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Routes in Sphinx Rock

Afterthought T 5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Cherry Blossom T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Cleopatra T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Don't Touch That Flake T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Riddle of the Sphinx T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Using Your Nose T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
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Type: Trad, 60 ft
FA: Bob Gaines, Yvonne MacPherson, Todd Gordon, & Alan Bartlett, October 1989
Page Views: 736 total · 4/month
Shared By: Randy on Nov 30, 2002
Admins: C Miller, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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The route starts on the north-facing side of a large squarish block on the left side of the Sphinx formation. Scramble up boulders to access the base. An easy layback/flake leads to continuous steep smears past six bolts to the summit. The excellent rock and moves make this a classic Josh friction route.


6 bolts provide excellent protection. 2 bolt anchor on top; rap off 70 feet to ground.


C Miller   CA  
Originally done with five bolts; the FA party later decided to add the topmost bolt. Jan 17, 2003
Bob Gaines
Bob Gaines  
I went back recently and led this route for the second time, 24 years after the first ascent!

The bolts are in great shape, but you'll probably want a piece at the start (I used a #3 camalot) to protect the moves getting up to the first bolt, which consists of liebacking then standing up on a fragile flake to clip the first bolt. You can get a CD behind this flake, but it can't be trusted 'cause the flake is wafer thin. It's about 5.6 R to stand up on the flake. I wouldn't call it a sport climb.

Once you clip the first bolt, it's 10c to get up to the horizontal break, then a wild lieback/stem gets you established on the upper face. It's sustained (mostly 5.10 moves) and well protected, with the crux clipping and getting past the 5th bolt without falling, which involves some pretty tough smearing that is both delicate and strenuous at the same time. Jan 29, 2014
susan peplow
Joshua Tree
susan peplow   Joshua Tree
^^^ Thanks Bob. I should have just stopped after looking at the star rating but no... had to read your comments. "some pretty tough smearing that is both delicate and strenuous at the same time" ..... sounds delightful? (not) Nov 11, 2014
Jon Clark
Philadelphia, PA
Jon Clark   Philadelphia, PA
I enjoyed this route a lot, but found 11b pretty generous. Doesn't seem 11b when compared to Tin God, Abstract Roller Disco, EBGBs, and other climbs similar in style with an "easier" grade.

Regardless, it's another great route on the JT friction circuit. Feb 2, 2015

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