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Routes in Saddle Rocks - Skirt (North Face)

I Smell a Rat T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Raging Bull Dike S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Space Mountain T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Unicorner, The T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Type: Trad, 105 ft
FA: Mike Hatchett, Dave Hatchett, Chris Snyder, Tracy Dorton & Brian Mulvey, 1988
Page Views: 3,899 total, 21/month
Shared By: C Miller on Jul 6, 2002 with updates
Admins: C Miller, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Description

One prominent feature on this part of Saddle Rocks is a large left-facing corner system (The Unicorner). Start up that climb for 20' then traverse right on a fairly awkward ledge passing a bolt until you reach a spot you can stand up. From here the climbs goes more or less straight up past 7 more bolts on steep, exposed and sometimes a little loose patina plates. There is a slight runout near the top but the climbing is much easier.

Rap off the top with 2 ropes although if careful it can be done with a single 60 meter rope (70 meter rope is better).

Great steep climbing in an exposed atmosphere unlike much of Saddle Rocks which is known for slabs. If this climb sounds famliar it was pictured on the back cover of the 1992 Vogel guide (1st printing).

History

Mike and Dave Hatchett spotted the line, and they and the rest of the team alternated placing bolts on lead. The consensus by the five climbers on the rating was 5.10d, and it was intended as being reported as 5.10c in keeping with Joshua Tree standards. In Randy Vogel's 1992 Joshua Tree guide, Space Mountain was listed as 5.10b. The route was re-bolted in 2015.

Location

This climb lies on the north side of Saddle Rocks, which is around the left skyline as viewed from the road. Approach as for Saddle Rocks proper, but once near the base head left and scramble up talus around to the north face.

Protection

8 bolts, bolted anchor/rap (3/8"), gear to 1.5" for the lower part of the climb.
mhagny
  5.10a
mhagny  
  5.10a
Disregard all the comments about the grade previously being 10+ and sustained. It's definitely not more than 10a by Josh standards, and only a couple moves at 10a. Yeah, some flakes are wiggly, but that only adds to the excitement, not the difficulty. Extremely fun route! Enjoy! Nov 26, 2017
Kevin Kent
Flagstaff, AZ
Kevin Kent   Flagstaff, AZ
Personally I found this route to be quite scary because of the huge number of loose flakes. I accidentally kicked a smaller one off that my belayer had to dodge, if any of the bigger ones come off they could definitely be rope choppers. Feb 1, 2017
D-Storm
  5.10+
D-Storm  
  5.10+
This thing was a wild onsight ride! Very memorable. I felt like the grade was old school – no move is harder than 10a, but it seemed pretty sustained at the grade, and it certainly requires more mental savvy than usual for 10a. By modern standards it might be more like 10+/11-, but I realize this is J-Tree. I make this comment more to warn new 5.10 leaders considering this route. Two ropes would make it less stressful. Apr 1, 2014
Thought this rig was bitchin'! You have to respect this climb early as you crawl out the ledge on your hands and knees while peering out at the exposure, and then basically let your body swing off into space while hanging on a big jug, feeling all Stallone-like! Some flexies here and there, but my 200lb frame didn't rip anything off.

Important to note - the guidebooks say 2 ropes are needed to rappel. This is not true. One 60M will just make it to a ledge about 10' up and left of the start. Easy downclimb from there. Nov 8, 2012
Kole DeCou
Flagstaff, AZ
 
Kole DeCou   Flagstaff, AZ
 
I gave this climb an extra star because all of the holds flex. And the start is just cool. More fun that your average JTree outing. Feb 27, 2007
Randy
  5.10b
Randy  
  5.10b
The route has nice position and good moves, but suffers from an inordinate amount of loose-ish rock (the plates are not all particularly solid). This makes the route less that top-notch in quality, but definitely worth doing. Beware rope-drag, slings would be helpful too. Jan 14, 2003
Chris Owen
Big Bear Lake
  5.10b
Chris Owen   Big Bear Lake  
  5.10b
I was amazed by this route which reminded me of Figures on a Landscape. It's a good hot weather alternative.

Position, exposure, big feel, varied technique. Jan 7, 2003
C Miller
CA
 
C Miller   CA  
 
A TR direct start to this leading into the first bolt on the route has been done at 5.11+ or so. Dec 14, 2002
Protect the crawl out to the first bolt by a cam in the crack on the left. You have to shuffle back and clean it after clipping the bolt otherwise you'll be stopped dead in your tracks from rope drag. A top climb. Always a good hold when you need one. Oct 31, 2002