Type: Trad, 60 ft
FA: unknown
Page Views: 5,034 total · 32/month
Shared By: Ken H on Dec 31, 2005
Admins: C Miller, Greg Opland, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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This is the hand crack on the left side of Zippy Rock as you approach from the parking area.

Great 5.6 hand crack!! From top to bottom hands size crack. Good early lead for aspiring trad leader as long as you have a few hand sized pieces. Seems like a good place for cold winter days.


Solid hand sized pro the whole way widening some at the top. Take a fist size or larger piece or two for the anchor at the top. Rappel slings at top or 3rd/4th class down climb. Reports in comments are a bolted rap station is present as of 12/28/12.
C Miller
C Miller   CA  
A striking line from a distance which becomes less appealing closer up. Somewhat low-angled and gritty but not a total bomb either. One star out of five. Jan 18, 2006
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
A mediocre route - not great, not horrible. Worth a tick if you happen to be nearby, but I wouldn't suggest going out of your way for this one. Gets morning sun. Jan 19, 2006
Two stars. This is a good, easy, crack to practice your jamming technique. The rock quality is pretty good on the lower 25-30' of the crack, but it does get gritty at the top where the angle eases off. Feb 6, 2006
Brian F
Brian F  
Sad to say - because I disagree with the community on this one...I love Gargoyle...its one of my favorite climbs in the park. Its just so nice....I know its sad. I've climbed it at least 8 times. Prob more. Its a guilty pleasure. Mar 17, 2006
Gritty, but fun. Sep 15, 2006
Portland, OR
Obi   Portland, OR
Although not hard, the last 10' or so of the climb was an offwidth section for me and my partners. This section loses the aesthetic movement that the initial handcrack provides (unless you like offwidths - in which case, hats off to you).

The downclimb seemed roughly as hard as the climb itself, but it's only a fraction of the length. Nov 5, 2007
Colin Parker
Idyllwild, CA
Colin Parker   Idyllwild, CA  
Took my first ever trad fall on this one last year. Beginner mistake, tried to use the face for feet instead of squeezing them in the crack. Anyway, good hand crack and solid practice. Recommended if you're a beginner or in the area. May 27, 2009
Palm Desert, CA
DaveGustafson   Palm Desert, CA
I loved the approach! I thought that this was a pretty fun route - Leave the small stuff on the deck - Bring a few of #1-#3.5 range and you should be styin'! Nice secure holds all the way - a fair grade of 5.6.
Wasn't a big fan of the walk down, but there I go complaining again. Rap station around the corner and up didn't look like much fun to get to either. Nov 1, 2010
May be one of the best introductions to crack climbing in the pack. I say this because the hands and feet fit perfectly, and you don't have any face holds to cheat with. Feb 20, 2011
No cheating hand crack and comfy jams in comparison with some other cracks in JT.

There is a diagonal crack line on the wall directly behind this route. Wasn't any chalk on it, anyone know what it is? Mar 17, 2011
Shawn G
Phoenix, AZ
Shawn G   Phoenix, AZ
Good practice.

When getting down, I belayed the second as they climbed down into the gully on the south side of the formation. I rapped the route using the other end of the rope and the second as my anchor. The second unties, pull the rope and coil it by the time they walk around the corner. Now you can go climb something fun. Mar 18, 2012
I just heard reports that 2 bolts have been placed on the route, and that bolts have been added to the down climb? Can anyone confirm this?

I tend not to be an elitist when it comes to bolting, but in Jtree there are regulations for bolting, and I would be surprised if any of those who hold licenses for bolting would have done this. Nov 19, 2012
If true, I don't expect them to last. Nov 19, 2012
ediza blum
Berkeley, California
ediza blum   Berkeley, California
There's two bolts with rap rings as of 12/28/12 at the top. Jan 1, 2013
toddgordon Gordon
Joshua Tree, California
toddgordon Gordon   Joshua Tree, California
Good;...now you don't have to do that lame dicey choss decent, there is an anchor for two climbs (Gragoyle/Canalizo), climbers aren't beating up the desert getting back to their packs from walking off the back, and the rope doesn't get shreaded on gargoyle with the old gear anchor......good idea..... Jan 1, 2013
Derek Field
Derek Field   California
You'd be hard pressed to find a better 5.5 hand crack anywhere. Solid hand jams and painful foot jams all the way. Widens to offwidth at the top, can protect this with #4, although the crack is pretty much impossible to fall out of. Rappel bolts at top as of Jan 2016. Mar 2, 2016
Curt Veldhuisen
Bellingham, WA
Curt Veldhuisen   Bellingham, WA
Excellent route for a novice to learn hand and fist jamming, but tape them up! Mar 18, 2016