Type: Trad, 120 ft
FA: Randy Vogel and Charles Cole, February 1980
Page Views: 11,545 total · 57/month
Shared By: C Miller on Jul 3, 2002
Admins: C Miller, Greg Opland, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route

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This climb is located towards the left end of the wall and lies just to the right of the obvious straight-in crack of White Lightning. This was the first of the many Poodle routes in Joshua Tree, and what it all means...well who knows, but this is a fabulous route.

The lower (crux) section of the route is characterized by face climbing with small wires for pro. Not your ordinary clip-up, it makes you question how far you want to go off that last piece...higher, the difficulty eases until a steeper section is encountered at the top. To descend rap off with two ropes from bolts nearby or head (climber's) right to a 2 bolt rap anchor atop The Importance Of Being Ernest (80' rap). As an alternative there are several ways to walk/downclimb off as well.


Pro to 2.5". Small wires and cams work well for the lower part of this route; higher you'll want some bigger stuff.
So who DOES know what's up with all of the poodle routes? Inquiring minds want to know ... Oct 10, 2002
Lots of people know what's up with all the poodle routes. Precious tradition might dictate, however, that such tales be reserved for the late night b.s. session over HVCG campfires, rather than speculated upon and bastardized over the internet. Nov 13, 2002
The JTree Commandment:

Thou shalt not bastardize the poodle joke.

Oh, and the other JTree Commandment:

Thou shalt urinate on thyself at campfire, and cultivate thy foul language when breaking fast, and covet thy SUV-driving neighbor's wife, and misrepresent thy identity when thy tent is impounded by the NPS. Just no bastardizing poodle jokes. Dec 18, 2002
uh ... yeah, right. What he said. Except the part about urination. Dec 19, 2002
The whole "Poodle" thing got started with this route, a tribute of sorts to Charles Cole's giant "Standard" poodle "Gus." It expanded to poke fun at the various macho, pompus or just stupid sounding route names being put up during the 80s. (ie: "Scary Monsters = Scary Poodles; Knight In Shining Armor = Poodle In Shining Armor; etc.) It just got out of control (very silly) from there. (Tales of Power = Tails of Poodles; The Atom Smashers = The Poodle Smasher). Soon other people who had no idea of what prompted all this were naming poodle routes too. Some of the other Poodle routes are quite good too. Jan 13, 2003
C Miller
C Miller   CA  
Let's see some more Poodle Route names~! Jan 13, 2003
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
The way I did the crux after a few false starts involved a strange mantle like move off of my right palm... behind me. I went up and down 3 times looking for a more secure way, thinking that a fall from there if one slipped would be up-side-down. Consider a helmet for this route. Apr 15, 2003
Joseph Lee
Joseph Lee  
Maybe 10c. The first thirty feet is all business. The moves are sustained and technical. The gear is bomber and thin. There seemed to be two cruxes packed into this section. A thin layback move and then a long awkward jam to the left. Oct 10, 2004
Oakland, CA
Sirius   Oakland, CA
So good... Spot on about the two cruxes on top of each other. The runout over the small roof and the topout also kept me focused. Less fun were the ropes coming down from the parties rapping above and the peanut gallery waiting in line for nearby routes below.

Careful about where you place pro - some of those tapers are essential for fingerlocks. Great line! Dec 30, 2005
Andy Laakmann
Bend, OR
Andy Laakmann   Bend, OR  
Best on the wall IMO. While the first 50 feet is the technical crux, the mental crux for most will be the small roof about half way up. You'll want a yellow alien (or equivalent) to protect this move. Expect a little spice as you surmount the roof. Nov 6, 2006
SirVato   Boulder
This is a cool route!! It looked pretty scary from the ground but, there is excellent small gear whenever you need it for the first
crux(s). Protect the roof above with a green OR yellow alien. These moves are not hard but the gear will be below you so if you come off you could slam kinda hard in to the slab (maybe) Jan 4, 2007
Guy H.
Fort Collins CO
Guy H.   Fort Collins CO
A single 70M rope will get you down from the anchors on top and to the right.

This is a beautiful thin line with great gear at the cruxes. Save a yellow alien for the roof. This is the only gear for ~15ft before and ~20ft after the roof. Mar 24, 2007
Las Vegas, NV
J W   Las Vegas, NV
really good route with solid pro where it counts. not for the budding 5.10 leader, though!

i thought that while there were two cruxes in the first 30 feet, the upper one was definitely the business. the polished feet make it pretty exciting, too. Oct 28, 2007
San Diego, CA
mschlocker   San Diego, CA
Great route. Mostly face climbing with a thin crack for pro. My friend talked me into bringing extra TCUs and I was very glad to have them, and not just for the bottom section. Nov 26, 2007
Oakland CA
caughtinside   Oakland CA
you can sew this thing up at the crux with a set of stoppers plus some brass. I wouldn't say the brass is mandatory though. Very slick from all the feet paddling around on this one. Dec 15, 2008
Chris M
Hailey, ID
Chris M   Hailey, ID
Technical feet and thin locks make this an exciting and classic route. This route protects reasonably well enough, but be prepared to do some hard climbing above thin gear. I remember getting a bomber Black Alien placement down low as well as some thin wires. Oct 26, 2009
Adam Stackhouse

Adam Stackhouse    
Leading past the lower thin section leaves the rest of the climbing in a much more relaxed mode (e.g., bigger stances) Oct 26, 2009
Chris Owen
Big Bear Lake
Chris Owen   Big Bear Lake  
Did this for the first time 20 years ago, and slipped and slid all over the crux. Yesterday not so much but it left me thinking that it's a tad hard for 5.10b, but perhaps I didn't find the correct solution. Takes wires very well - there's a bomber wire placement between the two opening cruxes. Three stars, as it hits White Lightning in the top section and one could bail there, so not completely pure.

So, my middle-aged ambition is to cruise this route with just wires. Mar 26, 2010
Parker, Colorado
  5.10c PG13
DavidHH   Parker, Colorado
  5.10c PG13
Maybe it was just the style or the amount of blood I left on this route but it seems hard for the grade. I onsighted several other routes in this range but this one had me stumped right at the first crux, tore my finger up pretty good and lobbed onto a green alien about 5 times. Maybe 10- after you know the moves but harder for the onsight. Apr 15, 2011
Simon H
Oakland, CA
Simon H   Oakland, CA
Excellent route with thin and insecure crux. A sandbag at .10b IMO. Oct 31, 2011
Andrea Cockfield
Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
Andrea Cockfield   Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
Yep - left some blood and sweat but no tears...technical moves on the face. If you like thin face climbs, like I do, this one is thin and facey and fun! Be prepared to shed a layer of skin here and there to pull the poodle. Aug 11, 2014
Best route on the left side of the wall. Would agree with some that it is a sand bag. Nov 3, 2014
Jux Tolle
Los Angeles, CA
Jux Tolle   Los Angeles, CA
Lay back up the crux a bit to some small finger cracks. Feet are there, but they are nubs and smears. Pro is mostly nuts in the beginning but you can use some x4's... and a rack up to 2 once it opens up.. Smooth and calculated is the way to climb. It bulks up as you ascend, and eventually gets to the apex which can be navigated two ways; 1. lateral left smear with a strong single move to a jug that is on the lip of the crack; 2. Stay within the crack on the right and power your way up technically. Either way they are very fun. Get funky on the poodle people. Mar 24, 2015
Kyle Wills
Chicago, IL
Kyle Wills   Chicago, IL
I like Pigs in heat substantially more. Poodles had some good hard moves off the deck and maintained a similar degree of difficulty but it was super straightforward. Whereas Pigs gave you the opportunity to work on multiple Jtree techniques. Kinda like comparing WL to Dung Fu. Oct 12, 2015
Ryan Strickland
Idyllwild, CA
Ryan Strickland   Idyllwild, CA
I got this one onsight. It felt harder and more sustained to me than Papa Woolsey and Sundance which both go at the same grade and are relatively similar styles of climbing. Maybe it was just placing small gear and trusting it that made this one feel tougher. It protects well though, as others have stated. I didn't need to layback any moves, instead I moved up on finger jams and crimps. Dec 6, 2016
john macleanakawhitey
north providence, RI
john macleanakawhitey   north providence, RI
"poodle bites, poodle chews it" from a song by the gone but not forgotten Zappa Mar 6, 2017
Rolf Rybak
Penticton BC
Rolf Rybak   Penticton BC
Climbed this 27 years ago , 5 years ago and last week. It has become super slick in the last 5 years. Probably more like 10c/d now with the polished foot holds at the bottom quarter. Some one should remove the rap anchours above to stop the gang bang top roping. Jan 21, 2018