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Houser Buttress
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Hidden Arch 

YDS: 5.11d French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 25 British: E5 6a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 80'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11d French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 25 British: E5 6a [details]
FA: Herb Laeger and Rich Smith, May 1977; FFA: Mike Lechlinski, Lynn Hill and John Long, November 1979
Page Views: 4,330
Submitted By: C Miller on Jan 1, 2005

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (12)
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Randy Leavitt, 1981 or so


From the Real Hidden Valley parking area approach as per Loose Lady via the marked climber's trail. The climb is not visible for most of the approach as it is west-facing. Once up at the base of Houser Buttress the climb will be obvious as a left-facing arching crack/corner system down and left from Loose Lady. A bit of easy scrambling leads down to the base.

Face climbing past two bolts (5.10) leads to the base of the arch where a fixed pin will be found (small cam placement too). From here insecure chimney/stem moves lead up the flared corner until it widens higher and starts to curve left finally opening up to accept jams. At the crux it is possible to exit the corner and climb the outside face of the arch to bypass some moves-the disadvantage is if you fall you will slam back into the corner. Belay at top from bolted anchor. Rap or downclimb off to the west.

A real gem that is one of the many classic Josh routes involving some sort of funkness. Rarely done, perhaps because of it's "hidden" location, but well worth seeking out. A must-do for the grade and four stars out of five.


2 bolts (3/8"), fixed pin, gear to 3.5" including wires. Small tcus/aliens work especially well. Bolted anchor/rap (3/8").

Photos of Hidden Arch Slideshow Add Photo
Hidden Arch (5.11d), Joshua Tree NP
BETA PHOTO: Hidden Arch (5.11d), Joshua Tree NP
Luke starts up Hidden Arch.
Luke starts up Hidden Arch.
Jamie makes quick work of the crux crimps on Hidde...
Jamie makes quick work of the crux crimps on Hidde...
Nick pulls the crux of Hidden Arch
Nick pulls the crux of Hidden Arch
Hey look, I found a kneebar! Photo by sonja.
Hey look, I found a kneebar! Photo by sonja.
The crux of Hidden Arch
The crux of Hidden Arch
The Face moves getting into the Hidden Arch Photo ...
The Face moves getting into the Hidden Arch Photo ...
Hidden Arch
Hidden Arch

Comments on Hidden Arch Add Comment
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By Randy
Jan 10, 2003

A total classic. The pro is good too, though it can be strenuous to place. Not really any chimney moves, but plenty of technical stemming and funky hand palms, etc. Rack from tiny nuts to 2-3 inch cams. Don't be disuaded from doing this route. Morning shade, afternoon sun.
By Brian Treanor
Jan 24, 2006

A true JTree classic. 5 stars on a scale of 1 to 4. The actual crux (for me) seemed short, but the whole bottom half of the climb keeps your attention. I climbed out of the arch near the bottom and the crux felt like pulling back in (and, as the route description notes, you are looking at an awkward, though not too dangerous, fall at that point). I seem to remember having a bit of a problem sinking a nut or cam at the beginning of the arch, but it has been years since I climbed this route and it was certainly my onsight limit at the time, so I was working pretty hard...
By reboot
From: Westminster, CO
Jan 3, 2007

This was my first time at JTree and I didn't get to climb many routes. But compared to some of the Eldorado classics, I'd say this is the best single pitch gear route I've ever climbed/tried. What a way to spend new year's day!

The hard part of the route can be protected well with small stoppers, though small (size 0) C3 or TCU equivalent will make placement much less strenuous (and apparently still too much for me.) I brought a #2 camalot for the wider part above the crux section, but the climb is easier at this section and can be replaced by a #1 camalot about a foot higher. There is a bolt anchor on the right face where the huge detached choke stone makes a tunnel with the dihedral.

From my limited experience, the route felt true to the rating. But falls from the crux are clean, so definitely give it a try.
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