Type: Sport, 70 ft
FA: Scott Cosgrove, January 1991
Page Views: 4,075 total · 21/month
Shared By: Randy on Mar 9, 2003
Admins: C Miller, Greg Opland, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route

7 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do · View List

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick


This is a powerful, endurance route, with some pretty hard moves. With the exception of a knee bar near the beginning of the route, there are no rests to speak of. The technical crux is near the bottom (this has gotten harder since part of a rail broke a few years back); though just linking all the moves together to the final jug is the real test.

This is not a soft 5.13a. It might seem harder if you climb in areas like Red Rocks, but more in line if you climb in places like Rifle. It is definitely a harder tic than Father Figure.

This route is on less than stellar rock and has been falling apart since before Scott even red-pointed it. Glue has been used to reinforce several holds (e.g.: the large flakes on the upper section) and the key right-hand hold on the technical crux broke off (while still a project) and was re-glued on by Scott (I believe).

If the idea of using reinforced or re-glued holds is repugnent to you (it is now illegal in the Park, but was legal at the time this route was done), just do not do this route. Do not get high and mighty and harm this climb; it has seen at least a hundred ascents and is a well settled classic.

Edited by Adam Stackhouse, with the narrative provided to me by Scott Cosgrove 8/6/2013

"Back in 1991, I stumbled onto the Turtle Rock corridor repeating my friends climb Satanic Mechanic and couldn't believe my eyes. Visions of sport route heaven and massive lines everywhere. The most obvious was Desert Shield. But just some bouldering at the base proved that the rock was far from solid, and I embarked on a cleaning mission that would last for four days.

Finally, the bolts were in place, the flake and lose rock climbable, and after a few days work I was ready to send. But as fate would have it, I got the flu and Jim Karn, the best American sport climber was passing through town. I knew Jim would hike the thing on accident if he saw it and I would be robbed of my first ascent. To my girlfriend's horror, I went to the bathroom threw up and then we drove to the Park and send my project first go. Threw up at the base and had her drive me home.

The route became the flavor of the month and we all enjoyed having a new line of hard climbing so close to camp. It was and still is one of the most pumping climbs, as no one move is much harder than the next but it never gets easy. I named the climb after the first Gulf War, just because I like the name and it looks like a Shield."


Seven bolts to sport anchors (1/2"). Bring draws. It is possible to use a rope to then reach the anchors from the top.


I've heard tale of a completely manufactured hold on Desert Shield ... does anyone know if this is true or not? Just curious, as my sorry ass isn't going to be going anywhere near that route ;) Mar 9, 2003
Lassitude 33
Randy   Lassitude 33
There are no manufactured holds on Desert Shield, but glue was used (on FA) to reinforce flakes and reglue a hold. See full route description for full beta. Mar 9, 2003
Thanks for the history of the route... I really enjoy such stuff, it's awesome to have you and many others contributing here :) While I'm not a big fan of glue I certainly am not out doing anything about it. Mar 9, 2003
Tyler Logan
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Tyler Logan   Mammoth Lakes, CA
For a route that required glue and is described as falling apart since it was first bolted, it does seem strange that it receives so many stars. I'm sure the moves are hard and very cool, and obviously the line is consistently steep without any ledges breaking up the action (atypical for Josh) but since when does that define "classic line"? Mar 9, 2008
Santa Barbara, CA
elijah   Santa Barbara, CA
This is a good description of the route. I was on it last weekend (January 4, 2009) and everything looks in shape. There's glue on some key holds but nothing to cry about. I can't say if it's a classic, because I don't really know what that means, but I will say it is definitely a rad route. Anyone looking for a steep-ish sport climb will most likely enjoy this. Jan 5, 2009
peachy spohn
peachy spohn  
A worthwhile climb with fun and consistent moves. Some of the flakes might need some more glue...they flexed a little. Over all very fun! Mar 28, 2010
See the new historical account of the climb above. Aug 8, 2013
peachy spohn
peachy spohn  
I love this route! So good! Every time it's as good as the last...WOW! Still, the upper crescents are flexy and I hope never break. Jan 5, 2014
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 ASCA. Feb 28, 2017
Tristan Bradford
Oklahoma City, OK
Tristan Bradford   Oklahoma City, OK