Type: Trad, 140 ft
FA: (lower section): Dick Webster & Woody Stark, 1967, (complete route): Jim Wilson & Dick Shockley, 1971
Page Views: 17,179 total · 84/month
Shared By: C Miller on Jun 20, 2002
Admins: C Miller, Greg Opland, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route

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Easily done in a single pitch this semi-classic requires being versed in a variety of techniques to succeed.

Begins in a chimney/offwidth (facing left is easier) which narrows higher and transitions into a flake which is lie-backed to it's end near a horizontal to a delicate slab climbing finish. 

Four stars out of five.


Left side of the west face between Overhang Bypass and a prominent left-facing corner (West Chimney).


Gear to 3.5 inches, 2 bolts (3/8"); slings are useful.
If you don't have a big piece, don't worry, there is a small Horizontal crack about 10' off the deck that you can stick a TCU or an Alien into and it will help you get started.

Have fun in the chimney! Get through it and the rest of the route is fun! Dec 23, 2002
Just did this route again last weekend after not having been on it for more than five years. The bottom (chimney/offwidth)was a little harder than I remember!, but gears up nice. A compelling natural line that has a little bit of everything on it to enjoy. Jan 9, 2003
Dick Webster and I put up the FA to the top of the flake in 67. I've climb this route more times than I can count--twice this year. I use it for instruction. First, I believe we should have rated it 5.9. There are many nines I've done over the years that are easier. Second, after putting pro in the small horizontal and moving to the jam, reach back behind the edge and you'll find a large pocket with a small one within it. The small pocket will take a bomber cam. The horizontal has taken a lot of stress over the years, and I no longer trust it alone. Mar 9, 2003
Steven Powers
Steven Powers  
kinda stiff for 5.8, wouldnt call it a classic but fun none the less. Oct 6, 2003
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
The route is approximately 165' long. A 4" piece helps protect the strenuous chimney. The face climbing up top is a little "spicy". Oct 23, 2003
Newport Beach
Donno   Newport Beach
I find the chimney not too strenuous if you use classic chimney technique: don't get sucked in too deep & start 'off-widthing'. The chimney atop The Orphan (5.9) feels stiffer, so I feel 5.8 is a good rating. Oct 30, 2003
Yucca Valley, CA
Locker   Yucca Valley, CA
I led this route today with Woody in tow and I must admit, that "Squeeze Chimney" move was no easy task for this old boy. I kind of think maybe 5.9 fits. It really is a fun route. But I don't think I'll rush back and get on it again anytime soon. Thanks Woody! It's over; let's get the hell away from Hidden Valley now! Dec 9, 2004
I did this route in 97 or 98 with a bunch of canadians. The idea was to watch the sunset from the simmit. I was last of 5 of us and had to climb it in the dark no lamp. I really enjoyed it even tough I couldn't see much. I think it deserves 3 stars. Although when I topped out I saw millions. Feb 28, 2005
Bo Johnston
Bo Johnston  
My buddy (Anthony Bilotti) did this route back in 1990 during our spring break in High School. We did not have a lot of leading experience but managed to pull this off and have a lot of fun. Great route.

Came back to do it again after many years and WOW, that chimney sucks! The rest is great! It simply is not 5.8 at the start. Oct 10, 2005
electric lady land
d-know   electric lady land
great start and superb finish. the stuff in between aint bad either Jan 25, 2006
Will S
Joshua Tree
Will S   Joshua Tree
Fantastic! Long pitch with lots of variety. I'd add an additional star to this one. At the same rating, I think it's better than Dogleg and Hands Off. The 5.8 rating is fair if you have any wide experience at all.

The wide section deters some people, but it's really not bad, and you can almost sew this up once you get to the first little horizontal slot (takes good yellow TCU or yellow Alien). After the intial thrutch, the climbing eases off considerably until the final slab crux where you have a bolt right below you. This is a long pitch, but you don't really need doubles. Take a set of nuts and a single set of cams from yellow TCU/Alien to purple (old 4/new 5) Camalot and you'll have plenty. Don't get suckered by the bolt on the face of the flake out right about halfway up, apparently it's for a squeeze job between this and the west chimney. Dec 24, 2006
susan peplow
Joshua Tree
susan peplow   Joshua Tree
I agree with Will. This route is much better than "hands off" for the grade. Get your chimney skills rolling right from the deck with relief coming soon. Watch your head at the top of the chimney, I just bonked my head. Protect there with 3" cam or so the immediately start in the heel toe section about it until you gain a nice finger/hand crack. Protects extremely well from there.

Exciting top moves in the wind. Thank God for bolts. By the way this is not a good route to solo, I don't care who tells you it is. HUGE penalty for coming off up high. Stay on a cord and stay alive.

3 stars! Jan 20, 2007
Jeremy Werlin
Cedaredge, CO
Jeremy Werlin   Cedaredge, CO
Don't listen to all these chimney-whiners! (Are you rock climbers or sport climbers?) The flake is a fantastic line and usually the first route I jump on when I'm back in the park. Cheers to Woody and Dick who put this thing up the year I was born. *Remember to bring the windbreaker as it often seems to be blowing on top. Feb 17, 2007
Cory Harelson
Boise, ID
Cory Harelson   Boise, ID
Really fun line. I found the chimney at the start to be tricky, but that probably just means I need more practice in chimneys. I actually fell near the top of the chimney, and was caught by my 1st piece which was a bomber grey C4 that you can place before the chimney gets tricky.

The climbing after the chimney is so fun that after only a couple of moves you completely forget about your recent struggle up the chimney. The 5.8 slab at the end is very easy, there is so much friction that you can practically just walk right up it. Nov 12, 2008
Oakland CA
caughtinside   Oakland CA
One of the best .8s in Josh, and no giveaway. Dec 7, 2008
Catherine Conner
Phoenix, AZ
Catherine Conner   Phoenix, AZ
This is hard-I think it's 5.9. Did the last half in the dark, and yes it was cold up there. Nothing a little pie and some brandy-laced hot chocolate couldn't cure! Dec 20, 2009
Chris D
the couch
Chris D   the couch
This climb is great, and one I was glad to be following rather than leading. The chimney at the bottom can be climbed a lot of different ways. Though strenuous, I though it was as much an enjoyable component of the climb as any other part, maybe moreso, if you like problem solving. You don't need to temporarily leave the chimney/off-width at the first big block on the right as some do. There's a spot where I found making a couple of moves facing straight out made life easier.

Another thing I really liked about this climb was the continuous hand/finger and toe jams you can stuff under the flake on the left. Really nice.

Battle up the chimney, then it's a long section of easy fun climbing to the short but thoughtful section of slab at the top. A great climb.

Lots of harder 5.8s in the park. Apr 6, 2010
Patrick Kaufer
Laguna Hills, CA
Patrick Kaufer   Laguna Hills, CA
I found the chimney to be horrendous! Other than that it was a great climb though haha May 12, 2011
Really fun route. A #5 Camalot and a couple wires made the chimney very safe and fun. It did feel hard for 5.8 (and no I'm not bitching about the chimney, it legitimately felt hard to me compared to other old-school 5.8 chimney and offwidth climbs) Oct 10, 2011
Ryan Stefani
Ryan Stefani  
I second the "hard for a .8". I'd give it a solid, old-school .9. Especially if you grunt your way up the back of the chimney to place a couple of bigger pieces...

The top is awesome and soooo unexpected when you get there!

Great climb! Oct 24, 2011
Michael Bartosek
Los Angeles
Michael Bartosek   Los Angeles
Having nothing larger than a #2 on my rack made for a spicy lead of the chimney! After that it was 80 feet pure fun until I realized that both those bolts were spinners and the rope drag was terrible beacuse we did it as a single pitch...otherwise,super fun route. Feb 14, 2012
Solid 5.8, but not a .9! The chimney protects with a .5 BD (purple) in a pod up left, and then a #5, where I got a knee behind a flake for a solid jam. The rest of the climb is awesome, too. So much variety! Do this route!!! Nov 17, 2012
Tommy G.
Killeen, Texas
Tommy G.   Killeen, Texas
I have wanted to get on this for a while. Seeing someone on the top slab is pretty crazy looking from Park Road! Pretty awesome. Get yo' chimney on.
Crazy wind up top :/
Chimney is the crux.

Figure out a belay from inside the pit to avoid buffeting on a windy day. Starts and ends memorably. Dec 3, 2012
The start can be protected ok with just a .5 and a #3. I threw in a #4 as well but it was a bit tipped out.

Watch your rope drag if doing it in one pitch, the top slab got... interesting. Apr 30, 2013
Alex Doria
San Diego
Alex Doria   San Diego
Pretty awkward start. Enjoyable because it has everything but I could of done with out that chimney exit. Aug 25, 2013
Robert Karl
Pasadena, CA
Robert Karl   Pasadena, CA
Tried this last weekend and failed to pull through the chimney section while following! Sep 19, 2016
St.George Orem Denver Vegas
Klimbien   St.George Orem Denver Vegas
I would second the notion that " The face climbing up top is a little "spicy"". I found it to be the most taxing of the whole route. Stiff 5.8. Nov 30, 2016
Nick Brennan
Concord, NH
Nick Brennan   Concord, NH
if you brought a four and a five bd c4 i bet you'd place both, and you wouldn't have to carry them far. having gear for the start would have kept things a little more casual. Dec 2, 2016
Lance Ranzer
  5.9+ PG13
Lance Ranzer  
  5.9+ PG13
Here is some of my beta on this route:

1. First, Iron Eagle(chimney) move all the way to you get to the Left under-cling/ side pull about 12ft off the ground - place a small cam or two to protect the fall. 0.3 and a 0.4 cam works well with a 2ft extender.
2. Next, Bring a BD #5 and #4 for the off-width start. I put this about 3ft above the left side pull in the off width part. This will help prevent falling from the slippery feet.
3. After that once you get to the "Y" part of the crack I put a #3 or #2 cam (I forget) in the Left part of the "Y"
4. Then continued on up to the amazing flake. I would bring at least a dozen 2ft extenders for all placements. This will help on the rope drag.
5. Forget the single bolt off to the way right on the flake about 70ft up. Continue on up to the top of the flake and either finish the last 20ft (2 bolts only and zero placements) to the top. OR Go ahead and build a sweet anchor system on the ledge of Flake. Have your partner come up and then finish the climb.

NOTE: The beginning is very exhausting getting up that off-width took me about 15 minutes to get thru that area (25ft) I saw other climbers take 25-35 minutes to get past it. For that I would rate this climb a 5.9+ Joshua Tree rating. That's if you don't pull on gear or have anything bigger than a #4 BD. Dec 19, 2016
Oakland CA
caughtinside   Oakland CA
Man. That is one of the craziest route comments I have seen on this site ever. I like the idea of ratings based on how long it takes to climb wide sections. Dec 20, 2016
Fun to do as a night climb Dec 20, 2016
Truckee, CA
Nick_Cov   Truckee, CA
This was a very fun route and worth doing- definitely a single pitch. the chimney was well protected with a .75 and a single #4, both placed in horizontal cracks about 10 feet apart. After the Chimney follow fun 5.7ish hand jams and lie backs until you get to the top of the flake. Clip the bottom bolt from a good stance and trust your feet and go. I would call the top section of this route the crux. Definitely worth doing this route. Doubles up to #2 C4s, 1 #3 and 1 #4 were plenty. Runners on all gear. Jan 7, 2017
Hobo Greg
My Van
Hobo Greg   My Van
Wow what full value route! Long for J Tree, burly in the chimney, wish I had a 5 when I was looking at my super tipped out 4. But man, what a great route!! Mar 5, 2017
MariaZ Zimmerman
San Diego, CA
  5.8+ PG13
MariaZ Zimmerman   San Diego, CA
  5.8+ PG13
Expected to do this in two pitches since the book said there would be anchor bolts right before the slab. There weren't any bolts so I did it in a single pitch. My 60 meter rope was just long enough when belaying from the top.

Awesome climb and definitely worth the time. I am pretty jazzed about leading it. I am glad I resisted the urge to use my one BD 5 at the chimney and saving it for the upper flake. Apr 3, 2017
San Diego, CA
steverett   San Diego, CA
Definitely thought the start chimney/offwidth was the crux, had to bail last time b/c my legs were too tired from hiking to stem! Remember to face left, my partner tried to go up facing right and had a hard time turning around.

Didn't need anything bigger than a #3; you can place a finger cam (or two) in the undercling flake on the left, then a perfect #3 in the hand crack on the left a little higher. Once you get there you're golden. Rest of the climb was a mellow cruise. Oct 2, 2017
Ahram Park
Los Angeles, CA
Ahram Park   Los Angeles, CA
Great route with a no-gimme start. Just keep moving and leave the 5 on the ground. Fantastic finish. Dec 21, 2018
Matt Hagny
Matt Hagny  
Unless you're super-solid in squeeze chimneys, I would strongly encourage taking a #5. Or if there's any doubt about your second's ability to get thru that section, having a #5 to pull on eliminates potential complications.

Even on windstill days, it's impossible for the top-belayer and the follower to communicate on the bottom half the climb. Plan accordingly!

I've climbed this route several times, and although the crux is short, it seems more burly and desperate than Championship Wrestling (5.9 squeezey on Sports Challenge Rock). Possibly because the Flake is so polished in this spot. So I think The Flake is a solid 9+ even by Jtree standards. Dec 25, 2018
Cory F
San Francisco, CA
Cory F   San Francisco, CA
As previously mentioned, the bolts on the ledge before the top do not exist. This route can be done in one pitch. Be mindful of rope drag. 3 days ago
Russ Walling
Overlord @ FishProducts
Russ Walling   Overlord @ FishProducts
IndustryStandard™™™ for 5.8 3 days ago
Greg Opland    
Done it a bunch over the last 25 years.
Solid 5.8, but bring diverse crack skills. 3 days ago
Gabriele Benvenuto
Santa Ana, CA
Gabriele Benvenuto   Santa Ana, CA
Where else can you get this much variation on a single route? Really fun start that is not as slippery as some have said.. doable with just a #4, but with a #5 you'll be so cozy it'll feel like you're sitting at a campfire roasting marshmallows. Probably my favorite climb in the park, a must do! 1 day ago