Tahquitz

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Wayne on the Open Book
Gary on the Vampire

This article still needs to be expanded. See the template at Joshua Tree

Until we get good content here, it is worth pointing out that this is a MAJOR climbing area in SoCal, located in the San Jacinto Mountains. Mainly trad climbing. It's very, very close to Suicide Rocks which has some sport (but it's "sporty" sport). Most routes are multipitch.

Getting there

Drive to Idyllwild, which takes just under 2 hours from Pasadena (83 miles). From there, head East through town to Humber Park. You need a Forest Service Adventure Pass to avoid the $5 tickets. On weekends, the parking lot can be a bit crowded.

More info on the approach can be found at the MountainProject.com link below, or at summitpost.org's Tahquitz page.

Recommended Routes

  • Green Arch, 5.11hard. Somewhat hard chimneying, then a crux move to pull an overhang and get established on the face, a classic. Lots of pitons protect the dihedral, though their robustness is unclear. Unlikely that any Caltechers have led this in the past decade, though Greg Huey and Jordan Ramey have TRed it, and it was reported to be "a most excellent 11c".
  • The Vampire, 5.11. Ultra classic, and much more reasonable than the green arch. Starts with stiff 5.9+ crack, then two pitches with 5.11 face cruxes, then one or two more easier pitches.
  • Super Pooper, 5.10b. Easy approach pitch, then crux pitch (10b mantle, then some 10a hand crack above), then 5.8 finger crack, then 5.7 steepness.
  • Whodunit, 5.9. Fairly easy for a Tahquitz 5.9. Pro at the P1 crux may be tricky. Take a #4 camalot for the top of the chimney.
  • The Consolation, 5.9. Crux is slightly technical hand-jamming in a dihedral.
  • Open Book, 5.9. Wide crack, so take some #4 camalots (and larger ones, if you have them). Very classic.
  • Coffin Nail, 5.8. Classic hand crack.
  • Fingertrip, 5.7. First three pitches all have something to offer, whether fun lie-backs or solid finger/hand cracks. Finish the climb with an optional 5.6 finger crack (fun) or 5.5 slab (scary).
Sunset at Tahquitz

Friction route descent

Most routes top-out on top of the rock. There are two common descents, one to the North and one to the South. This latter descent is arguably a bit more popular, and is also know as the Friction Route Descent. Which descent you choose is generally determined by what climb you go up, since you'll want to get to the base of your climb if you left a backpack. Traversing the base of the crag is time-consuming (probably over 30 minutes).

From the Gaines and Vogel book, here's a description of the downclimb.

"The Friction Route Descent is a class-4 downclimb on the southern side of Tahquitz Rock. It is the most commonly used means of descent off Tahquitz Rock. More than a few climbers have inadvertently strayed while descending, sometimes with catastrophic results. Please descend carefully, or, if possible, follow other climbers familiar with the descent your first time down it.
"From the summit area of Tahquitz Rock, head down and west (right) to where a large boulder on the brink of the South Face cliff will be seen. From the top of the West Face and South Face climbs, head up low-angle slabs (east) along the ridgetop of the rock, near the edge of the South Face. A very large boulder will be seen ahead. If you get near the larger summit blocks of Tahquitz, you have gone too far.
"Shimmy down the far (northeast) side of this large boulder for about 30 feet to a ledge/ramp. Move right for about 50 feet down the ledge/ramp, then work diagonally left across ledges, then slabs that lead to the base of the cliff. Hike down along the South Face."

One Pitch Routes

Many people come to Tahquitz for the long, multi-pitch routes, but sometimes (maybe at the end of the day) you really want a single-pitch route. Below are some routes that are either a single pitch, or the first pitch of a long route. In either case, these routes either end at a bolted anchor (or tree) or a walk-off-ledge. The "star" rating is taken from Vogel and Gaines' guidebook. In the guidebook, most routes have no stars, and 1 stars means recommended, and 2 and 3 stars mean even better.

The distance from anchors to the ground is estimated; a 100' distance usually means that a single 60m rope will work, whereas a 150' or 200' rappel requires 2 ropes.

  • Pitch 1 of either The Long Climb or The Wong Climb, both 5.8, 2 stars. Bolted belay, 150' rappel.
  • Standup Flake (5.9, 1 star), Lower Bulge Buttress, 100' anchors.
  • Dave's Deviation (5.9, 2 stars), 100' anchors. The "R" rating in the guidebook is for later pitches. You can top-rope harder variations from the anchors.
  • Poker Face (5.12, but there's a 5.8 variation), 180' anchors. You can top-rope Scar Face (10d, 2 stars) and Devil's Delight (10b R 1 star).
  • Pitch 1 of Human Fright (the whole climb is 10a, but first pitch is probably 5.9+). 80' rappel. You can top-rope "Fright Night" (12a, 2 stars)
  • Fred, 5.11a 3 stars. 100' rappel. Mixed sport/trad (there are 3 bolts). Scary lead! Can get to anchors from 2nd anchors on Human Fright.
  • Flintstone Slab area, West face, has many 1-pitch routes.
  • Betty, 5.9+, 1 star.
  • 1st pitch of either The Chauvinist (5.8, 2 stars) or Left Ski Track (5.6 3 stars) to a shared bolted anchor. 105' rappel (a single 60m rope will make it for the rappel just barely, and requires rope stretch).
  • Angel's Fright, the first 5.6 chimney pitch. There is a nice tree you can rap off from before beginning the 2nd 5.4 pitch.
  • Fingertrip (5.7, three stars). Bring 70 m rope. The first pitch is a fun rather stiff 5.7, rappel off pine-tree or bolts to your left.

Guidebook

See Also