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Routes in Elephant Arches

Black President T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Type: Trad, 120 ft
FA: Craig Fry, Dave Evans & Dave Bruckman, December 1984
Page Views: 3,402 total, 22/month
Shared By: Randy on Dec 31, 2004
Admins: C Miller, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route


15 Opinions

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Description

This is simply a great route and well worth the hike. The fact that several other fine routes are found nearby (and the now historically prescient nature of the route name) should put this on your "Must Do" list.

This face and crack route begins just right of center of the formation, on the face just right of a recess/crack (Vice President). There is a large patch of cactus near the base.

Moderate, but unprotected face climbing leads to a bolt which protects moves (easy 5.10) into a shallow crack system. Follow this crack to a horizontal break. Above here, a second bolt protects thin face moves up and right (5.10d -- height dependant) to reach a series of left leaning cracks (5.11a) which provide challenging climbing to the very end.

Belay at a two bolt anchor on the dike.

You can make a 115 foot rappel (single 70 meter rope just makes it) from the belay anchor. Beware of the cactus around the base when pulling your ropes if you do rappel.

Alternatively, downclimb the south shoulder (down and right; 5.6).

Protection

Bring a nice variety of mostly thin nuts and smaller cams, with a few up to perhaps 2 inches.

Photos

Simon H
Oakland, CA
  5.11a PG13
Simon H   Oakland, CA
  5.11a PG13
What a great route in a beautiful place, we had a blast on this thing. A bolt at the perfect spot for the thin middle crux and an exciting gymnastic finish that is a rarity in Joshua Tree.

I graded it .11a as I thought it was harder than Raked over the Coles, Physical Graffiti and even Swept Away. About equivalent to Coarse and Buggy. Agreed a tad easier than Bendix Claws. Jan 12, 2017
I named the Route the Black President from inspiration from Fela Kuti form Nigeria, and his album named Black President

Super great album, afro-beat, which is African Reggae Jan 28, 2011
Adam Stackhouse

  5.11a
Adam Stackhouse    
  5.11a
Drewsky,


having done it both ways, I'd suggest turning in around Gumby Dome, which when heading towards the Elephants would be on your left. Beyond an initial mini scramble at the beginning, the approach is fast and flat. Feb 18, 2010
Drewsky  
Is the most expedient approach made through the vegetated wash south of Diarrhea dome and southwest of the Elephant Arches formation itself? It was definitely one of the harder approaches I've experienced in Joshua Tree. Also, prickly pear cactus: 1; Rope: 0. Feb 18, 2010
Murf
  5.11a
Murf  
  5.11a
Pretty good... lets spray about it here mountainproject.com/v/south… Dec 16, 2008
Kristian Solem
Monrovia, CA
  5.10d
Kristian Solem   Monrovia, CA
  5.10d
Hi Murf...

What happenned to me didn't have as much to do with the difficulty as my own foolishness. Anyway, we all know how subjective these things are. What do you think of my comparisons though? Dec 15, 2008
Murf
  5.11a
Murf  
  5.11a
So after hanging you go back a few days later and send it and grade it .10d? I don't know, sounds like an .11a onsite grade to me, especially since the crux for you (like me) seemed to be the upper crack. Dec 15, 2008
Kristian Solem
Monrovia, CA
  5.10d
Kristian Solem   Monrovia, CA
  5.10d
I did this climb day before yesterday, 12/13/08. Actually I was out there mid week as well with Ryan Mattock, but I hosed myself by plugging the last jam with a red camalot thinking I was going to pull the exit on face holds. Bad idea. Went back and hiked it on Sat. Best to just gun the exit with solid gear below. Especially with 120 feet of rope hanging below, that one last clip could be a deal breaker.

I do think that pushing the grade above 5.10d is a bit inflationary. Some Josh .11a’s which I think are a bit tougher are Bendix Claws, Crime of the Century, Coarse and buggy, Natural Selection and Winds of Woopee… And is The Importance of Being Ernest (at .10c/d) any easier? The first crux is definitely height dependent though…

The last time I did this one previously was about 10 years ago, with Jim Bridwell and Rachel McCollum. A day to remember for sure. It looks to me like this place sees less traffic today than back then… Dec 15, 2008
Will S
Joshua Tree
 
Will S   Joshua Tree
 
Single 70m rope will just reach on rap. Agree with Murf, the first crux is height dependent, if you're under 5'8" or so, this would be really rough. Beware the molina if you're belaying, I impaled myself on the thing. Great climbing, long pitch for Josh at 35 meters. Dec 4, 2007
tony grice
  5.11b
tony grice  
  5.11b
Is it called black president because its soooo funky? Or just because the crux seems improbable.
cool route kinda stout for 10 plus eh. Apr 19, 2006
Locker
Yucca Valley, CA
Locker   Yucca Valley, CA
My take on the star system. Randy V. uses a five star system. Mike M uses three. Each in my eyes gets the point across. I think I will put my own guide together and my own star system. I am going to use a 30 star system. Jun 7, 2004
Adam Stackhouse

  5.11a
Adam Stackhouse    
  5.11a
I agree with the idea that the three star system is less than desirable. The use of a 5 star is "mo betta." Jun 4, 2004
Murf
  5.11a
Murf  
  5.11a
OK, OK, BP is three stars!! I'm more of a 5 star guy. This 3 star system is *way* too restrictive to me. I don't think there should be many 5 star climbs ( obviously ), so only the very best would have the max. I'd give BP 4 of 5 and 3 of 3. Dec 5, 2003
Murf
  5.11a
Murf  
  5.11a
The first crux seems somewhat height dependent, the taller you are the easier it is. The upper crux definately seemed harder than the first. Dec 4, 2003