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j-tree, red rocks, or t wall
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By mike526
From schaumburg
Nov 28, 2012

Newer trad climber looking for a good winter climbing area for some time In January or February. Have been to J-tree before but used a guide so not sure about the easier routes there.

Red rocks looks interesting but camping seems to be hard to come by.

Have no idea about t-wall but was suggested by a friend.


open to other suggestions also


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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Nov 28, 2012
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background

They are all good in winter. T-wall is probably your best bet for reliable weather. Not to say it can't be awesome at JT or RR, but it could also be snowing. If you can go spur of the moment and see the forecast, they can all re great winter places. If you have to fly and plan in advance IMO the order of weather reliability would be T-wall, JT, RR.

Lots of easier climbs at all three. T-wall is a sandstone crack area with mostly cracks and corner routes. It is pretty awesome and stays really warm as long as it is dry out. There are some hunting closures at T-wall so make sure that they do not coincide with you planned dates.

The camping at RR kind of sucks, but there are good cheap places to stay. You can camp right at T-wall but there are no services, it is primitive camping and there have been theft problems in the past. There are some nearby (20 minutes?) private campgrounds. There is also a very good bouldering area near Chattanooga if you want a change from T-wall (Little Rock City).


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By CraigS.
Nov 28, 2012

The downside to climbing at T-Wall is that the camping in the area around here isn't the best. Close is free, but primitive only. Anything fancier is further away and will cost a little. I can't comment on J-Tree or Red Rocks.


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By Seth Derr
From harrisburg, pa
Nov 28, 2012
Hey there!

FWIW have camped on the other side of town at Raccoon Mountain a couple times. probably 25 mins from T-Wall. Showers, bathrooms, etc. 20.00 per night. Not a bad deal if you don't mind the price and commute. The climbing at Sunset is also close by.


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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Nov 28, 2012
...

If you don't mind eating at Santanas and getting ripped off by meth heads, JTree is a GREAT winter destination...


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By Chris Norwood
From San Diego, CA
Nov 28, 2012
Hobbit Roof

Locker wrote:
If you don't mind eating at Santanas and getting ripped off by meth heads, JTree is a GREAT winter destination...


but I like Santanas! :P


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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Nov 28, 2012

Depends on what you want- cragging or multipitch. If you're looking for good cragging, T-wall and Jtree would be a good choice. If you're looking for good multipitch, Red Rock will be your top choice- theres decent cragging at moderate grades, but not a ton of it in RR.

Red Rock Camping- you can stay in the hotels here for almost as cheap as a campsite, especially if you're not alone. The campground is what it is- a campground in the Mojave desert. Everyone hates it, but I mean, what do you expect? Its a desert out here and land options for camping inside the NCA are limited.

T-wall camping- I dont think i'd want to camp there based on what I saw when I was there in 2010- pretty sketch. The climbers hostel is open, and i hear its cool, but pricey.

J-tree camping- pretty sweet, climbing near your campsite, depending.

Weather- RR and Jtree, in general, have the same weather and are about 3 hours apart. If you get rained out here (please dont climb if the ground is wet), head to Jtree. Most winters you get a fair bit of climbing in, except the occasional monster storm in early/mid December. If this winter is anything like last (and its supposed to be based on long term forecasts), expect mild/warm temps in the desert southwest (read- 60s and NICE). The Southeast is supposed to get hammered with winter storms this year, but of course, thats all predictions and such, so who knows what will actually happen.

good luck!


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Nov 28, 2012

T Wall really comes into it's own at the 5.10-5.12 level and I wouldn't call the weather there any more reliable than the other two. Yeah, it faces mostly south, but it's also in the SE, which is basically a temperate rain forest. I grew up down there and started climbing down there, but there's a reason I call JT home these days.

Red rock and Joshua Tree have a ton of moderates, crags that face all directions to chase sun, shade or wind protection. Have much better scenery. The rock itself is miles better at T-wall than the other two, but

If it were me, I'd take the last week of Feb, go to Red Rock, screw the camping and just stay in a cheaper hotel. Wake up in a bed with a warm shitter nearby, grab some free grub from the continental breakfast spread on your way out, pick one of the countlesss classic moderate multi-pitch routes, then finish off the day in the hottub and/or casino. Repeat until time to go home. No brainer.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Nov 28, 2012

John Wilder wrote:
The campground is what it is- a campground in the Mojave desert. Everyone hates it, but I mean, what do you expect?



Well, I expect something like the campground inside the loop that they closed (Pine Creek?)...some trees/shade and other vegetation, camp hosts that aren't insane badgering nazis, and no constant speed trap being run at the bottom of a steep ass hill with an absurdly low posted speed limit. That would be a nice start.


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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Nov 28, 2012

Will S wrote:
Well, I expect something like the campground inside the loop that they closed (Pine Creek?)...some trees/shade and other vegetation, camp hosts that aren't insane badgering nazis, and no constant speed trap being run at the bottom of a steep ass hill with an absurdly low posted speed limit. That would be a nice start.


Cant do it inside the loop- they didnt allow for campgrounds inside the NCA when they established the latest RMP, and they cant change that now. Be glad that they had spare land near the NCA- it could have been placed out in BFE south of the 160. The old campground (at Oak Creek) was destroyed by campers and was closed because of it and that sort of poor behavior is probably why camping isnt allowed in the NCA except in limited backcountry circumstances.

Trees- dude, its the desert. We dont have those here. They have put up shade structures in many of the sites, though.

Camp Hosts- are climbers now and not nazi. I hear they're quite nice now.

Speed Trap- never seen/heard of it. YMMV.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Nov 28, 2012

John, I think you are missing the point. Inside/outside the loop is irrelevant. Have you ever been in the old camground? It's quite a nice setting.

I live in the Mojave, so yeah I get what grows here. And wonder of wonders, the old campground had...trees. My yard has...wait for it...trees. New Jack City doesn't have trees so it has shade structures. Good to hear that they actually added some shade stuff to that shithole.

I don't expect as a resident of LV that you actually spend much time in the sun-baked dustbowl hellhole of the current campground, why would you? So trust me when I say they run speed trap down that little road into the campground all the time. Every single time I've been there. One of the many reasons I stopped staying there.

It's amazing that the BLM can shell out a couple million bucks for some BS visitor center complex but can't establish a borderline habitable campground.


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By Ryan Hill
From Cedar City, UT
Nov 28, 2012

Will S wrote:
Well, I expect something like the campground inside the loop that they closed (Pine Creek?)...some trees/shade and other vegetation, camp hosts that aren't insane badgering nazis, and no constant speed trap being run at the bottom of a steep ass hill with an absurdly low posted speed limit. That would be a nice start.


The shitty camping is extra motivation for climbing. Camp hosts have changed and are much easier to get along with these days (though the old ones were only a pain if you hadn't paid fees or tried to park too many cars in a site...as that was there job and I've never heard of them using a gas chamber on anyone I feel the term Nazi is a bit harsh). The speed trap is complete BS, but it seems to be happening less and less these days and it really isn't hard to go the posted speed limit, even if it is absurd.

I actually like the outside of the loop camping, it makes for a fun morning commute/rally to the crags.

If you have a car then RR is a great winter option. If the weather craps on you the hotels are cheap and Mesquite and St. George are near by. If it all truly goes to hell then J-Tree and San Diego are close enough to save the vacation. The moderate multi-pitch in RR is amazing and a hell of a lot of fun. I spent a month down in J-Tree and I enjoyed myself, but I got in better and more climbing while in RR. The camping is much nicer down there though.


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By Andy S.
From Los Angelas
Nov 30, 2012

I'd suggest T-wall on the basis that its like 18 hours closer to Schaumburg than Jtree/Red Rocks are. Also if you're just getting into trad climbing Jtree can be kind of unforgiving if you dont know what you're doing and Red Rocks can be really unforgiving if you dont know how to retrieve a stuck rope.

I was living in Chicago when I was learning how to trad climb last winter and did trips to both Jtree and Twall so feel free to PM me if you want some more insight.


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By Tom Fralich
From Fort Collins, CO
Nov 30, 2012

Red Rock is the best of the three IMO, but if you don't already have a some experience on multi-pitch trad, probably not the best choice. T-Wall is awesome and I'm sitting at the airport in Fresno right now on my way to T-Wall for the third year in a row. If your trad leading experience is limited, this is probably the best choice. J-Tree is fun and has the best camping, but you've been there already and the nights are long and cold. If you go to Vegas, stay at a hotel Sun-Thur and camp on the weekend if you need to save some money. You can get a basic room for about $20/night Sun-Thur.


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