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5.6, Trad, 50 ft,
Avg: 2.5 from 165 votes
California > Joshua Tree NP > Belle Campgroun… > Belle Campground > Castle Rock > Castle Rock - N Side
Occupied Campsite Rule In Effect!
Any route or boulder problem that starts out of or near an occupied campsite may not be done without first obtaining the campsite occupant's permission.
On the right side of the Northwest face just right of Count Dracula lies this climb up a left-facing corner with plates and jugs.
A short climb but excellent nonetheless, this features good rock and steep fun moves. A good choice on a warm day as it gets plenty of shade.
Gear to 2.5"
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Graham attempting to solo Diagnostics.
Jon McCartie mid-crux on Diagnostics. If the first 15 feet of this route went on for a hundred or so, it would be quite the classic. Alas, it suffers from the JTree "if only it were longer" syndr…
Fun climb. Me belayed by Agina Sedler
Heidi exploring Diagnostics. (low crux w an unexpectedly slippery left wall)
Diagnostics on Castle Rock, North side
I decided to get onto the face near the top. No protection but easier climbing.
Half way up, just about to transition to the face.
The entire route is in the photo; climber at the base for scale.
Fun climb. Me belayed by Agina Sedler
Scott after a fine trad lead!
The opening move...
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Rob "rk" Kalinowski
My first lead climb in J-Tree! Sharp! Tape up and welcome to J-Tree! This route reminds me of the East Slab on the Dome in Boulder Canyon, but this is a more direct line and a more solid, consistant crack. Jam up and go. Eventually, the crack peters out, and it gets "frictiony", so beginner leaders should put in a piece before leaving the crack! Jam and go, and have fun!
Jul 9, 2002
this route seems harder than 5.6.
Jul 10, 2002
The start of this climb is somewhat intimidating looking for a 5.6 climb, but the crack eats up pro and good climbing follow for a nice short route. Very fun then as fun downclimb to the right gets you back to the base.
Mar 16, 2003
Around Boulder, CO
The start was a little hard, physically, as the two walls leaned out to prevent a good stem on the polished rock. Still, the lie-back technique was brute force, but not tricky there, so it was not really a technical move over 5.6 or 5.7- just physically hard.
Apr 14, 2003
This has to be one of the cooler 5.6s in the park. Oh yeah! Walk off down to the right...
Feb 9, 2005
As a corollary to Chris' "A good choice on a warm day as it gets plenty of shade", this is a poor choice on a cold day as it gets no sun whatsoever.
Jan 19, 2006
Start the first 10-15' with a stem or a lieback. Stem worked great for me but my legs are a little longer. From there you can get a great stance for most of the rest of the climb by left foot in the crack. The first 15' is the crux and probably more like 5.7 as you need to be sensitive about where you stem - the feet arent that great.
You could pretend the right arete isnt there with huge handholds and climb it like a nice 5.7 hand crack. Its probably 5.5 with the arete/face holds. This is a good route for practicing hand jams.
The "walk off" is a 3rd/4th class patina plate/semi-chimney downclimb or 5th class patina plate downclimb to the climbers right.
Apr 30, 2007
Be judicious with your feet at the start and don't take the grade for granted (if you're leading 5.7 to 9). It is steep an strenusous for several moves at the start with slick feet (despite the very sharp rock for your hands). I blew off but fortunately my gear held (a gold Alien!) and I "only" shredded my fingers on the very sharp rock. Debrided, taped-up and finished the route (and several others over the next few days). Very good climb nonetheless.
Nov 16, 2007
Fun Climb with a low crux. Nick onsighted. Exciting down climb.
Mar 23, 2008
Got spanked by this climb. I kept blowing it at the crux and flying right off. My girlfriend then tried and got the second piece in, then are friend Don finally finished the lead.
In between our lame attempts, two guys came through and soloed it quite beautifully.
This was a final trip for the season to Josh. I think it was just her way of letting us know who's boss.
Apr 14, 2008
Simi Valley, CA
Great route, a bit easier than 5.6 if your tall and a bit harder if your short.
Jun 21, 2010
Was very much looking forward to this climb, but upon checking out the top section it became very apparent that something was either attracting a lot of bees about 2/3 the way up or they had decided to make their little bee home inside the crack. Thus, with my heart torn in pieces I eventually agreed with my partners that it was probably a bad idea to go creeping up into their home turf.
Soooo be mindful of bees in the crack until it gets colder.
Sep 11, 2010
We did this route on Oct 11th. The bees are still there and still mad. Be careful.
Oct 12, 2010
No bees on 1-15-11. Really fun lead. Didn't use any nuts or tiny cams. Rated G climb - lots of places for solid protection and really good stances to place pro. Brought a full rack of cams up to 2.5. Also brought a few large hexes and loved them.
Jan 16, 2011
First lead on this today. Beginning few moves are a bit strenuous, but totally mellow stances for placing pro thereafter. Using a crash pad at the bottom will help in the event you slip off the first move or two. Very fun, and a great line.
Jan 16, 2011
First few feet seemed pretty stiff for a 5.6. I thought a 5.7- might be more accurate. Slipped and landed on my butt starting it. No damage done, except to my ego. Overall a very fun climb. Best at it's grade on Castle Rock, and better than Bonnie Brae, by far.
Mar 8, 2011
The real trick on this climb is the first 15 feet or so. The good news is it has a flat sandy base, so if you take a couple grounders before getting your first piece in, like I did, the landing is good. After that the route mellows. Bring all you medium to large cams and rack everything on your right side. Down low the crack will eat all you medium sized cams (.75 to 3)and near the top I placed a #5 nearly tipped out. Rack a couple small cams and nuts on your left to build your anchor.
Apr 5, 2011
Overlord @ FishProducts
"The real trick on this climb is the first 15 feet or so. The good news is it has a flat sandy base, so if you take a couple grounders before getting your first piece in, like I did, the landing is good."
Apr 5, 2011
After reading some of the other posts here, I conclude that the start must really be the crux for a shorter climber. I'm 5'10" and it was a bit of a stretch for me...my GF had some real problems starting, but she was only 5'0". I took a look at this on the way out, going home a couple weeks ago, and it certainly is an intimidating-looking route for "only" 5.6!
May 1, 2011
running springs Ca
Nice start (don't lay back steam it, the friction is all there), before you know it your up the first 15'. No more than a 5.6 for the tree
Mar 28, 2012
Kinda hard to get 10ft off the ground for a 5.6! Then a cruise.
Nov 17, 2012
I'll add that a
is part of the "rack for this climb! I've sure seen a lot of climbers do butt-plants on this one! (Myself included!)
Apr 15, 2013
Nice 5.6 crack after the pumpy 5.8-ish start
Mar 18, 2016
San Diego, CA
As of December '17 there are two new-ish looking bolts with rap rings at the top of the formation. I built a gear anchor at the top of this climb but had my partner check out the tippy top... and to our surprise we found these bolts (guidebook did not indicate any). I also saw a lot of chopped bolts near by so there may be some kind of bolt war on this thing. Anyway the rap puts you on the face just left of Diagnostics - pretty convenient.
I really enjoyed the start of this climb. Stemming the corner felt really slick so I just jammed straight in, and used 'body english' rubbing my manly hips all over the left wall. Good stuff.
Dec 12, 2017
Stout 5.6 with great moves, pro, and stone; this is what it's all about!
Mar 5, 2019