Climbing Joshua Tree National Park
Find Hidden Valley Campground. This is where the history of rock climbing in Joshua Tree began. Stepping onto a fine route here can be as easy as rolling from your sleeping bag, jumping over the campfire ring, walking five feet, and sinking your hands into the golden monzonite. All types of people roam this region, from weekend warriors escaping the L.A. area to seasoned rockhounds seeking the warm and lovely granite faces for weeks and months at a time. Climbs here do see some traffic, but even on the most crowded days there are plenty of open routes to satiate. The routes adjacent to the campground seem to have a curious mystique about them. Some people claim to have epics on these easily accessible and highly visible lines, but there is no need to let reputations taint these striking routes.
If visiting the area for the day, the best place to park is on the south side of Quail Springs Road at the Intersection Rock parking space. Directly across the road from this space is the Old Woman formation, a perfect place to begin a day of cragging. Rack up for the Toe Jam, an ultra-classic 5.7 on the Old Woman's east face. The route climbs bulbous flakes up to a brilliant splitter-crack crux. Next, step around to the west face and prepare for Double Cross. This 5.7+ hand crack ascends steep rock through an overlap to top out on a spacious belay ledge. Now you are ready for the Dogleg. Left of the Double Cross, this arching crack system bends right and through a 5.8 crux. Cool stemming and jamming will take you to the anchors. (Vogel p.188-189) People driving the Quail Springs road may stop to spectate. Don't let their gazes confound you.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication