Type: Sport, 50 ft
FA: Scott Cosgrove, April 1988
Page Views: 8,048 total · 40/month
Shared By: C Miller on Dec 1, 2002
Admins: C Miller, Greg Opland, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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This is a classic Joshua Tree sport route - short and to-the-point with demanding and unusual moves. Make your way up a steep wall past several horizontals and a lower crux (5.11+) to the top where you will encounter a somewhat reachy crux.

 Shorter climbers may find the crux, and the route, to be slightly harder than the rating indicates.
Left of this is Patracide, a decent short warm-up route and to the right is Factor 1, another even more difficult climb.

* It is interesting to note that this climb has also been soloed several times.


To approach this route, walk past the right end of the west face and up slabs and boulders to reach the southern end of the formation.


4 bolts, anchors (all 1/2" SS)

*Bolts replaced February 2017
Father Figure, THE ULTIMATE SANDBAG. I don't care what Randy says!!! Many a .13a out there easier to send than this one. Feb 14, 2003
Lassitude 33
Randy   Lassitude 33
I agree with Robert that Father Figure is not 12d. At the time the 1992 guide came out, I had not done the climb and took the rating as reported by the first ascensionist (Scott Cosgrove). The rating was changed to 13a in the "Classics" guide. 12d is not really a "sandbag" since it is certainly no harder than 13a. The crux is only a few moves long, atop 5.11 climbing at the bottom (in fact the whole route is pretty short). However, for climbers less than 6 feet tall (such as myself and Robert), there is a long reach at the very top that takes some figuring out. It will be 13a in the new guide.

If you want to talk about sandbags, how about Scott rating Desert Shield 12d? It seems like it would be at least 13c at notoriously "soft" rating areas like Red Rocks. 13a/b is more like it. Feb 14, 2003
Hard to believe only two stars on the best sport route I've ever done at Josh. Absolutely 13a. Do you guys know anything about the quality and real world grade of Hot Pants or the Hydra? Mar 7, 2003
Josh has always maintained a standard for being harder than other areas. Why change the rating? The climb has a relatively short crux that can either frustrate you to the point of no return or allow for a quick send. In my opinion the rating should stay as 12d.

If you want a sandbag, Desert Shield is the ultimate. This climb is at least two grades harder than Father Figure. The lower crux has become substantially harder due to the missing righthanded hold next to the third bolt and the upper crux is a v6 boulder problem. We were calling it 13a just up to the second horizontal followed by the v6 boulder problem crux. I would give Desert Shield a 13b rating. Mar 25, 2003
heh, mainly I just wanted to chide Randy!

But, for the record, Coz. told me he originally rated it .13a.

Its hard to think of Desert Shield as a sandbag, given that it is not the same route that it was when it was FA'd. Broken holds are what made it harder, almost making it a different climb. Mar 26, 2003
I first did Father Figure when I was 16. It was my first "13a," but as far as grade consistency goes, it is 12d. Later, I hung the draws and gave a friend beta and he flashed it pretty easily. Desert Shield is a grade harder, but not 13b for me. Josh sport climbs are hard not only for the grade, but in style. It is much easier to get into the shape necessary to climb 5.13 on overhanging limestone than it is on slightly overhanging granite, but this isn't a bad thing in my opinion. Oct 16, 2007
Gregg Olson
Gregg Olson   ca
I did this route in the prime of my climbing life. As much as I would love to give this a 13a rating (as it would be just about anywhere else) I felt 12d was a fair grade given the routes length and the standards of Josh ratings. It has fantastic movement and is in a great location. There are some awsome pictures of John Bacher soloing this route just after it was put up. The story I heard was Cosgrove put it up and rated it 13a, then Bacher came along and lead it 1 or 2 times, pulled the rope, soloed it and down rated to 12d !!
Oct 4, 2008
peachy spohn  
Really cool route, but like others I found it to be harder than 12d. The crux is the last move for me and a big move at that. Also, the route is in a cool area! check it out. Mar 26, 2009
Great video of the climb

vimeo.com/4140250 Jan 3, 2010
Great story about the name Nov 17, 2012
My first post to Mountain Project. I did not know what to rate it, as I'd only climbed a few other 13a at the time, and it seemed far easier than the New Deal 14a, that I believe was put up in 88 and Father Figure was done in 87.

I found the climb by mistake, after taking a lovely female climbing ranger up, Eye for an Eye, and getting lost on the descent. I went back that afternoon and place the first two bolts, 1/4 inch tapers, yipes. The second and third went in a day later and I think I red pointed it on the forth day, climbing ground up.

I rated it 13a and a German climber in camp did it second try the next day and said 12c. Bachar loved the climb and took a couple of days to do it, figuring out how to do the last move static. Bachar and I would run laps for a work out and then one day JB just went for the solo. Very Bad ass, seeing as a key hold he was using broke off.

Having done lot's of 13a after and many a 12d, I never felt Father Figure was 12d and still feel it's 13a, but right on the cusp of the grade. Ironically the first guy to flash it was 5' 4" and did the long reach static.

Later I did the Factor One to the right FF and also climb the start of Father Figure and finished on Factor One, naming it Father Factor and I also climb Factor One and finished on Father Figure naming it the Factor Figure. Factor One is probably 13b and the different link ups, about that 13ab grade as well. There is even a top rope to the left of Father Figure, can't for the life of me, remember it's grade or quality, just remember climbing it. Sep 2, 2013
Jeremy Schoenborn
yucca valley ca
Jeremy Schoenborn   yucca valley ca
youtu.be/aS4EKbulJ_I Nov 22, 2016
Alex Shainman
Las Vegas, NV
Alex Shainman   Las Vegas, NV

The crux 3rd bolt has failed and has been pulled out! It's a Petzl self-drill bolt designed for caving. It is amazingly lucky though, none of these bolts pulled or sheared off from a fall in the last 20+ years!

Bolts 1 and 2 are extremely suspect, as they're the same type/size. All four bolts/hangers are now in the process of being replaced with larger all stainless steel hardware. Due to logistics, etc I cannot give a date as to when the bolts will be replaced for sure.

  • ***EDIT 1-20-17***
We (local climbers experienced with bolt replacements and backed by the American Safe Climbing Association), are following JTNP protocol and have filed for a permit to use a power drill to legally and properly replace all of the hardware on this classic route. Please be patient, as it may take up to 4 weeks for the permit to be approved before we can do the replacements. For more information on JTNP rules and regulations on bolting: nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/… Jan 16, 2017
Alex Shainman
Las Vegas, NV
Alex Shainman   Las Vegas, NV
One of the best routes of its quality, grade and style in the park! A lot of the harder (and easier) steeper bolted routes in JT have broken considerably since the FA. FF has cool features and in its current state, the rock is super solid and with fun hard moves and NO glue! The common crux sequence for most people (see videos), probably feels a bit burly compared to the late 80's/early 90's. I think there was probably a much better body position option before a left handhold broke (see pic of JB soloing). This rig definitely favors climbers with a high height to strength ratio...sorta meaning both but mostly it's an emphasis on the latter. Jan 21, 2017
Joshua Tree, Ca.
Dimes   Joshua Tree, Ca.
All lead and belay bolts are now 1/2" stainless steel with stainless steel hangers. Courtesy of the American Safe Climbing Association.. Feb 15, 2017
Kenji Haroutunian
Laguna Niguel, CA
Kenji Haroutunian   Laguna Niguel, CA
Way to go H.A.R.P. team in Joshua Tree! Thanks for making that one a priority. Feb 16, 2017
Matt Desenberg
Limerick, ME
Matt Desenberg   Limerick, ME
Thanks for replacing the bolts, can't wait to try it. Apr 2, 2017