are definitely harder .10b's in the park.
By C Miller Administrator Jun 8, 2009 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
Goddamn! The comments are almost literally getting longer than the climb.
By Floridaputz From: Oakland Park, Florida Oct 15, 2011
I lead this before I had sticky rubber shoes in 81'. At the time I was told it was rated 5.8. I was stumped until I laid it back and boom, I had it. I've always heard since then that certain holds are gone so it's much harder now. It's seems that there is a split opinion on this. In the Pic I posted, compared to the others, there seems to be a good bit more patina on the dike back then.