> Wichita Mountai…
> Charon's Gardens
This area is designated as Charon
Currently the the US Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing the Comprehensive Conservation Plan and reviewing activities for compatibility. Contact the Access Fund or the Wichita Mountains Climber's Coalition for more information on how you can get involved in keeping the tradition of climbing safe in the Wildlife Refuge. Use extra care to avoid doing anything to change the natural resources in any way.
Access is always an issue here.
Please do not litter and observe all regulations. We had to fight to regain access at one time, and we don't want to lose the privilege again. Local ethics and refuge regulations are that no bolting is permitted unless expressly authorized by the park. Leave the hammer and nails at home, no fixed gear please. Everything will go clean.
This cliff has long been known only for its namesake route, Desperate Reality, a 25-foot nearly horizontal 5.12b roof crack. However, a flurry of recent development has pushed the total number of routes here to nine, making Desperate Dome one of the premier climbing destinations in the refuge. A relatively short walk (especially once you get the approach dialed in), a northeast-facing exposure offering plenty of shade during the warmer months, and a bevy of high-quality and well protected 5.10 cracks are among the attractions of this outstanding crag. The rock here is very crystalline, so you'll most likely want to tape your hands for the crack routes. -banks Banks 2016
The approach to Desperate Dome is relatively quick by refuge standards, approximately 20-25 minutes if one takes the easiest line. Much of the approach is over two large, low-angle granite slabs so finding the best route can be tricky the first couple of times to the cliff.
Drive past the refuge headquarters approximately one mile to a large dirt pullout on the left side of the road. This area is known to hikers as Heart Rock after a distinctive heart-shaped rock that is visible from certain vantage points just off the road across from the pullout. Desperate Dome is easily seen from this pullout.
Walk about fifty yards down the road toward the refuge headquarters and find a faint trail leading through the brush and into the trees. Follow this path to the first of the two granite slabs. Hike up the slab and then trend to the right, staying just below a short vertical wall marking the left edge of the slab. Continue across a short expanse of rocky terrain to the base of the second and larger of the two slabs. Hike up to the high point and then continue on, trending slightly rightward until you reach a short vertical dropoff. If you've done the approach perfectly, you've arrived at the low point of this short cliff where you can easily drop down to the rock slab below. If not, travel left or right along the top of the cliff until you find this spot.
Hike across a large, flat slab to a small stand of trees just left of a seasonal pool. On the other side of these trees, it opens up into a grassy meadow with a small ravine of sorts leading up toward the cliff. Hike up the left side of this ravine. Once directly below the cliff, the easiest approach up the final steep hillside begins from a small rock slab on your left. From this slab, a faint trail meanders up the hillside to the base of Fistfighter and The Warm Up. If you don't find this path, you'll likely resort to some unpleasant bushwhacking up the hillside until you eventually reach the cliff. The old approach trail up this final hillside led straight to the base of the roof crack Desperate Reality, but ever since a large fire burned the entire hillside sometime around 2012, this original trail became completely obscured. -banks Banks 2016