The guidebooks list three routes on Iron Hand Rock: a couple of 5.10 crack climbs and the Brown Cave (5.2). I can't speak for the two cracks -- the only reason we were up there was to climb the Brown Cave (inspired by a night of drinking around the campfire ... yeah, let's go climb the Brown Cave ... heh, heh). The picture in the Vogel guide makes it look like a tiny little cave just behind Apparition Rock. Rest assured that the cave is MUCH bigger and MUCH further away than it looks in the picture (or, for that matter, from the road). A lot of the rock in the area is crumbly ... hell, crumbly is a major understatement. There's a bunch of rock up there that disintegrates if you look at it funny. It made for a bit of an adventure.
The Iron Hand is located high up on the hillside behind Apparition Rock and the walk-in campsites, over toward the west end of the Indian Cove campground. From Apparition Rock, cross a large gully and scramble up the bouldery slope, tending a little to the right. The easiest approach seemed to be to go west up the gully itself until you're directly under the formation, then head straight up the hillside. It's a lot further than it looks.
Featured Route For Iron Hand Rock
Ah, the Brown Cave ... what can you say about the Brown Cave? It's easy to find -- even though it's a couple hundred yards up the hillside, it's easy to spot from the road. Beware, though: the cave is MUCH bigger and MUCH further away than it looks from the road. Chimney up the back of the cave past a large chockstone and continue up a wide crack to the summit. Taller folks will have a definite advantage in the initial chimneyThe climb is pretty damn near unprotectable which, coupled with t...[more] Browse More Classics in CA