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Recommendations please - Joshua Tree with Kids

Original Post
mike again · · Berkeley, CA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 40

I am looking for recommendations for areas in Joshua tree to climb with my family over Thanksgiving (kids are 5 and 9).

We are comfortable as a family on 5.6 and can do 5.7 or more, multi-pitch is welcome. Shorter approaches are preferred, but we've got a range of about an hour at little kid pace for the right area. Want to avoid sketchy descents (e.g., with mandatory exposed forth class etc.). Ideally would find crags with a range of quality climbs 5.5 to 5.9 for us all to play on. We have camping reservations at Black Rock and at Indian Cove.

I've looked around at MP threads, and found a couple relevant ones. Flat bases are great, but not my primary concern since the kids love to scramble around and explore, nor does top-rope-abilty matter that much. The guidebook (I have Vogel 2nd Edition) is a bit overwhelming, so i thought I'd put this out there while continuing to leaf through it...

As an aside - I haven't been to Josh in many years, and I am so stoked. Thanks for any thoughts!

rcguy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 0

This is the first place that comes to mind. Have fun!…

Thomas Beck · · Las Vegas, Nevada · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 1,040

Indian Cove has a selection of easy routes which are top rope-able, flat ground in many places and moderate scrambling.

Roy Suggett · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 6,565
Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60

There have been several other threads on this site, some of which you may have found.

Trashcan Rock is great, but the scramble off might be a bit much for a 5 yr. old. The climbs are short though, so it would be easy to set up a TR and just lower them. If multipitch is ok then Turtle Rock has some fun, easy routes. The kids might need help on the scramble down. I think that Fote Hog (5.6) on the Sentinel is a good fun multipitch. Bear Island has several fun easy climbs woth about 20 min., flat hike. If it's not too crowded, the Echo Cove/Echo Tee has some fun moderate climbs: Double Dip, Stichter Quits, stuff on the north side of Echo Tee. Also check out the Hemingway area: the Cathouse, Dairy Queen Wall and surrounding area have some decent 5.6 and 5.7s, though with some scrambling to approach. If you're kids can rap, even Upper Right Ski Track (5.3) would be good fun. Decent exposure and a nice summit.

geoff georges · · Seattle, Wa. · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 3,811

if you don't mind buying more books, I find it is helpful at J-tree to have some cross reference. The newer Vogel " West" is an improvement over his older books but I like the Miramontes book and Gaines select is great. But especially for your needs the Trad guide to JT by the Wingers is good. It covers all the easy classics.
Most of the approaches are easy walks, we divide areas we want to visit based on shade and sun, hot and cold, protected or windy.
Great walls with some easier classics:
Dairy Queen, some scrambling
Trashcan rock- belay out of the car
Rock Garden valley- a longer scramble, but worth it.
Lost Horse Wall- for a cool 5.7 multi pitch- The Swift
Cyclops- the Eye
Hidden Valley campground- many spread out- easy walks.

have a great trip!

mike again · · Berkeley, CA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 40

Many thanks for these recs - I looked them over briefly and it seems like a great start!
I bought the new Vogel book, and will pick up the Miramontes one as well when I get down there. Looking forward to this!

sandiego · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 0

I just noticed this thread and I agree with what has been listed so far.

My family recently stayed at Indian Cove for the first time and it has some nice options for kid friendly climbing. I have an 11 and 7 year old and we all enjoyed a long morning at Indian Palisides Corridor and would recommend it to others. I don't believe it's in the newest Vogel guidebook which is probably why it was nice and quiet on a busy weekend in October.…

Have fun!

Finger Crack Jack · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

We'll be down there over TG so may actually bump into you :-). Some great suggestions from others, so I will only add that you will probably get your greatest return in Indian Cove given the age of your kids. The climbing is very concentrated, easily accessed with a good mix of easy climbs for your kids and harder stuff that will keep you engaged. Short Wall and Bulletin Board Rock are great examples. Bear in mind, TG is a popular week so getting on the more popular/easily accessed climbs can be challenging (Trash Can rock for example!).

Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60

I think your kids will have a blast regardless of the climbing. My two oldest love getting out there and just exploring. My 10 yr. (son) loves caves, crawl holes or just scrambling to the tops of things. Hobbit Hole and Iron Door Caves where much appreciated. Give them a heads up about chollas. A close encounter with one of those will ruin their day.

mike again · · Berkeley, CA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 40

Thanks again for posting all of these suggestions. We had a great time. We ended up climbing in several spots:

Cyclops Eye
South Buttress of Dos Equis Wall
Billboard Buttress
Locomotion Rock
Trashcan Rock

Great fun, all of it. So much to do in Josh! Can't wait to go back. I hope we can make the pilgrimage more regularly.

Hobo Greg · · My Van · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 160

Anywhere but the space station.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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