Type: Trad, 400 ft, 3 pitches
FA: Bob Dominick and John Wolfe, April 1976
Page Views: 15,950 total · 77/month
Shared By: Rob "rk" Kalinowski on Apr 11, 2002 with improvements by Randy
Admins: C Miller, Greg Opland, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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This is overall, a mellow, very enjoyable 3-pitch climb on a warm, interesting wall. As you hike up to the base, but before you get there, while you still have a good view of the wall, locate the big brown splotch or dot, and then the brown ring with the lighter rock inside (looks vaguely like the sun) which is above it to the right of the first spot. There is also a less obvious ring below and left of the dot, which if you are very hot and dehydrated, might look like a sun with a big flame on it. [All guides since 2006 show route correctly] Once you find the "sun" and other dot I talked about, look for an obvious horizontal ledge below it. Look left and below, following that ledge until you see an obvious crack, which starts from the ground, angling up and to the right and then to the left. This is your start. Hike up and begin.P1: Short, but tons of rope drag. Start on the crack (5.6) described above, until you reach the ledge, and begin to traverse right (5.6). Leaders, don't forget to protect your followers here. They could be in danger of decking with a swing if they fall here if you don't protect this traverse. Move to the right, until you see an obvious crack/small chimney and go up. Set a belay in the slot about 10 - 15 ft above, where it is comfortable. This will be just to the left of the burning sun. ha ha. I'm serious.P2: Head up above the crack/chimney, then stay right up a thinner crack until you can face climb up and right into another crack that becomes a left facing dihedral. Belay on a ledge in the dihedral. P3: Continue up the corner until you are about 15 or 20 feet below an overhang atop the dihedral.  At this point, make a someone unobvious traverse right and up onto and the around the arete of the corner system (5.7). Face climbing above this will lead to the crack system of Dappled Mare. Continue up the somewhat discontinous cracks (5.7) up to the summit of the formationTop out, set up an anchor and belay. Congrats! To return to your bags, head right, then down a short distance off the back of the formation into a gully of sorts. Continue down and right through slabs and boulders. With a bit of route finding, it won't exceed class 3.[Delete this comment, but the original description of pitch 2 is completely wrong. Following the crack up and left is not the route and has lead to a number of climbers getting lost. W e had to "rescue a group of climbers last weekend who followed the description as originally posted and couldn't figure out how to get back right (or surmount the overhangs) to back on route.Also, references to the very early Josh Classic guide - long out of print - are not relevant. Josh West (2006), Miramontes' guides (all 3 editions), Joshua Classic Routes & Boulders (2010), Joshua Tree Climbs (2015) and Bob Gaines Selected guide ALL describe the route correctly.]


Pro to 2.5 inches, but I brought up to a #3 Camalot. Bring some long slings!


I have climbed this route three times. it is one of the best for the grade. Jul 10, 2002
Good description! You're right, the Vogel Classic Climbs book shows the start too far left. A few additions: I combined your pitches 1 and 2 into one pitch by running it out after traversing the ledge at the start, so that the rope runs pretty much straight up. Then you don't have to worry about protecting your second on the traverse, and there's no rope drag. So, if you're comfortable with it, don't place any pro after the starting crack until you pull the small chimney after the traverse.

Also, the last pitch is definitely hard to find. From the belay, a small roof crack up and left looks appealing, but it's hard! Don't go that way unless you can climb 5.9 - I made it but just barely. Apparently The Swift pullls a small overlap to the right before you would traverse left to the roof crack.

Jan Wellford Apr 24, 2003
A favorite route. The 5.8 start variation eliminates the traversing and rope drag problems and adds to the excitement/frustration as the case may be. Start in a left facing corner about 40-50ft left of the fall line of the main dihedral. This pitch ends at the blocky ledge at the base of the dihedral. You can just about eliminate rope drag by doing a short pitch and seting up a belay on a stance about 15ft above where the route escapes the dihedral and goes out right. One more pitch gets you to the top. May 12, 2003
Ryan Avery
Ryan Avery  
This route has rope drag for sure. I followed the advice of the above posters and still found a bit of rope drag. I would recommend doing running it out at the traverse to minimize the drag if you are solid at 5.7. Otherwise deal with the drag for safety. Gain the overlapping corner on pitch 3 for some fun exposed moves and avoid the tempation to go straight up the dihedral, its definitely 5.9.Do Dappled Mare instead. Its right there and is a way better climb for your time. Feb 26, 2005
Jason Shatek
Jason Shatek  
This route felt 5.7 to me. It's pretty mellow with some great climbing. The gear was plentiful. The first rwo pitches are easy to find, however the third is pretty confusing. So here's my take on it, at the top of P2 you will most likely belay at a tree. Looking directly up from the tree you will see a really big arete/roof type feature. Follow the shallow crack to the left; to the chimney. The chimney is pretty easy, my climbing compadre Larry Pedigo led that pitch and said it felt like 5.5 or 5.6 to him. Anyway, go as high as you can in the chimney then turn onto the arete. Its pretty protectable. To get off this climb we hung a climbers left and did some down climbing for at least a few hundred yards and then rapped off the back side, there are bolts all over the place over there. One rope is sufficient, butits a long hike back to your stuff. Apr 7, 2005
Rope drag was rough, but doable. I, like everyone else was suckered into trying for the roof routes rather than heading up onto the arete. The off-route traverse to the left route up the roof was particularly spicy... If you end P3 upon reaching the summit plateau (at the base of a right-leaning class 4 pillar up a chimney- looking up you can see the gully continues up the slope to the top... 4th class, maybe a little 5.nuthin'), you can 3rd class it the rest of the way... view from the top is outstanding. May 18, 2005
Getting onto the arete in pitch 3 is much easier than it looks. The moves can be well protected, but you may want to back clean some of the gear to avoid excessive rope drag. Oct 30, 2005
Scott Edlin
boulder, co
Scott Edlin   boulder, co
this route pleasantly fulfilled my need to lead a multi-pitch in the park. the progressively trickier nature of each of the pitches eases you in. moving onto the arete was not as bad as it looked. The crux crack was short but a blast! belaying in a large scoop just above the crux makes for a short pitch, good communication, and an easy scramble to the top. you might want to bring a light windshell for this climb. scramble off right from the top and follow the two dead trees down the gully. Apr 12, 2006
Josh Hibbard
Los Angeles Area, CA
Josh Hibbard   Los Angeles Area, CA
I've done this route a few times now and have always enjoyed it. It is windy in areas so a few double runners in select spots will really help with the rope drag. Down climb to the climbers right if you want to get back to the start of the route. Mar 27, 2007
The direct start variation is pretty burly and run out but I'm not sure I'd rate it at full 5.8. Once up into the seam its pretty straight forward to regain the ledge where the standard traverse joins. This isn't a cruiser by any stretch. The holds are large and abundant, its just that they are so damn awkward and some of the sequences aren't straight forward in my opinion. Jan 31, 2009
Dave Daly
Kernville, CA
Dave Daly   Kernville, CA
Did the direct start (perhaps 5.8-) and rejoined the route as it traverses in from the left. Nice route. Feb 23, 2009
Kyle Wills
Chicago, IL
Kyle Wills   Chicago, IL
It's been said over and over again but after having done dappled mare and enjoyed every minute of it, I found the arete move on pitch 3 down right scary. Retrospectively it wasn't that bad but the next twenty feet I felt like I was pulling the rock up after me the rope drag was so bad. Definitely long runners. May 29, 2009
Colin Parker
Idyllwild, CA
Colin Parker   Idyllwild, CA  
Climbed this route on Saturday for the first time. I don't think that route finding is an issue at all (where to move onto the arete is somewhat obvious) but there are numerous places that you can belay from for each of the pitches. I personally felt that the only redeeming 5.7 climbing was the short crux on pitch three. The rest of the climb felt a bit too broken and easy 5th class to me. That said, it's easily protectable and long, so probably a good choice for folks just getting comfortable at the grade. Rope drag isn't an issue if you use long runners where necessary. Jun 15, 2009
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
Best climbed as 2 full-length pitches. Jan 2, 2010
This is a great climb. Satisfying long, the pro is good, and even the scramble down afterward is fun. There are only a handful of 5.7 moves; getting off the deck and a few moves on P3. We didn't have a problem with rope drag. Just don't over-protect, extend your draws (especially on P1 and before moving right onto the arete on P3) and you'll be fine.
Pitch 1 - Go up only about 20 feet, traverse right. Set up anchor in chimney right of mini-roof. Pitch 2 - One section is a bit run-out, but where the climbing is easy. We set up a belay about 100 feet up pitch 2 by slinging a large, flat boulder (above a stuck silver nut). Pitch 3 - When you see a roof with a couple of crack options, turn right and get up on an arete with a jammable crack. This crack is the crux. After that it's a walk up. Used #3 and #4 cams to build anchor at the top. Feb 12, 2010
Did this route for the second time in a year and have always found it a very friendly climb. Some pro placements are interesting and it is definetly a study in the use of plenty of slings to avoid rope drag ,especially on the crux chimney pitch, as failure to do so might lead to a stuck rope in this perfect rope-sized notch hidden within the inside corner of the arete. Oct 26, 2010
Best beta I ever heard regarding this climb "Keep it 5.7!" Nov 16, 2010
Palm Desert, CA
DaveGustafson   Palm Desert, CA
FINALLY climbed The Swift the other weekend. A bit on the cold and windy side that day - made for moments of dreaming about a warm belay jacket instead of a lousy windshirt.

Anyways, my suggestion is to pay close attention to two reviews posted on this route... Jason Shatek and chuckwalla... at least that makes the most sense given our ascent of the route. P2 is longer than you think. I made the mistake of belaying of the slopey ledge instead of cruising up a little further to the tree. For P3, if you do manage to belay at the small tree, look straight ahead - don't be tempted to head to the right. Follow Jason's advice.

The descent... as with all things Josh, ended up being an adventure. We followed Jason's advice (probably not the best in this case) and it spit us out by the Rock Garden - pain in the ass walk. Not the best, but it worked. In retrospect, rather sound descent advice is given in the main route description. Dec 5, 2010
The walk-off descent goes to climbers right,left through a short split-boulder corridor and then a hard right down a long boulder gully.Stay on the left side of this gully until about mid-way then cross to the right when feasible.From there stay in the middle of the gully all the way down to the arroyo.Rapping into the Rock Garden only works if you haven't left anything at the base of the climb. Dec 16, 2010
Encinitas, CA
RockyR   Encinitas, CA
Did this route on 3.24.11. I followed on all the pitches. From what I can remember, it was windy and cold. The last pitch is when I had to transition to the arete. To me that is the best section of the entire route. Aug 12, 2011
Craig Childre
Lubbock, Texas
Craig Childre   Lubbock, Texas
I went up this December 2005. Weeks before our ascent, a leader fell off at or above the crux. Compound fracture of his ankle or leg, painted the rock with blood. Really emphasized the head check before climbing up and over the crux moves on the arete. Great route! Nov 2, 2011
Mike Watson
Mike Watson   SoCal
simul'd this route with a buddy as one pitch. Fun climb! Apr 3, 2012
Eric ORafferty
Altadena, CA
Eric ORafferty   Altadena, CA
I climbed this for the third time this past Saturday. My first lead after a couple of years on the couch (ha ha!) and it was a good way to ease back in, especially since I was familiar with the route. Pretty straightforward until you jump up on crux arete in the third pitch. Fun! Feb 18, 2013
el cajon, CA
sdrockstar81   el cajon, CA
Trying to apply the beta while looking at this massive rock formation can be difficult... especially the last pitch which I will try to explain...

P1- if you can do the 5.8 variation 40ft right from the "start" its not too hard if you keep moving but definitely harder than the 5.7, its the obvious crack that leads right up to a big rock that you come out on and stem ... once above the 13ft big rock section on your right you will see another obvious upward and right traversing crack (this crack is flared and makes for difficult placement). This will lead you to a vertical crack, if I remember correctly good placement for medium cams but if the crack proves too difficult I remember it being pretty juggy faced as well. A little ways above the end of the vertical crack will lead to 2 good belay stations on ledges try to go as high as the rope allows. This start makes for 2 good pitches with little to no rope drag.
-small to medium cams
-60m rope required

P2- This is tricky... I myself spent time checking out all 3 avenues to find the best route... from above your belay station, stated above, and that you can't see in any of the pictures( I will post one) you continue up into a dihedral mostly scrambling (A wall to your right). -If you follow what feels like the route straight up, it will push you up into a box dihedral looking up at a maybe 2 do-able hand cracks to choose from. An up and right hand crack( looking up and left) or a finger crack that runs out with another crack parallel to it (looking straight up)... these are both horrible choices unless you are a .10b leader...
-now I had read that there is a chimney option around 5.5 ... thats retarded because you have to traverse over about 40ft to the left, it just didn't feel right...
-So what I did ( and I did search all three avenues, yes lots of searching, down-climbing, and traversing lol) which felt very good is, on the wall that is on your R shoulder while you are scrambling up from the belay, face that wall (east) and look for different colored rock, like grayish, the is a very do-able section to get onto the face of that wall, almost like a step that can get you onto that face or "arete"... the trick is you cant protect until you get up to the crack its exposed, run out, and committing but not crazy, focus and find your line... once you hit the hand crack, (if your too freaked out there is a slab dish thats probably much easier to climb, approx. 5ft to the right) protect and climb up to another scramble, depending on where your last belay was run the rope to length and bring up your buddy. Great natural protection in this area
Good climb
-small-medum nuts/hexs/cams Feb 25, 2013
Alex Peterson
Kamas, Utah
  5.7 PG13
Alex Peterson   Kamas, Utah
  5.7 PG13
As weather gets warmer, this is a must do early morning climb. We started about 7:30 and by 9, there were two parties waiting at the bottom. Very popular route. The move out to the arete is easily protectable with cams, it makes for a nice airy transition. Apr 28, 2013
Matt Skorina
Bend, OR
Matt Skorina   Bend, OR
Got a little lost on P3 and stayed in dihedral until it ended in a steep section. Going straight up was protectable, but hard (5.10- maybe). We pitched it there for rope drag. From there easy scramble (roped up) to the top. Oct 7, 2015
B-Mkll Mackall
Bozeman, MT
B-Mkll Mackall   Bozeman, MT
If you extend extend extend, and make sure the rope goes above rather than around the corner on P1, rope drag is totally fine.

P2 is wicked fun. If you have doubts about where to stop/belay, just keep going and it's the last obvious ledge before the giant roof.

P3... difficulties are short lived and easily protected.

Fun outing. Climbing itself isn't very consistent or hard but good belays and a great view, summit, and walkoff. Good multipitch for beginners. Feb 16, 2016
I have multiple Joshua Tree Guide books complete with pictures, some in color and none of them said anything about P.3 of this climb that would lead me to believe that I went the wrong way until I did it. I climbed the so called "hard cracks" with some spicy stemming/reaching/laybacking and somehow got it clean. Mostly it was because I kept telling myself, "it's only a 5.7, man up!" But what I was really feeling is "this is the hardest 5.7 I've ever done!" Our whole party of 4 eventually made it up that way with some hanging and prodding but everyone agreed that it was dummy hard. So thanks everyone for the beta. Next time I'll read the posts before I climb. Jul 30, 2018
Matt Hagny
Matt Hagny  
Why people like this route is beyond me. Low angle, with loose blocks, some runout, etc. Mostly very blah, boring climbing IMO. Dappled Mare is considerably better. Dec 25, 2018
Lassitude 33
Randy   Lassitude 33
Route description for pitch 2 and other misinformation corrected - 4-17-2019. Apr 14, 2019