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Black Diamond

5.12a, Trad, 80 ft (24 m),  Avg: 3.9 from 8 votes
FA: Tom Gilje and Mike Lechlinski, 1989
California > Joshua Tree NP > Queen Valley Area > Queen Mountain > Olympic Dome
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This route is located on the southeastern side of Olympic Dome. It heads directly up the featured, but overhanging face to the left of Icon. Class 3 scrambling takes you up to the base atop a large boulder.

Arguably "R" rated, it is reasonably well protected, but has a couple no blow it parts on easier ground. The technical crux of this route is getting past the first bolt, but the real crux of the climb is the fact that it just doesn't relent. Slightly overhanging for its entire 80+ feet, there are no big rests; with the upper half having continuous moves to the very top. Probably 12a/b.

A mega classic route that has it all.


6 bolts, 2 bolt anchor/rap. Not really sport bolted, but not super dangerous either. A stray bolt will be found higher up and to the right, which is off route.

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new bolt near Black Diamond
[Hide Photo] new bolt near Black Diamond

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Vernon Stiefel
[Hide Comment] While an R rating is probably unnecesary you wouldn't want to fall near the third bolt because you may end up on the boulder next to your belayer.

It seemed like the most difficult move was 11d but there are 5.11 moves at every bolt. The route is easily one of the best face climbs for the grade at J-Tree. Dec 19, 2005
  5.12b R
[Hide Comment] I found this route to be one my headiest redpoints at JTree, or anywhere for that matter! The runout in the middle was sublime, 20ft between bolts, with a solid 5.11 deadpoint with the next bolt just out of reach! Maybe not actually dangerous, but damn! Jan 30, 2009
  5.12b R
[Hide Comment] Black Diamond has 6 bolts! There is a new bolt on the wall that was not there before. Maybe a 1 bolt link up from Icon into Black Diamond? It looks like one could clip this new bolt on the runout section of Black Diamond, by traversing right to the bolt, then back onto the route. That sux! Mar 20, 2009
[Hide Comment] I found this route, and we had set up a TR on it, and were going to Rap Bolt it, and make it a Five Star Sport Route. Spencer had already named it the "Nimbo Clatus"

I told the Lechlinski's about the Queen Mt. area that I discovered, and they Said, "Craig, you are so full of BS, there is no good climbing up there"

After I discovered the area with the Stahl bros, Al Bartlet, Todd Gordon and DE did a bunch of FAs cleaning up the easy pickins before we could get back up there, so only the hard routes were left

So after a couple weeks of all of us raving about it.
Mike, Gilge, and crew secretly follow us up there, and we see them watching us with Binocs from afar.
I was with Dave Tapes, Spencer, Todd Battey, DEE, and Epperson. et al.

Well the next week they do the route, using much better style than rap bolting, but now its rated R, and no one does it, its 5.12c for 5.13 climbers

Its a truly gorgeous rock, and you should go up there at look at it, and do the Icon at least Jan 30, 2011
Lassitude 33
[Hide Comment] "5.12c for 5.13 climbers"!?!?

Since I'm no 5.13 climber, maybe that's why it felt 5.12a (or perhaps a bit harder due to pump factor). But as noted above, the crux is low (5.11+) and above it is sustained 5.11.

Great route. Not sure it would get done much more even if it was more closely bolted. People are lazy and don't like to hike that far. Mar 3, 2011
  5.12b R
[Hide Comment] According to Lechlinski, the stray bolt on the right is not part of the route Black Diamond. My recollection from leading the route (4 times maybe, for redpoint)was - a stout .12a move down low lead to a stretch of easy .10 to a heady .11b deadpoint move, followed by the most brilliant stretch of .11a in Josh. Apr 6, 2011
  5.12a R
[Hide Comment] The "extra" bolt is definitely not on the route, and clipping it would give you a lot of drag unless you put a runner on it, in which case you might as well not clip it in the first place, since you already have a bolt there. Unlike some big runouts in Queen Mountain, these bolts are in good condition. Probably only 12a for taller folks, but deceptively steep and incredibly sustained. Feb 14, 2012
[Hide Comment] I for one am really glad that Craig, et al. sprayed so much about this line before actually doing it so that Gilje could beat them to it and send it in such incredible, bold style. This is one of those routes that demands you rise to the occasion.

With regards to the pro... it's just enough. You could deck in a couple places but if you're on this it's unlikely. On the other hand, if any single bolt were to come unclipped or fail somehow, you would die. Or maybe you'd just float away into the atmosphere? It's possible. Anyway, on another note... No need to make a fuss about the "stray" bolt: It is way off the line and you're not even looking at it let alone considering clipping it when you're climbing Black Diamond. Jan 21, 2014