Saddle Rocks at sunset.
Photo by Blitzo.
Saddle Rocks, which rise out of the west flank of Ryan Mountain, is probably the largest single formation in the park, and it dominates the view from virtually anywhere in the Lost Horse Valley. It's also home to some of the longest climbs in the park. Due to the complex nature of the area it has been broken into three parts - Saddle Rocks - Skirt
the lower slabby portion, Saddle Rocks - Pommel
the middle portion and Saddle Rocks - Cantle
the uppermost portion.
Probably the most notable climb here is the classic Walk on the Wild Side
, a three-pitch 5.7+ that ascends the west face of the formation. Right On
(3 pitches, 5.5) is also very worthwhile, as are a number of other climbs, ranging from 5.8 on the low end, to far far harder than most of us will ever climb on the high end.
Most routes offer a rap descent, and in some cases a second rope may come in handy.
Park on the side of the main park road, between Ryan Campground and Sheep Pass. The parking spot is almost due west of the formation -- you should be looking at it head on. Follow marked Access Fund trails for several hundred yards to the base of Walk on the Wild Side. Traverse to either side of the formation for climbs on the north and south faces.
Parking is also available to the north, near the Ryan Mountain trailhead, but the approach is significantly longer and, due to the topography of the gullies that come off of Ryan Mountain, it is also significantly harder.
45 Total Routes
['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',10],['2 Stars',14],['1 Star',18],['Bomb',1]
Browse More Classics in Saddle Rocks
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Saddle Rocks:
Featured Route For Saddle Rocks
Space Mountain 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b CA
: Joshua Tree National Park
: ... : Saddle Rocks - Skirt (North...
One prominent feature on this part of Saddle Rocks is a large left-facing corner system (The Unicorner). Start up that climb for 20' then traverse right on a fairly awkward ledge passing a bolt until you reach a spot you can stand up. From here the climbs goes more or less straight up past 7 more bolts on steep, exposed and sometimes a little loose patina plates. There is a slight runout near the top but the climbing is much easier.Rap off the top with 2 ropes although if careful it can be done ...[more] Browse More Classics in CA
Local Information for Saddle Rocks
Latest Regional Forum Messages
BETA PHOTO: Saddle Rocks Area, Joshua Tree NP
BETA PHOTO: Saddle Rocks from the road near Hall of Horrors. T...
BETA PHOTO: Saddle Rocks showing the lesser visited south side...
Saddle Rocks before sunset, Joshua Tree NP
Saddle Rocks from near Target Rock.
Photo by Blitz...
Ryan Mountain and Saddle Rocks after a storm, Josh...
Saddle Rocks from Ryan Mountain Trail.
Photo by Bl...
Saddle Rocks from the Key's View Road, Joshua Tree...
View from the parking lot of Saddle Rocks.
The approach to Saddle Rocks, February 1986.
By Bryan G
From: San Jose
Feb 17, 2010
Anyone know what the routes are between Harlequin and Walk on the Wild Side? There's one that starts just down and right of the direct start "pillar" of Harlequin. It climbs past many bolts and passes the roof to the left to join Harlequin at the top of it's 2nd pitch. Feels 5.10- but I'm sort of terrible at rating slab.
Another route starts just right of that, passing the right corner of the roof to reach a 2-bolt anchor, just a few feet right of Harlequin's 2nd belay. From here, a second pitch leads up and right past 3 bolts and then wanders back left to be linked with the final pitch of Harlequin. Feels 5.8/5.9
I think I saw another bolt line to the right of that one, but I may have just been looking at Walk on the Wild Side since that first pitch wanders so far out left at the start.
Thanks to whoever put these routes up, they are enjoyable, long, and well-protected.
By C Miller
Feb 17, 2010
Sounds like the "Cole-Anderson" & "Dial 911". They're both in the Central JT (green cover) Bartlett guide. Both routes were done by Charles Cole and are some of the last routes he did in JT.