Type: Sport, 50 ft
FA: Mark Powell, 1970
Page Views: 39,764 total · 192/month
Shared By: Brian Reynolds on May 4, 2002
Admins: C Miller, Greg Opland, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Cryptic is significantly steeper and a bit more strenuous than the SW Corner, but by going up the right side of Headstone's south face, it stays over the ground and thus lacks SW Corner's incredible exposure.

Nevertheless, it's a fun, well-protected, straight-up line in an amazing location. Not ready to lead it? The bolts up top are perfectly set up to TR this route, if you can manage to beat the crowds (much easier said than done).


4 bolts, bolted anchor/rap (all 3/8")


Yucca Valley, CA
Locker   Yucca Valley, CA
Steve, you were right about being able to sling the "Horn". But it was not needed so I didn't. But it would be easy to do, though unnecessary. It's a pretty cool little climb though. And the view is hard to beat. Needless to say, as we did when we did the So.Corner, we of course hiked in. Boy was it a long hike. Wish they would open Ryan so we could just drive on in. But being the "Boyscout" that I am, ...................and upstanding citizen....................... Aug 29, 2003
Steven Powers
Steven Powers  
i know at the top of the route it is pretty easy climbing but, anything can happen, after the last bolt the route gets kind of run out, so to keep from taking a long fall all you have to do is flip your rope behing one of the large flakes/horns at the top, or sling it either way it will keep you much safer. Peace. Oct 1, 2003
C Miller
C Miller   CA  
Great moves and position with an easy approach. Worth repeating at least once every season. Four stars out of five. Dec 11, 2003
Lassitude 33
Randy   Lassitude 33
FA of this fine climb was done in 1970/1 by Mark Powell who placed only a single bolt and used a pin or 2 higher. The other 2 bolts were added later by unknown climbers. Dec 17, 2003
Yucca Valley, CA
Locker   Yucca Valley, CA
Did this one again and agree that it is worth doing. SoW Corner also again and again. Both good ones for the masses........... May 19, 2004
I don't know about using the rap anchors up top for TR. They are fairly centered on the formation, if I remember correctly, and a fall could allow a big swing over the south face of the formation. Also, I didn't see any moves over 5.7. Nice route. Feb 26, 2005
Watched my climbing compadre TR this route, its more straight up and down than SW corner, more straight forward. From what I hear the moves ain't bad either. Apr 7, 2005
Salt Lake City, Utah
46and2   Salt Lake City, Utah
Excellent route that "feels" more safe than SW corner not that that route is bad. All the holds are there and the bolts are well placed. Don't worry about that featureless section up high, move right and its an easy romp to the top!! Jun 11, 2006
A good route! Sep 25, 2006
Chris Owen
Big Bear Lake
Chris Owen   Big Bear Lake  
It's been along time since I did this one. Repeated it yesterday and had a blast - what a fun route - don't know where the crux was, but didn't do any mantles. Melody Wong followed in Tevas (she doesn't recommend it) toting a huge SLR digital camera with a zoom lens.

I think this is a classic. Oct 22, 2006
Bill Olszewski
Colorado Springs, CO
Bill Olszewski   Colorado Springs, CO
Fun, fun, fun! Be sure to walk the upper ledge with your hands, not your feet, so you can hang from the horn for that shameless photo op. ;-) And try it at night sometime! Apr 8, 2007
Adam Stackhouse

Adam Stackhouse    
SMH Climber
Midvale, UT
SMH Climber   Midvale, UT
Sweet, This was the best climb I did on my first trip to JT. Jan 4, 2011
Harrison Dreves
Denver, Colorado
Harrison Dreves   Denver, Colorado
Anyone else get a sweet heelhook and campus move around the jug :)
Super fun to do at dusk! Feb 17, 2011
An excellent JT classic and a very smooth lead.One to do again and again.Superb location.There's a photo in the old Wolfe/Dominick guidebook of someone climbing Headstone in tennis shoes in the 1950s.The FA of this formation was apparently accomplished by throwing a rope over the top and batmaning up. Feb 18, 2011
Awesome climb, great Cliffhanger photo op 2/3 of the way up. On top are two older bolts with ring hangers and three new metolius bolts with two chains. Bring webbing to extend the anchor for TRing this climb or SW corner. Nov 7, 2011
Brandon Bateman
Montrose, CA
Brandon Bateman   Montrose, CA
This is a must-do climb for any level climber in j-tree. Jan 21, 2013
Jaime Saucedo
Los Angeles, California
Jaime Saucedo   Los Angeles, California
Does anyone know how to get to this specific site? I need like a map or some website where it shows how to get there.

Thanks, Oct 27, 2014
Greg Opland    
Right there...

C'mon man... at least do a little of the heavy lifting...

1) They'll give you a map when you pay to enter the park.
2) Look for Ryan Campground.
3) Drive to Ryan Campground.
4) Keep your eyes peeled to the east of the campground, can't miss it. Oct 30, 2014
Kemper Brightman
Kemper Brightman   Tucson
This is easily one of the top 5 routes... on the headstone. No idea how it got rated one of the top 100 sport routes in america by Climbing Magazine Nov 14, 2015
Fantastic route! This was my first trip to J-Tree and this was the apex of our trip. Lead this as the last climb of the trip, and my two climbing partners then TR'ed the route. I followed at the end to clean the quick draws and rap off the back, which is also a fun ride down! May 9, 2016