Type: Trad, 180 ft, 2 pitches
FA: Mike and John Wolfe, Febuary 1967
Page Views: 18,681 total · 93/month
Shared By: Adam Stackhouse on Jul 12, 2002
Admins: C Miller, Greg Opland, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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I always thought this was a fairly enjoyable route. Mike's Books is found on the south side of I-Rock. The first pitch (the first "book") is formed by a big rounded chunk of rock that makes a right-facing corner/ramp. I haven't been over there in recent years, but it seemed pretty popular a while back.

P1: There are two potential starts to the route:

1) Directly below the corner, there is a steep chute that goes at 5.8. I recall there was some protection, but it requires care when exiting the chute to climb up to the main corner.

2) You can go out left of the 5.8 start and climb up onto a sloping ledge. This ledge can then be traversed back right to reach the base of the first "book". Once you reach the right-facing corner, climb up this (pretty moderate) to reach a bolted belay anchor [replaced 1/02 with 1/2" stainless and camouflaged hangers - ed.].

P2: From the bolted anchor, move left into another right-facing corner system (the second "book"). Climb this until it ends, and continue to the top via slab. There is another bolted anchor on top [replaced 1/02 with 1/2" stainless and camouflaged hangers - ed.].

Descent: You can either rap the route in two half-rope rappels (fairly quick and if your packs are at the base...), or you can cross over to the top of the North Overhang route and do a half-rope rap to a large ledge on the north side (where the Upper Right Ski Track starts) and scramble down from there.


Standard rack - Nuts and cams to 3 inches or so + one bolt (1/2" SS). Bolted anchors (1/2").


The second pitch is slightly offwidth; I suggest racking to a #4 Camalot. The 5.6 rating is quite reasonable, but it will sure feel more difficult if you're only carrying up to 3 inch gear... Nov 4, 2002
Nathan L.
Nathan L.  
Mike's Books is a fun route and was one of my first leads (after the Blob) at J-Tree. I remeber the traverse in from the left as being slightly awkward as you move in to the chimmny/groove. There's also alot of flakes and jugs on the face of the groove which makes it go at a reasonable 5.6. The 2nd pitch is a bit wide but not to difficult. After the crack ends you have a bit of face climbing that's protected by 1 bolt.(At least a few years ago). It's hard to see(the bolt) at the begining of the face and you think, "wow this is going to be a sporty finish" but the bolt is there, hidden in a depression. Have fun! Dec 17, 2002
The Gray Tradster  
The original rating in the Wolfe book was 5.5. The bolt for the finish didn't appear untill the late 70's or early 80's. The last nut also had an unnerving habit of falling out. There were no bolted belays obviously. Last time I did it thought, (Boy, we used to do this with only hexes?) Nov 17, 2003
Brian Reynolds  
Fun route. Carry the biggest pieces you've got, if you want an excuse to place them. You won't need them, but you'll be able to find somewhere to put them if you want to. I'm certainly not encouraging bolting anchors all over the park, but the fact that both of them are bolted on this climb sure makes it a quick one! Dec 17, 2003
Olympia, WA
Drederek   Olympia, WA
I thought the var start looked harder than the dihedral 3 feet to left of it. It seemed about 5.7 to me tho I'm sure anyone much shorter than 6 feet may disagree. Apr 1, 2004
Climbed this on 9/26/04 and the anchors for the first pitch seem to be missing. At least I couldn't find them and I remember them being fairly obvious the last time I did it (several years ago). Not a major malfunction as there is a great horizontal crack to build an anchor, but it means that you'll have to scramble across to the top of Upper Ski Track Right for the rap to the big ledge. You ca no longer do descent in two raps as indicated (at least not without leaving gear). Sep 27, 2004
Trevor Roberson
Joshua Tree, California
Trevor Roberson   Joshua Tree, California
I climbed MB on 10-31-04 and the anchors are still there. On the first pitch they are 4' to the right as you exit the crack onto the ledge. The second pitch is a chain with rap rings just above the old bolt protecting the face. First pitch (indirect from the left) is definitely 5.6 but the second was a little wide (#4 helpful) and awkward (and that sharp fin below you YIKES!) Pitch 2 maybe 5.6+ to 5.7ish but not 5.8. All in all a fun climb. Jan 2, 2005
Bo Johnston  
After the diheadral on the second pitch and before the face with a bolt finish, I walked to the right and climbed the right facing hand crack to the top and then back to the anchors to belay my second. It is not listed in the book but it felt like 5.8+ (I was wearing my tennies though). Does anyone know if it is the finish to anything?? Mar 24, 2005
Kellen Holt
Kellen Holt  
I found the top of the first pitch akward off-width, but looking back, you could chimney or face climb. If you are not tuned to Jtree runouts, bring a #4 or so piece to protect the wider parts. I ended up thrutching and groveling 15 feet out from a #3 camalot. Don't jump on this route without atleast giving it a once over. Anchor bolts were good as of 12/28/05. Dec 31, 2005
Salt Lake City, Utah
  5.8 PG13
46and2   Salt Lake City, Utah
  5.8 PG13
We put a grade of 5.8 on this climb only if doing the direct start to pitch 1. You can get a good cam in to protect the direct start but its still a pretty tough move. Be careful on the beginning of pitch 2 (PG-13, bring a large cam!)as the wide section is pretty committing for a 5.6! The anchors are great as of April 06'. Jun 11, 2006
Bill Rusk
Duluth, MN
Bill Rusk   Duluth, MN
I didn't really enjoy this route. I thought it was a little stiff for 5.6. You could definantly use a #4 for the second pitch. There are much better climbs of that rating in the area. Feb 17, 2008
Palm Desert, CA
DaveGustafson   Palm Desert, CA
What in the world was with the last part of pitch one?!? My awful-width technique leaves a lot to be desired to begin with, I'm just glad my climbing partner didn't bring the camera! We did the direct 5.8 start and it was feeling a little more like 5.8+ to us. I'd definitely suggest a #4 and an ample supply of 2s and 3s for good measure. A great view and wonderful rap station! Overall, I'd give it an "okay". Apr 5, 2009
Clemson, S.C.
TomCaldwell   Clemson, S.C.
A #4 is a must! Bring two if you want or walk the single to the top. Jun 2, 2009
Over two stars for this climb? You gotta be kidding. Some routes feel like they're meant to be climbed, but not this one. I found it awkward and not enjoyable. If you decide to do it, note that the bolted anchor for pitch one is easily missed (it's hiding off to the right) and have the taller climber in your party do the second pitch. Jan 31, 2010
Bryan Davenport
Bryan Davenport   29palms
The pro on the first portion is a bit sketchy. There are some fun placements on the rest of the first pitch. I used mostly hexes and then a 2 and three camalot. I concur about the anchor. It is still in great shape w/ rappel rings Feb 1, 2010
Bryan Davenport
Bryan Davenport   29palms
It was very windy today, made the lead a little more of a head game. Used larger hexes, sizes 1-3 Camalots and a couple nuts. I'm thinking the alternate start is more like a 5.9 (through the first crack). The second pitch seems 5.8ish. There are good placements without a #4 Feb 20, 2010
Craig Randleman
Phoenix, AZ
  5.6 PG13
Craig Randleman   Phoenix, AZ
  5.6 PG13
I thought this was quite hard, actually. The start of pitch 2 was datardly - wide, deep crack with kinda hard-to-spot feet. Then again, that's why I climb JT - too be scared shitless on easy moderates! Haha! Feb 28, 2010
Ken Noyce
Layton, UT
Ken Noyce   Layton, UT
Wow, interesting comments, I thought that this was an enjoyable easy climb. The first pitch variation (the natural line) has one move that felt like 5.8, then it was easy for the rest of the pitch. I thought the second pitch felt like 5.5 or 5.6 max, nowhere near 5.7 or 5.8 as some people are suggesting. I thought the bolt on the face was completely unnecessary for the super easy slab that it's protecting. I did place both a #4 and a #5 C4 on the second pitch. Feb 14, 2011
Groveled through the 1st pitch... Not a terribly aesthetic route given the other climbs in the area. I doubt I'll ever do this one again Mar 15, 2011
Patrick Kaufer
Laguna Hills, CA
Patrick Kaufer   Laguna Hills, CA
Good climb. Can get a bit tricky at the top of P1 but was very enjoyable. May 12, 2011
John Long
Venice, CA
John Long   Venice, CA
From the start of the 2nd pitch, you can either go up the crack, or do a harder step up move on the face and carry on up the steep slab and cut into the crack higher up. Another variation, put up around 1975, starts further around on the steep face to the left. There's a big dyno off the ledge to a rounded hold, a difficult step up and some dicy moves to easier ground - a short sequence to the easier (5.8) face above (it cuts over into Mike's Books) but there's no pro, we always bouldered this off the ledge, and it was the first 5.12 at Josh. Hanging that first hold after the big dyno was so hard the route had to be in the shade to stick it.

I went back to this sometime in the early 90s long after I was a super active climber and couldn't touch this thing. Aug 6, 2011
Patrick Sanan
Lugano, Switzerland
Patrick Sanan   Lugano, Switzerland
Loved this climb. The little traverse at the start demands attention, but after that it's great fun with all kinds of chimney moves and a little easy slab section at the end. Our guidebook said many people skip the second pitch, which is a shame, as it's as much fun if not more than the first, and the ledge you belay from is practically a helipad. As many have noted, big cams are nice to have ( I recall being glad to have a #4 camalot at one point on the first pitch, and the second pitch has many wide placement opportunities). Dec 9, 2011
jake marlow
jake marlow   laramie
Some climbs are fun because they are hard and others are just fun; this one is the latter.

Do the harder start it is way worth it. Jan 13, 2012
david doucette  
I climbed this yesterday. the 5.6 traverse start shown in the old vogel book is tricky and we didn't do it. the step across is completely unprotected. we opted for the chute just to the left of the 5.8 start.

pitch 2, be sure to bring a number 4 and a 5 if you have them. the biggest piece i had was a number 3 and i kept moving it up 2 or 3 times as i climbed. would have been more helpful to have those bigger pieces. slab part at top has a bolt, not too tricky just stay steady on your feet.

solid 5.6.

great climb! Dec 7, 2012
despite being easy I always enjoy climbing this Dec 9, 2013
Because I forgot to note where the second pitch goes, I ended up doing an interesting variation to that pitch. At the top of the first pitch, go to the right to a low-angle flare/grovel (just right of the bolted face) with a hand crack in the back; continue up this until you see a short fist/off-width crack on your left. Climb that to a shelf then climb a short flared hand/fist crack to another good shelf where the proper second pitch tops out. This is probably in the 5.8 range; good gear the whole way with a #4 Camalot being useful. Mar 17, 2014
Take care when stepping through the easy but unprotected start of the first pitch. We approached the climb and a fellow had decked it and broke an ankle...Thank God for the guardian angel that was soloing Ill leave him unnamed but good job (A) He broke what could've been a bad head blow. Nov 12, 2014
Ben Crowell
Ben Crowell  
The committing steps at the beginning of P1 can be protected. I used a red hexcentric. Feb 13, 2015
Rory Macomber
Redlands, California
Rory Macomber   Redlands, California
Fun route with some interesting moves. The direct start is more difficult, but it is solid, protectable, and fun. A #4 would be good for the second pitch to avoid getting a little runout, I only had one #3 which made things a little more interesting. All the moves are there to go at 5.6, but this climb can be as difficult as you want to make it. May 7, 2015
The Billy Goat
The Billy Goat   fontana,ca
My first trad lead. Great route for someone looking to build confidence on trad leads. Jan 4, 2016
Riverside, CA
nathanael   Riverside, CA
As mentioned, 2nd pitch is wide enough for a #4/5 if you want, but it's not necessary. You can reach deep into the back of the crack to place some smaller gear.

After you pull onto the slab at the end there's a bolt protecting the final move (5.4) to the anchors. 5.6 seems fair for the pitch but obviously it can be as difficult as you make it. Jan 25, 2016
Julius Elinson
Boulder, CO
Julius Elinson   Boulder, CO
Stellar climb! I built a gear anchor on the massive ledge -- it looked much more comfortable than belaying from the set of bolts at the very front of the ledge. The entire route takes pro pretty well. Having a #4 was definitely nice. Mar 8, 2016
Joshua Tree, Ca.
Dimes   Joshua Tree, Ca.
The lead bolt at the top of the second pitch was upgraded today by the ASCA with a 1/2" stainless steel bolt and a SS rock colored hanger. May 31, 2017
Jeremy Almond
Las Vegas
Jeremy Almond   Las Vegas
Body stemmed pitch 2, it was easy that way. Just put your back against the left Wall. Felt 5. Easy that way.

Pitch 1 you can go way left and walk up if start is too tough. As it was for me. Oct 24, 2017
Joshua Tree, CA
Alexis   Joshua Tree, CA
Hey Alexm53, I am just reading your comment from Nov. 2014 after the unfortunate broken ankle incident of the guy who's fall I tried to spot/break, thanks to my girlfriend pointing it out to me today, and inferring that was probably me you were referring to. (We climbed it yesterday, and she decided to look it up on MP later - it never occurred to me to do that - as it's part of my circuit). Good advice, and I appreciate the kind mention, and the immediate kind/selfless and competent help of the unknown emt/climber who helped asses/stabilize/carry him (and whoever else helped us carry him) to his vehicle to be driven to the hospital. I never heard the outcome, but hopefully he fully recovered. Hope you're doing well - take care. Sep 2, 2018
Cody Kaemmerlen
Encinitas, CA
Cody Kaemmerlen   Encinitas, CA
There's a chute just left of the 5.8 start that maybe goes at 5.6? Great little side crimps that lead to the step around. I stuck a #1 (I believe) before making the step. Probably more of a mental piece than anything. Just go careful and once you make the step all sorts of good stuff comes alive.

P1 straightforward for the grade. P2 as well, but something larger than a BD #3 cam would be helpful shortly after the start. Otherwise, take that #3 and bump, bump, bump!

Unlike other easy trad climbs in the park, I'd say that no matter where you are above or below the grade, this feels like 5.6. I'd also suggest it's a great multi pitch intro due to the large belay ledges and the bolt hangers. Gives you a chance to really talk through the systems with your seconder/new multi-pitch climber. Same for the rappels. Comfortable stance (read: standing) to set it all up, check safety points, recheck safety points, and enjoy a safe and fun multi-pitch experience! Nov 26, 2018