The Sentinel is the largest, tallest and most impressive formation in the Real Hidden Valley, although it is outdone for title of highest cliff, that honor being taken by the Tumbing Rainbow Formation.
One of the few rocks in Joshua Tree that lends itself to multi-pitch routes, it has a good selection of routes from intermediate to advanced. There are also some bolted routes for the hardman who doesn't mind supplementing fixed gear with some additional pro. The rock is generally solid and clean, with very few exceptions. This large, triangular fin of rock faces primarily east by northeast and west by southwest - as a result, there is almost always something to choose in the shade or sun, whichever suits the season and/or weather. The north and south facing aspects are narrow ridges that provide an scambling descent from most of the routes, or access to a rap station.
There are some classic lines on this rock, but the majority of the better lines are intermediate to advanced in difficulty. By reputation, Fote Hog (5.6) is the wall's best easy line. If you can climb a little harder, there are better routes to start your tour with - the under-appreciated Western Saga (5.9), the thought-provoking Ball Bearing, (5.10a) and a must-do super classic Illusion Dweller (5.10b). Still harder classics include Desert Song (5.11b) a bold line across the lip of a huge roof and Where Eagles Dare (5.11d) a bouldery thin crack start with a challenging face finish.
Hardman routes such as The Chameleon (5.12b), The Tarantula (5.12c), Some Like It Hot (5.12c) and The Scorpion (5.13b) are reputed to be great, although seldom see traffic.
Enter the Real Hidden Valley from the south, past Gateway Rock. Once inside the valley proper make a left (heading mostly north) until you reach a point on the trail near the center of the base of the Sentinel's East Face. To access the west face continue on the trail until you pass the Sentinel formation by perhaps 50 feet to the north before turning left (west) and walking about 30 feet to a trail that turns left (south) again and doubles back along the west face. The Hidden Cliff lies across from the right end of the west face.
This route is a neglected gem. The line is a straight up shallow crack/trough/groove system with cryptic movement in the first half followed by straightforward but not necessarily easy offwidth and squeeze in the top half. The wide stuff up top thankfully features a handcrack in the back for a good bit of it. The crux is probably the entire first 30' of puzzling moves ending with a lieback on tenuous feet to gain a thank god horn/fin on the edge of the crack. Be extremely careful with the see-t...[more]Browse More Classics in CA