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Crux of Illusion Dweller
Located on the far right side of the west face of The Sentinel is this classic right-slanting crack (it's about 50' right from the base of Desert Song which starts behind some yuccas).
Climb the obvious right-slanting crack using jams and lieback moves (it's often easier to keep one foot on the face for balance) until encountering a roof high on the route. A good rest is found here, so plug in some gear and pull the roof (crux) before topping out onto a nice ledge with a bolted anchor/rap. 100' rap from anchors or one can continue above the anchors and descend the slabby south face of the formation. Note: don't try rappelling with anything less than a 60 meter rope as it won't reach.
This excellent climb is a Josh classic and a must do route of the area as it's a long, varied pitch on good rock with a tricky start, a fun middle section and an exciting finish.
Some climbers may remember seeing this climb featured on the cover of the 1989 Joshua Tree supplemental guide. Another name for this climb is The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, the name of a 1965 novel by Tom Wolfe.
Gear to 3", bolted anchor/rap (3/8")
Bruce the Brit on "Illusion Dweller" (5.10b).
The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby ...
Midway on Illusion Dweller (5.10b).
Chris Owen at the roof. Photo by Fred Batliner
The line in all it's glory.
a bit balancy with right foot smears near the bott...
Midway point on Illusion Dweller - if the route is...
A beautiful line...
Tom Mason in a sea of Illusion.
Tom Mason almost done!
Cover of Climbing April 2008
Back in the day, 1997.
Photo - Eric Anderson
Friend, Hogan, on his successful redpoint attempt.
Midafternoon on Jan. 6, 2009 -- don't know who you...
Illusion Dweller from top of RFYL
Illusion Dweller on a perfect Oct day
Sara working her way to the top.
Lisa Pritchett leading Illusion Dweller
Erik Kramer-Webb on Illusion Dweller.
photo by bo...
|Comments on Illusion Dweller
|By Tony B|
From: Around Boulder, CO
Jul 15, 2002
All-in-all a very nice line which eats gear and is no threat to a compitent leader.
Each one of the several cruxes is well protected, mostly by medium-sized stoppers. Each crux has a nice rest afterwards as well, to keep someone pressing the grade from getting too pumped.
|By Hayden Yurkanis|
Mar 31, 2003
advice for anyone who happens to poop there pants on the first 15 feet like myself...after you get to the first good hold teh difficulty significantly eases as your jams and feet become more secure. there are many, many good rests to place gear and the roof "crux" at the end has nice, gym-like holds. for me, the hardest parts were the begining and some insecure jams a litte more than midway up the wall. the flake left of the first jug 15 feet up is really lose and expands.
Aug 20, 2003
Great gear all the way up. The first 15' section is technical requiring good body english. I could not just power through it. Though stiff, I would call this first section 5.9. The crack angles right so I was constantly looking for good right footholds and smeared a few times for the lack thereof. Rack: I used a double set of cams from .5" - 3". Tri cams at the belay and a two bolt rap station exists at the ledge. Overall, a stellar must do route that has great pro. If you decide to top rope this route, use a trad anchor over the exit crack rather than the rap bolts. You will have to climb down 5' lower from the ledge to get to a nice horizontal crack where you can build an anchor. That way, when you pull the exit move over the roof, you won't run the risk of a short pendulum to the left where the bolted anchor is. Use good extension to avoid rope wear.
Oct 29, 2003
The actual FA: was Cox, Lennard and Steve Emerson (not Gary Ayres). Also Kandy Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamlined Baby is the actual name given by the FA team. Tobin Sorenson and Jim Wilson made a second "first ascent" in 1974 (adding a bolt-which has long ago disappeared) and called thier supposed new route Illusion Dweller. Sorenson and Wilson were credited with the FA for a while, and the name stuck even after the FA info was (incorrectly) corrected.
It seems sort of wierd to proposed this, but perhaps I should correct the name in the new guide, giving an "aka Illusion Dweller." Not sure how that would go over with people after nearly 30 years, but as time goes on, it becomes likely this will never be corrected.
|By David Evans|
Oct 30, 2003
Yes, I am all for renaming the route. Hey, how about "Monkey on my Back" instead of "Figures on a Landscape?"....while we are at it!!!
From: Sacramento, CA
Oct 30, 2003
|By C Miller|
Oct 30, 2003
Keep the name Illusion Dweller as that's how it's been known for so long but mention the original name as well.
There are many routes in Josh with multiple names (some are well known and some are not) - Heart Of Darkness (aka I'm Gassed) Stand And Deliver (aka Spanish Bombs) For Peter (aka Crystal City Underground) Riddles In The Dark (aka OK Crank) Total Generic Package (aka Mr. Swing) Chocolate Chips (aka Omaha Beach) Coarse And Buggy (aka Left Out) Equinox (aka Et Tu) Dehab Clinic (aka Lee's Health Studio) Fatty Winds His Neck Out (aka Locals Only) Mama Woolsey (Effigy) Wonderful World Of Art (aka The Gerbilator) Buttered Croissant (aka Dummy's Triangle and Chongo Bolt Route) Dynamic Panic (aka East Xing Direct) Bolt Heaven (aka Dry Cleaning) Adams Family (aka Get Right Or Get Left) The Mojus (aka Slushie) Pinched Rib (aka Snake Dike and Death Dike)
and even some formations - The Old Woman (aka North Fourth) The Negropolis (aka The Naygropolis)
There's more but you get the idea.
|By Tyler Logan|
From: Moreno Valley, CA
Nov 12, 2003
I feel the first few moves are by far the hardest on this route. Getting off the ground is not obvious, nor easy. I think these moves are way too bouldery to be called "5.9"; the supposed crux at the roof, although definitely 5.10, is no where near as hard as the start--just exposed. Don't be deterred by those first moves.
|By Steven Powers|
Nov 15, 2003
Kandy Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamlined Baby, all the way, its a great name for a great climb.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Jan 6, 2004
This route deserves all five of its stars. The first 15 feet is not all that hard if you're a good crack climber. If you're not a good crack climber it's a nightmare. I've watched a lot of climbers on this route, and no one seems to climb it the same way. The final 10b boulder move at the top regularly spits out leaders, probably because they're pretty tired.
|By Woody Stark|
Apr 30, 2004
I climbed it today for the first time. There was quite a bit of rubber slime on the first fifteen feet which didn't help. All in all a fine route. I popped a couple of times at the top due to hand and arm fatigue. Small tri-cams in the crux-crack are bombers.
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 23, 2004
Hey this climb's so well known as "Illusion Dweller" that there's a beer named after it (OK it's just a brew pub in Boulder, but they do have an "Illusion Dweller IPA", but it's stated on the menu that it's named after a climb). Anyway, I say keep this name, it's way easier to say. Do you really want to tell people you did "Kandy Koated blah blah blah Baby" today (see I already forgot it). Illusion Dweller sounds pretty cool.
|By Adam D|
From: Los Osos, CA
Nov 3, 2004
I too thought the start was a little stiff. 10a maybe, and you have to climb a bit to get pro. When I grabbed the loose flake left of the crack on the start "ooh...that's hollow!" The fool in the gallery watching me dropped the brilliant comment, "if it blows you can take it home as a souvenir" No if it blows, i'll deck and wing it at you on my way bubs.
Nov 6, 2004
locker buddy: how can you rate the route if you didn't do the crux... hummmmm???!!!
From: Westminster, CO
Nov 6, 2004
Gnat, it is 5.10b. I say that confidently. It is a long story. But I had the move the first try............then something beyond my control occured.........then I got injured and had to be lowered. The whole thing was really something. I would like to say that if any of you reading this was the party opposite us on Run for your life, thanks for the encouraging words and I hope you found it at least pretty entertaining.........and to bump the story up a notch.............all of what took place lasted well over four hours and more like five....it really was a mess and was really funny......no way to put it in words other than...........I'm glad it is over now to go back and do it clean.........................oh and it's nice to be alive....................
|By Mike Hack|
Nov 8, 2004
Did anyone else think this roof ("crux" at 10a/b) was much easier than the roof on RollerBall, whose 10b crux is supposed to be the lower technical section?
Nov 8, 2004
Great route, very popular. We found some trash at the bottom of the route...
|By Josh Beck|
Nov 8, 2004
I agree that Rollerball is much harder than Illusion Dweller. I also think that Rollerball is harder than Clean and Jerk, but YMMV...
|By Bo Johnston|
Feb 5, 2005
I was stressing about the crux as I jammed the long way up to the 10b finish and was relieved to find that the hardest work was everything before it.
Apr 5, 2005
Great pitch almost as good as the Split Pillar at Squamish. Finger sized gear at the finish. I tried to clean it on rappel and with some contortions got all but a 20 year old blue Metolius tricam. Hope someone who reads about it here gets it :)
Apr 5, 2005
the first 15 feet was the mental crux for me. a very nice right angling line in a beautiful area warrants a definite three star classic.
|By Woody Stark|
Apr 6, 2005
A little mind game here, something I've wondered about with other routes as well; If the crux overhang were the first move, when one was fresh, instead of the last, would this route be easier?
|By Adam Catalano|
From: Albany, New York
Feb 20, 2006
The roof crux wasn't bad at all. Definitely would be a lower grade if it was at the start of the climb. However, because of all the climbing before, it did warrent a hang for a second. Commit to lay it back and power through it. I think I found myself leaning left up the majority of the climb even though the crack leans right. Awkward huh.
Don't try to lower off the bolts and have a second clean. You'll be about 10 feet off the ground if you're using a 60 meter.
Sep 18, 2006
This is one of my favorite J-Tree climbs. I have it pretty much wired by now, but the crux for me was always in the lower middle section. I never thought the start was that tough, and the "crux" finish is only the crux because of fatigue.
|By susan peplow|
From: Joshua Tree
Feb 24, 2007
Led the route for the first time today. Haven't been on it in at least 5 years. I remembered the leaning crack being difficult so I was all psyched up for that. Figured the upper section would be easy as it's a lieback. Turns out after I completely sewed up the lower section (16 pieces was the final count) I must have run out of steam and ended up hanging at the top. I suck and nerves got the better of me. I'll be back and post my progress. Less gear & no hangs.
|By Guy H.|
From: Fort Collins CO
Mar 24, 2007
If you are tall, the roof will feel easy compared to the rest of the route. It felt like Gunks 5.8+.
One of the best 5.10 cracks that I have done.
|By Brad G|
From: Yosemite and else where
Sep 24, 2007
The first part felt really hard and sandbagged the middle was kind of boring but the roof was classic.
|By armando fimbrez|
From: rancho cucamonga
Feb 27, 2008
What can I say very very classic route. The gear is good the whole way. The crux at the top was commiting, but your well protected with gear below. It was my goal to lead this for a long time. When i finally did. I had a blast! I sent it clean styled the moves all the way to the top. When it was all over and rapped to the ground. I saw this beautiful woman standing there watching me. Well four months later we returned to the base of Illusion Dweller. I asked her to marry me. Eight months later we got married under the oak tree at Live oak picnic area October 7th 2006
From: laguna beach, ca
Jan 28, 2009
Did this climb 20 or so years ago and then again a couple of months ago. It seemed easier back then (getting old sucks). Bottom is 5.10a and the top exit move is 5.10b gym style. You can sew-up the climb the whole way. one of the top 3 best moderate cracks in the park.
|By Adam Winters|
From: the Shire
Jan 29, 2009
superb! felt like a model 10b to me. surely not a 10a. this would get 10b/c at a lot of other crags. pump factor, balancy and awkward in spots, crux finish. full-value fun climbing...
From: San Francisco
Apr 8, 2009
I have a hard time grading this route. It is definitely sustained climbing, but at 6'4" the crux at the top felt soft for .10b and although the crux off the ground was still a bit tricky, I still don't feel like it was .10b.
Either way, this is a classic Jtree route and one not to be missed.
Place good gear at the start, when my buddy attempted to lead this a few years ago, he slipped off the starting crux and his gear pulled, sending him directly onto the Yucca below.
|By Pat C|
May 22, 2009
This route is .10a, and awesome. Just gotta be in the zone for it. The first time I lead it I had to set an anchor twice! I was so scared and hyped up that I made it a three pitch climb! Today I went back (after being punished by fisticuffs) and was feeling great, it was fast and engaging and amazing! Definitely a super climb, but again I can't say that I found anything harder than .10a on it.
|By Ian G.|
From: PDX, OR
Aug 27, 2009
The top crux protects perfectly and isn't that hard depending on how much rodent/bird poop is in the dish you're going for. Unfortunately, there was a lot of poop there when I did it...and subsequently fell.
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Nov 19, 2009
I am fascinated at all the diverse comments and varying opinions about "where the crux is"!
The first 15-20 feet were not that cruxy to me; I had solid hand and foot jams the whole way (and apparently the right movement skills to go with). I felt much more desperate on the upper third as you're getting close to the roof--there was a wide but shallow section here that left me doing gripping hand stacks while making more of those weird-balance angling moves.
Ultimately, the roof did prove to be the crux for me I guess; I blew my onsight here. :( Fatigue was definitely a factor! Fantastic route however!!
Jan 22, 2011
grunted my way up this climb. you use every hand jam that exists. had to rest on a fist jam. fun climb all in all.
|By Brian Prince|
From: morro bay, ca
Feb 5, 2011
Armando! You doggedy dog man nicely done! Congrats
|By Steve Axthelm|
Apr 11, 2011
Just did this again for the first time in about 25 years. Was as good as I remembered it to be.
Crux is definitely at the top, not that hard, but a bit bouldery and the place where you need to be to figure out the moves is not exactly a rest. I think the 10b rating is spot on. Reach factors into the difficulty as well.
|By Benjamin Smith|
May 6, 2011
I felt the hardest part was placing good gear at the start to keep from decking. Finding stances to pro from in the first 20 feet was strenuous. Other than that, it's a great route although it feels like a gimme 10b.
|By Colonel Mustard|
From: Reno, NV
Jan 17, 2012
^^^Well, it sorta is a gimme 10b, Benjamin, the new Vogel guide calls it 10a/b. I guess that's a fair summation, although I am not completely at home with slash grades myself. I've definitely done 10a's in Josh I thought were as hard as Illusion Dweller (Taxman, for one) or maybe harder.
|By Trad Nanny|
Jan 20, 2012
Only pushes 10b because of the length, 10a overall with the main crux at the bottom. I didn't find the top too hard at all. A brown tri-cam fits perfectly in the slot under the roof.
Nov 28, 2012
loved to see my friend following the whole crack without jamming, think this must be a 12b or more like this :-)
|By Kevin Dahlstrom|
From: Fort Worth, TX
Dec 11, 2012
First Ascent by an NFL lineman: