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Routes in Headstone Rock

Cryptic S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Cutting Edge, The S 5.13+ 8b 30 X- 31 E7 7a
Headbanger's Ball T 5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Headmaster TR 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Headstone Crack Left T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Headstone Crack Right T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
SW Corner T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
South Face Center TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
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Description

The original name given this formation by Mark Powell and Bill Feuerer in 1958 was "The Can Opener." Later, early Wolfe guides called it "Balance Rock." Wolfe changed the name again to "Headstone Rock" since there is some evidence that this name was used before climbers named it (a couple of miners are buried nearby).

Whatever you call it, Headstone is one of the true classic locations at JTree, and home to two of the parks most popular moderate routes: SW Corner (5.6 ***) and Cryptic (5.8 ***). Although the SW Corner offers spectacular exposure (due to the positioning of the rock), both routes are well bolted by JTree standards. In addition to these two routes, the South Face Center goes at 5.9, and there are some bolted 5.reallyhard sport climbs on the blank, overhanging north face of the rock as well.

Quickdraws are all you'll need for protection, although a couple of double-length slings will help for setting a belay on the top of the SW Corner.

Rappel descent from bolts and chains on top of the rock.

Like I said, these routes are POPULAR, so get there early in the morning or climb them late in the evening. But they're well worth it!

Getting There

Park on the east side of the Ryan Campground Loop, next to the bathroom. From there it's an easy 100 yard plus 2 minutes of 3rd class approach (past some kind bouldering, by the way).

8 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Headstone Rock

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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Photos

M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
Several fun boulder problems lie en-route to the base of the Headstone formation. Jun 28, 2002
Randy  
The original name given this formation by Mark Powell and Bill Feuerer in 1958 was "The Can Opener." Later, early Wolfe guides called it "Balance Rock." Wolfe changed the name again to "Headstone Rock" since there is some evidence that this name was used before climbers named it (a couple of miners are buried nearby). Dec 17, 2003
Blee  
Found a copy of Joshua Tree Rock Climbs by Robert Miramontes at Headstone Rock. Let me know if it's yours. Oct 18, 2015
Dimes
Joshua Tree, Ca.
Dimes   Joshua Tree, Ca.
The quick link mentioned by TacoDelRio with the crack in the screw gate was replaced today with a new 3/8” SS quicklink. Thanks to TacoDelRio for reporting his observation. Oct 27, 2017

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