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Direct South Face

5.9, Trad, 200 ft, 3 pitches,  Avg: 2.7 from 120 votes
FA: Jim Barker, John Mokri, Bob Dominick & Norm Saude, January 1969, FFA: Chris Gonzalez, May 1975
California > Joshua Tree NP > Indian Cove > Indian Cove Cam… > Moosedog Tower

Description

This route starts out of the boulders at the base of the south face, in a prominent left-facing dihedral with an obvious roof capping it. Can't miss it.

Pitch 1: Climb the dihedral to the roof crack, set some gear and pull the crux move (burly 5.9) up and over the right corner of the roof. Easy climbing up the seriously featured face above to a bolt. Belay.

Pitch 2: Climb out of the alcove above the belay, taking the very obvious left-leaning crack (5.7). After angling up and left, the crack goes vertical. Continue up and over into a notch below the upper part of the tower. Belay (#2, #3 Camalots good here).

Pitch 3: A short face section (5.6) leads up and left to gain the bottom of an easy crack leading to the summit ridge. Once on the ridge, run the rope via the easiest route across to the anchor bolts at the back of Moosedog.

Single line rap off the back of the tower from bolts.

Protection

Standard rack including nuts and small to large cams

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Moosedog
[Hide Photo] Moosedog
Doug at the roof
[Hide Photo] Doug at the roof
Climbers on Direct South Face. Photo credit: EJ
[Hide Photo] Climbers on Direct South Face. Photo credit: EJ
Setting up the crux pro on Oct 31. photo by deutschman.
[Hide Photo] Setting up the crux pro on Oct 31. photo by deutschman.
Direct South Face at the crux
[Hide Photo] Direct South Face at the crux
Another look at the roof. No matter how often I look, it's still a tough little move.
[Hide Photo] Another look at the roof. No matter how often I look, it's still a tough little move.
Surmounting the roof of P1.  Photo by Tom Evans.  www.elcap-pics.com
[Hide Photo] Surmounting the roof of P1. Photo by Tom Evans. www.elcap-pics.com
Moosedog Tower - SW Face
[Hide Photo] Moosedog Tower - SW Face
Alan Nelson onsighting the big roof of the Direct So Face in tennis shoes, Feb 1978. Unknown photographer, Original submission source: Pywiak (rc.com)
[Hide Photo] Alan Nelson onsighting the big roof of the Direct So Face in tennis shoes, Feb 1978. Unknown photographer, Original submission source: Pywiak (rc.com)
Looking down the route at the belay above P2. Photo by Tony Bubb, 1/05.
[Hide Photo] Looking down the route at the belay above P2. Photo by Tony Bubb, 1/05.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
 
[Hide Comment] The entire route can be done in one 200' (60m) pitch, although rope drag can be unpleasant. Jan 3, 2003
[Hide Comment] Don't let the "burly 5.9" description intimidate you. The gear is good (for the crux sequence, anyway), and the move can be done comfortably even by those of us that don't work out. The crux is figuring out how to get your feet into position so you can push through instead of pull.

I fall in between one and three on the pitch count: it's nice to do one pitch to the single bolt/gear anchor, and a second to the summit. Jan 9, 2003
Rick L. Jackson
Thousand Oaks, Ca.
[Hide Comment] On Thanksgiving of 2003 I probably made one of the HARDEST falls off the roof, despite two previous successfull leads. Double - double length runners [to prevent rope drag]. By luck I didn't break the left arm, but just to let future climbers know... if the runners are double-double _had 4 pieces in the roof, each equalized by a separate DL runner, then both equalized by another_ that if you take the fall that only 1 piece is necessary. The impact will absorb allkinetic energy, and from there it's a sliding fall where 1 piece is sufficient! Best to drink beer afterwards and call it a weekend. Mar 31, 2004
[Hide Comment] This can be done in one pitch with one 70m rope, all the way to the rap chains on the back. Don't place much (any?) pro, maybe 3 or 4 pieces, and it will just reach by about 4 inches. Aug 19, 2004
Ryan Avery
  5.9
[Hide Comment] The shallow flaring crack leading to the roof protects well with yellow and green aliens. I think there was a good thin nut in there as well.I thought this move was relatively easy for Josh 5.9 if you use the two pockets on the face for hand holds and use a little finesse. I would say that if you tried to use the roof crack only it would be a burly 5.9 move indeed.The upper sections are easy climbing but tricky pro. If you pass up some pro options you will be running it out for a ways on easy 5.7 territory. Feb 26, 2005
Bo Johnston
  5.9-
[Hide Comment] We climbed the route in one pitch on a 60M rope and used every inch. I didn't place pro on the last crack 'cause of drag. Feb 22, 2006
Blitzo
 
[Hide Comment] Cool route! Sep 22, 2006
Isaac T.
Oceanside, CA
  5.9
[Hide Comment] Took a nice hunk of skin off my hand falling at the roof. Pretty sweet route though. The bolt at the top of the first pitch is still there, just a spinner though. Chains are at the top of the real summit after the scramble Dec 26, 2006
Darren D.
  5.9
[Hide Comment] A star for each memorable move on this route (2). Apr 11, 2007
Lluis Penalver-Aguila
Cambridge, Massachusetts
[Hide Comment] What a fun climb! Mellow start up the dihedral to the roof. Pitch 1 crux is the stem/heel hook at the roof onto the face. Pitch 2 crux is just above the belay station. A few unusual moves at the second crux but the holds and pro are solid. Only feels like a 5.9 at the two cruxes! Mar 31, 2009
Carl A
brooklyn, ny
 
[Hide Comment] nice long moderate for j tree but is a one (5.9) move wonder. Jan 21, 2010
[Hide Comment] If you are nervous about leading through the roof, you can Free solo the route to the right and set up a top rope at the first belay station. Apr 5, 2010
Souljah
Northern NM
 
[Hide Comment] A tad harder if you jam the roof direct (contrived variation). Jun 2, 2013
Lisa J
5.9
[Hide Comment] Really nice route with good rock. The roof is a fun challenge. Beautiful views at the summit and easy rappel down. Bring a camera!
Dec 11, 2013
Eric Swanson
Fresno, CA
[Hide Comment] Fun route overall. Favorite part is the roof section at the beginning which can be protected well. We did it in two pitches.
Dec 2, 2015
thunderhead
Oceanside, CA
 
[Hide Comment] Honestly one of my favorite routes in Joshua Tree I don't know why it doesn't have more stars. We kind of went into it blind and had no idea what to expect so we were just pleasantly surprised the whole time. I laughed out loud 3 or 4 times. The rap off the back was a great cap to a great climb on a great day in the great state of California. Also, if you want, check out the (i think) 5.6 variant that heads right from the first belay and around the corner of moosejaw or dog tower, really cool. A+. Great job everyone Nov 1, 2016
[Hide Comment] The roof is cool. Unfortunately you have to do a lot more blah climbing to get to the top. 1.5 stars out of 4. Feb 21, 2019