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Routes in Conrad Rock - Heart of Darkness Corridor

Body Stem TR 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Heart of Darkness T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Jungle (aka Apocalypse Now), The T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Type: Trad, 40 ft
FA: Rick Cashner and Dale Bard, 1979
Page Views: 15,687 total, 100/month
Shared By: C Miller on Dec 31, 2004
Admins: C Miller, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Description

A striking splitter on perfect, varnished rock that runs from fingers through small hands (this route favors those with smaller hands). The unique location and high quality rock make this a three (out of five) star route; were it longer this would garner more stars.

Location

The striking crack on the west (left) side of the corridor.

Protection

Gear to 2", bolted anchor/rap
Gabriella Venus 1  
  5.11a
11a seems like a fair grade for this one but I have yuuuge hands. Jan 14, 2017
King Tut
Citrus Heights
  5.11a
King Tut   Citrus Heights
  5.11a
Before inexperienced climbers go calling this 5.10 keep in mind that a Master of Thin Hands, Dale Bard, put this up and called it 5.11...I may be the biggest whiner ever about having big hands but having done every single 5.10d thin hands in Yosemite as well as Kaukulator (5.11c) this is *not* 5.10...dupid skinny handed people....>:0....Though criticism as a one move or two wonder is valid.

However, I may be biased having belayed Jimmy on his ascent and finding it hard myself...:(. But thin hands on overhanging rock is not 5.10...consider yourself fortunate if this size suits you and base your rating please on other experience on thin hands.

Best rock quality in JT. Dec 19, 2016
Cocanower
The High Country
Cocanower   The High Country
even if you suck at thin hands like me you should go for it. decent hand sized pods appear where you need em Feb 3, 2015
C Miller
CA
 
C Miller   CA  
 
The location of the crux will depend upon your crack climbing strengths as well as hand size but for most the upper section is the crux. Oct 3, 2014
D-Storm
  5.11a
D-Storm  
  5.11a
It kind of adds another little crux – keeping it more solid at 11a – if you mantel out at the top. I suspect many people clip the chains while hanging from the flake at the lip. Fair enough, it's technically still a send, but you're missing out on the final crux – and punting on J-Tree style – if you don't top out. There's something really satisfying when you find yourself suddenly out of the darkness, basking in the glow of a desert sunset. Apr 1, 2014
Frost
  5.10+
Frost  
  5.10+
Don't have particularly small hands and still found it to be 5.10+. You can climb the whole upper section on hand jams (used perhaps one ring lock - thin hand jam). Dec 14, 2010
Nick Sullens
Yosemite/ Bishop
  5.10c/d
Nick Sullens   Yosemite/ Bishop
  5.10c/d
In my opinion, the crux jamming on Heart of Darkness was about the same difficulty as the thin jamming section of Lunatic Fringe and I have bigger hands. May 31, 2010
Chris M
Seattle, WA
  5.11a
Chris M   Seattle, WA
  5.11a
One bolt on the anchor needs replacing. Gear for me was yellow alien, then 3 x BD .75. No need for bigger gear since you would be placing it in the good pods anyway Nov 7, 2009
ChugachMan
  5.11a
ChugachMan  
  5.11a
Funny, for my hand size I say Mt. Woodson's Jaws is easier... still, 11a seemed about right for me. Fun climb - wish JTree had more and longer splitters like this! Oct 26, 2009
I'll go with 5.10d on this one. For reference, I think it feels a touch easier than, say, Jaws (.11a) at Mt. Woodson. However, handsize can be a factor on this crack. Given that this climb never receives sun, its perfect for those unpleasantly warm days. Oct 11, 2009
Pat C
Honolulu
Pat C   Honolulu
How do you do those jams?? Too small for hands, too big for fingers. I was stacking my fingers up and sliding my hand in far and twisting and all this stuff. I made it, but I hung with every piece of protection (I put a lot of pro in). Apr 21, 2009
Bowie Pearson
Portland, OR
  5.10
Bowie Pearson   Portland, OR
  5.10
If you have small hands like I do (even .75's can still be tight hands for me), this is manageable and not a 5.11. My only beta is to avoid plugging up the #1 pods with gear. Super fun. Just wish it were longer! Seems to be good for both hot days and for cold, windy days. Dec 7, 2008
armand rollice
rancho cucamonga
 
armand rollice   rancho cucamonga
 
Did this route one cold and windy day.My friend Jack led it first then had to retreat due to numb very cold hands. So I gave a go. Got to were it starts overhanging and then my fingers got numb. So I had to take, put on my gloves warmed up and then sent it right after. (Without the gloves of course). Returned a few month later and fell towards the top. Awesome climb beautiful rock. Wish it was longer. Feb 27, 2008
Mike, no doubt this rating (11a) will be adapted in upcoming editions of Joshua Tree guidebooks. Nov 14, 2007
Mike
Phoenix
  5.11a
Mike   Phoenix
  5.11a
I don't care how short it is, this is a great route! Both guidebooks I have say 5.11c, but 5.11a is really more accurate. This climb is easier if you have smaller hands, but even with bigger hands like mine it wasn't near 5.11c. A rare J-Tree featherbag maybe??? Nov 14, 2007
Adam Kimmerly
5.10c/d
Adam Kimmerly  
5.10c/d
A fun little route! I'd even lean toward 5.10d for skinny little hands like mine. Most definitely hand size dependent. Oct 31, 2007
Will S
Joshua Tree
 
Will S   Joshua Tree
 
Next time you're out there, after doing HOD try the "Closet Rod" chimney. Put your feet on the back wall and your hands on the HOD side and do a full body span of the corridor to the top. Oct 28, 2007
Randy
  5.11a
Randy  
  5.11a
Chris, not to belabor the point (I think we basically agree), but the 1986 guide should not be taken as the gospel on the FA info (some of the info was often third hand). The 1992 guide tried more to get info right (wasn't super successful with that, though).

I suspect I changed the TR vs. Lead because someone corrected the info. Anyway, will investigate. Dec 12, 2005
Randy
  5.11a
Randy  
  5.11a
Chris (Jim) these are all good questions. Since both Dale and Rick are around, I will try to talk to both of them about this.

However, Dale never claimed the FA of Brain Death (just first lead). Also Brain Death is in the Comic Book, a couple miles from Conrad Rock. Brain Death is solid 12a (not 11c). Spencer Lennard did the first TR of Brain Death in 1978. FA of Heart of Darkness was "claimed" by Cashner and Bard in 79.

For a long time people called Heart of Darkness 11b or c (Bartlett calls it 11b) which is more in line with the 11c rating (though concensus is now 11a).

Something that could be sorted out with a few phone calls perhaps. Dec 12, 2005
Randy
  5.11a
Randy  
  5.11a
Jim: If there is a mistake, it would be that Dale and Rick climbed some other crack in the same area. But this seems to be the only crack that fits the discription and rating. In the ensuing years I haven't heard of another thin hands 5.11 crack in the area. If nothing else, your name seems to have stuck and was the reason why I named the formation Conrad Rock. Dec 9, 2005
I cleaned the bottom 10 feet of this crack in 1989 thinking I was making the first ascent (the crack was packed with a chossy softer rock) and gave it the name "Heart of Darkness" and placed the lower-off bolts at the top. I'm NOT calling BS by any means, just wondering if there was a mistake. Dec 9, 2005
Kenton Card
Washington DC
Kenton Card   Washington DC
Thanks for clearing that one up CM. Apr 25, 2005
C Miller
CA
 
C Miller   CA  
 
The anchor is there because no easy way exists off the formation; a simul-rap is possible but would be very harsh on your rope. Apr 25, 2005
Kenton Card
Washington DC
Kenton Card   Washington DC
So what is the deal with the large chains, cant you get set up anchor and walk off? Apr 24, 2005
This route is at least as hard as The Valleys 5.11-'s that I have done. Apr 11, 2003
As is usually the case, a crack's difficulty is determined by hand size. You've all heard it (I hope!), " big hands, big weenie." Apr 11, 2003
Ben Craft
  5.11a
Ben Craft  
  5.11a
The route is short, but I think it still deserves 3(5) stars because this type of crack is so rare at jtree. Apr 9, 2003
Randy
  5.11a
Randy  
  5.11a
Only 3 out of 5 stars (despite the excellent quality of crack and rock) because it is just too short. 5.11a is about right, the crux is only about a body length long. Apr 9, 2003