BETA PHOTO: Crag overview
Although it is relatively small, the S-Crack Formation's slightly overhang and constantly shaded dark rock give it a slightly ominous appearance on first glance. This is a great little crag, however -- if not for its relatively remote location out past the Lost Horse Ranger Station, it would probably get a lot more traffic than it does. The solid, well-textured rock is some of the best I've climbed on in Joshua Tree.
The centerpiece of the wall are (surprise, surprise), the Left
, Middle, and Right S-Cracks, which go at 5.8, 5.11, and 5.9, respectively. (To be perfectly fair, the Middle S Crack is the only one that's really shaped like an S, but I'm willing to overlook that if you are ...) A small pinnacle just to the left offers another 5.11 and a couple more climbs in the 5.8/5.9 range.
The S-Cracks are a bit of a hike, and don't get much traffic, making them a great destination for crowded weekends. They face north-northwest, so the climbs are in the shade most of the day. There's an easy walk-off back and west from the top of the main formation.
Park on the Lost Horse Road, at the point where the gate prevents you from driving any further. This parking area is shared with Atlantis, Super Creeps, and a host of other formations, and it usually fills up early. Continue hiking down the road past the gate. After 5-10 minutes, the road turns left and passes the Lost Horse Ranger Station on the right -- keep walking, keeping to the right at a fork. In a couple more minutes, the road will start to loop back around to the right and the S-Crack Formation will appear on your left. A short cross-country walk will get you to the base of the climbs. (If you keep walking down the road for a few more minutes, you'll find a small picnic area and a pit toilet).
Weather station 10.3 miles from here
5 Total Routes
['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',1],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]
Featured Route For S-Crack Formation
Middle S Crack 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
: Joshua Tree National Park
: ... : S-Crack Formation
The opening moves are a semi tough series of laybacks and pinches and advanced free climbing moves to gain the deep flaring slot in the middle of the pitch. Rest up in here and get ready for the crux top out. Keeping your last pro out of your hand slot is probably recommended. Interesting and sorta sequential moves will have you on the summit. Top anchor is a few pieces in the 1" to 2 1/2" range.To top rope, bring a long extendo runner or something similar to extend to the lip.I'd go a full t...[more] Browse More Classics in CA
Local Information for S-Crack Formation
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Yabo Boulder. Photo by Blitzo.
S-Crack Formation. Photo by Blitzo.
By Adam Stackhouse
Mar 14, 2006
First ascents on the S Cracks were Dave Ohlson and Jon Lonne, in April of 1976.