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Headstone Rock

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Cryptic S 
Cutting Edge, The S 
Headbanger's Ball T 
Headmaster TR 
Headstone Crack Left T 
Headstone Crack Right T 
South Face Center TR 
SW Corner T 

Headstone Rock Rock Climbing 


Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 33.9836, -116.154 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 11,907
Administrators: C Miller, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Brian Reynolds on Jun 26, 2002
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Headstone & Joshua Trees on a beautiful day. Feb ...

Description 

The original name given this formation by Mark Powell and Bill Feuerer in 1958 was "The Can Opener." Later, early Wolfe guides called it "Balance Rock." Wolfe changed the name again to "Headstone Rock" since there is some evidence that this name was used before climbers named it (a couple of miners are buried nearby).

Whatever you call it, Headstone is one of the true classic locations at JTree, and home to two of the parks most popular moderate routes: SW Corner (5.6 ***) and Cryptic (5.8 ***). Although the SW Corner offers spectacular exposure (due to the positioning of the rock), both routes are well bolted by JTree standards. In addition to these two routes, the South Face Center goes at 5.9, and there are some bolted 5.reallyhard sport climbs on the blank, overhanging north face of the rock as well.

Quickdraws are all you'll need for protection, although a couple of double-length slings will help for setting a belay on the top of the SW Corner.

Rappel descent from bolts and chains on top of the rock.

Like I said, these routes are POPULAR, so get there early in the morning or climb them late in the evening. But they're well worth it!

Getting There 

Park on the east side of the Ryan Campground Loop, next to the bathroom. From there it's an easy 100 yard plus 2 minutes of 3rd class approach (past some kind bouldering, by the way).


Climbing Season



Weather station 11.7 miles from here

8 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',3],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',1],['5.7',0],['5.8',1],['5.9',2],['5.10',1],['5.11',0],['5.12',2],['5.13',1],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Headstone Rock

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Headstone Rock:
SW Corner   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   
Cryptic   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
South Face Center   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     TR, 1 pitch, 40'   
Headmaster   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     TR, 1 pitch, 50'   
The Cutting Edge   5.13+ 8b 30 X- 31 E7 7a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Headstone Rock

Featured Route For Headstone Rock
Rock Climbing Photo: Loving the exposure on the SW Corner

SW Corner 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b  CA : Joshua Tree National Park : ... : Headstone Rock
Awesome setting, great summit, big air underneath you. This is a great climb. It's popular, and there's often a line, but it's still well worth doing. Ss soon as you hit the corner past the second bolt, it's like there's no one else around but you and a hundred feet of air. The crux is negotiating your way over a small bulge above the second bolt -- the holds are there and bomber, though, so fire away!! This is one climb that I intend to come back and do again, many times.For excellent phot...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Headstone Rock Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Rainbows at Headstone
Rainbows at Headstone
Rock Climbing Photo: Rappelling Headstone Rock.
Rappelling Headstone Rock.
Rock Climbing Photo: Classic Headstone shot
Classic Headstone shot
Rock Climbing Photo: Headstone Rock. Photo by Blitzo.
Headstone Rock. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbers on the Southwest Corner and Cryptic.
Climbers on the Southwest Corner and Cryptic.
Rock Climbing Photo: Rainbow at Headstone
Rainbow at Headstone
Rock Climbing Photo: Sunset at Headstone
Sunset at Headstone
Rock Climbing Photo: Don Thompson climbing the once 'Bolt Ladder' on He...
Don Thompson climbing the once 'Bolt Ladder' on He...
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbers on Headstone Rock (((2-29-2004)))
BETA PHOTO: Climbers on Headstone Rock (((2-29-2004)))
Rock Climbing Photo: Anchors for Top Roping Cryptic.
BETA PHOTO: Anchors for Top Roping Cryptic.
Rock Climbing Photo: A bunch of Buds celebrating Headstone
A bunch of Buds celebrating Headstone
Rock Climbing Photo: Bouldering below Headstone Rock, Joshua Tree NP
Bouldering below Headstone Rock, Joshua Tree NP
Rock Climbing Photo: Descending Headstone Rock. Photo by Blitzo.
Descending Headstone Rock. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Celebrating atop Headstone Rock, Joshua Tree.
Celebrating atop Headstone Rock, Joshua Tree.
Rock Climbing Photo: Bolt Ladder on the back of Headstone Rock  in the ...
Bolt Ladder on the back of Headstone Rock in the ...
Rock Climbing Photo: From the top.
From the top.
Rock Climbing Photo: Headstone with Cryptic on the left side
Headstone with Cryptic on the left side
Rock Climbing Photo: Headstone Rappel Anchors (taken May 2011)
BETA PHOTO: Headstone Rappel Anchors (taken May 2011)
Rock Climbing Photo: Leading Headstone Rock's SW Corner! CLASSIC!
Leading Headstone Rock's SW Corner! CLASSIC!
Rock Climbing Photo: Joe De Luca attempting the 2nd ascent of The Cutti...
BETA PHOTO: Joe De Luca attempting the 2nd ascent of The Cutti...
Rock Climbing Photo: Danny taking a break on the Headstone Bolt Ladder ...
Danny taking a break on the Headstone Bolt Ladder ...
Rock Climbing Photo: sunrise ascent
sunrise ascent
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbers on the SW Corner.
Climbers on the SW Corner.
Rock Climbing Photo: south side of Headstone rock
south side of Headstone rock

Show All 33 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Headstone Rock Add Comment
Show which comments
By M.Morley
Administrator
From: Sacramento, CA
Jun 28, 2002
Several fun boulder problems lie en-route to the base of the Headstone formation.
By Randy
Dec 17, 2003
The original name given this formation by Mark Powell and Bill Feuerer in 1958 was "The Can Opener." Later, early Wolfe guides called it "Balance Rock." Wolfe changed the name again to "Headstone Rock" since there is some evidence that this name was used before climbers named it (a couple of miners are buried nearby).
By Blee
Oct 18, 2015
Found a copy of Joshua Tree Rock Climbs by Robert Miramontes at Headstone Rock. Let me know if it's yours.

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