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Johnson Canyon

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Ancient Kingdom 
Canyon Entrance Routes 
RC Rock 

Johnson Canyon  

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Elevation: 3,000'
Location: 34.088, -116.1535 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 6,370
Administrators: C Miller, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: C Miller on Aug 22, 2008
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View looking northwest from Ancient Kingdom.


Johnson Canyon (aka Cove Canyon), a major drainage of the North Wonderland, is located due south of the Short Wall and although a large area is fairly undeveloped as well as being somewhat hidden from view due to it's westerly orientation which parallels the hillside in front of it.

A landmark to help in locating the mouth of the canyon is the Euhedral (5.7) which climbs a large slab directly above the mouth of the canyon and is identifiable by it's two-tone appearance (dark rock lower & tan rock higher). Also at the mouth of the canyon is the large Split Boulder which is home to a few routes - Chute the Moon (5.6) and the Dirty Pinch (5.11a).

The first formation encountered in the canyon proper is RC Rock which is on the left and faces north. Three known routes are here including The Rand (5.10a), Gold Strike (5.11b) and Reallly Good (5.11c).

The next formation encountered in the canyon is Shuttle Rock (on the right) with Gabby's Shuttle (5.10c) a reminder of the old JT bar and it's services (which came after the Boom Boom Room but before the JT Saloon).

Once past Shuttle Rock the canyon opens up and becomes more complex with lots of rock visible. The large and attractive dark formation on the left is Ancient Kingdom, home to several moderate cracks including Carmania (5.7) and the classic Spanish Bayonet (5.9).

Further upcanyon is Cove Canyon Dome, a huge but seldom visited formation, with several three pitch routes on it including Cracked Actor (5.9) and The Flakes (5.9).

The upper reaches of Johnson Canyon has but one recorded route - Tied to the Whipping Post (5.11a) which involves an arduous approach up the canyon between Ancient Kingdom and Cove Canyon Dome.

The large south-facing walls across from Cove Canyon Dome and Ancient Kingdom hold the potential for numerous routes and there's at least one unnamed 5.12+ crack in this vicinity which offers a challenge for those willing to make the hike.

Getting There 

Hike south from the vicinity of the Short Wall where you'll run into a major wash issuing from Johnson Canyon. Stay high and to the right on the approach aiming for a large Split Boulder which comes into view midway along the approach. Past the boulder it's best to stay high on the right side of the canyon as the going is much slower in the wash directly.

The first formation reached will be Shuttle Rock; a bit further on, where the canyon opens up, the large formation of Ancient Kingdom will come into view on your left. Allow about 5-10 minutes to reach the Split Boulder and about 20-30 minutes to reach Ancient Kingdom.

Climbing Season

Weather station 6.3 miles from here

9 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',3],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Johnson Canyon:
Spanish Bayonet   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Ancient Kingdom
Browse More Classics in Johnson Canyon

Featured Route For Johnson Canyon
Tom at the top of the climb looking north towards Short Wall

Chute the Moon 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b  CA : Joshua Tree National Park : ... : Split Boulder
Fun, easy slab climb on the south side of a large, split boulder....[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Johnson Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
Shuttle Rock. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Shuttle Rock. Photo by Blitzo.
Ancient Kingdom. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Ancient Kingdom. Photo by Blitzo.
Start of Spanish Bayonet: Carmania in the background...
Start of Spanish Bayonet: Carmania in the backgrou...
Formations at the entrance. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Formations at the entrance. Photo by Blitzo.
The entrance to Johnson Canyon. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
The entrance to Johnson Canyon. Photo by Blitzo.
Cove Canyon Dome. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Cove Canyon Dome. Photo by Blitzo.
Entrance to The Johnson Canyon Chasm. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Entrance to The Johnson Canyon Chasm. Photo by Bli...

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