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Direct South Face 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 200'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Jim Barker, John Mokri, Bob Dominick & Norm Saude, January 1969, FFA: Chris Gonzalez, May 1975
Page Views: 7,096
Submitted By: Adam Stackhouse on Jun 28, 2002

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This route starts out of the boulders at the base of the south face, in a prominent left-facing dihedral with an obvious roof capping it. Can't miss it.

Pitch 1: Climb the dihedral to the roof crack, set some gear and pull the crux move (burly 5.9) up and over the right corner of the roof. Easy climbing up the seriously featured face above to a bolt. Belay.

Pitch 2: Climb out of the alcove above the belay, taking the very obvious left-leaning crack (5.7). After angling up and left, the crack goes vertical. Continue up and over into a notch below the upper part of the tower. Belay (#2, #3 Camalots good here).

Pitch 3: A short face section (5.6) leads up and left to gain the bottom of an easy crack leading to the summit ridge. Once on the ridge, run the rope via the easiest route across to the anchor bolts at the back of Moosedog.

Single line rap off the back of the tower from bolts.


Standard rack including nuts and small to large cams

Photos of Direct South Face Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Doug at the roof
Doug at the roof
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbers on Direct South Face. Photo credit: EJ
Climbers on Direct South Face. Photo credit: EJ
Rock Climbing Photo: Another look at the roof. No matter how often I lo...
Another look at the roof. No matter how often I lo...
Rock Climbing Photo: Moosedog Tower - SW Face
BETA PHOTO: Moosedog Tower - SW Face
Rock Climbing Photo: Surmounting the roof of P1.  Photo by Tom Evans.  ...
Surmounting the roof of P1. Photo by Tom Evans. ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Setting up the crux pro on Oct 31. photo by deutsc...
Setting up the crux pro on Oct 31. photo by deutsc...
Rock Climbing Photo: Alan Nelson onsighting the big roof of the Direct ...
Alan Nelson onsighting the big roof of the Direct ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down the route at the belay above P2. Phot...
Looking down the route at the belay above P2. Phot...
Rock Climbing Photo: Direct South Face at the crux
Direct South Face at the crux

Comments on Direct South Face Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 1, 2016
By M. Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Jan 3, 2003

The entire route can be done in one 200' (60m) pitch, although rope drag can be unpleasant.
By Mark J. Nelson
Jan 9, 2003

Don't let the "burly 5.9" description intimidate you. The gear is good (for the crux sequence, anyway), and the move can be done comfortably even by those of us that don't work out. The crux is figuring out how to get your feet into position so you can push through instead of pull.

I fall in between one and three on the pitch count: it's nice to do one pitch to the single bolt/gear anchor, and a second to the summit.
By Rick L. Jackson
From: Thousand Oaks, Ca.
Mar 31, 2004

On Thanksgiving of 2003 I probably made one of the HARDEST falls off the roof, despite two previous successfull leads. Double - double length runners [to prevent rope drag]. By luck I didn't break the left arm, but just to let future climbers know... if the runners are double-double _had 4 pieces in the roof, each equalized by a separate DL runner, then both equalized by another_ that if you take the fall that only 1 piece is necessary. The impact will absorb allkinetic energy, and from there it's a sliding fall where 1 piece is sufficient! Best to drink beer afterwards and call it a weekend.
By Anonymous Coward
Aug 19, 2004

This can be done in one pitch with one 70m rope, all the way to the rap chains on the back. Don't place much (any?) pro, maybe 3 or 4 pieces, and it will just reach by about 4 inches.
By Ryan Avery
Feb 26, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

The shallow flaring crack leading to the roof protects well with yellow and green aliens. I think there was a good thin nut in there as well.I thought this move was relatively easy for Josh 5.9 if you use the two pockets on the face for hand holds and use a little finesse. I would say that if you tried to use the roof crack only it would be a burly 5.9 move indeed.The upper sections are easy climbing but tricky pro. If you pass up some pro options you will be running it out for a ways on easy 5.7 territory.
By Bo Johnston
Feb 22, 2006
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

We climbed the route in one pitch on a 60M rope and used every inch. I didn't place pro on the last crack 'cause of drag.
By Blitzo
Sep 22, 2006

Cool route!
By Isaac T.
From: Yokosuka, Japan
Dec 26, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Took a nice hunk of skin off my hand falling at the roof. Pretty sweet route though. The bolt at the top of the first pitch is still there, just a spinner though. Chains are at the top of the real summit after the scramble
By Darren D.
Apr 11, 2007
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

A star for each memorable move on this route (2).
By Lluis Penalver-Aguila
From: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Mar 31, 2009

What a fun climb! Mellow start up the dihedral to the roof. Pitch 1 crux is the stem/heel hook at the roof onto the face. Pitch 2 crux is just above the belay station. A few unusual moves at the second crux but the holds and pro are solid. Only feels like a 5.9 at the two cruxes!
By Carl A
From: brooklyn, ny
Jan 21, 2010

nice long moderate for j tree but is a one (5.9) move wonder.
By Tozankyaku
Apr 5, 2010

If you are nervous about leading through the roof, you can Free solo the route to the right and set up a top rope at the first belay station.
By Souljah
From: Northern NM
Jun 2, 2013

A tad harder if you jam the roof direct (contrived variation).
By Lisa J
Dec 11, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Really nice route with good rock. The roof is a fun challenge. Beautiful views at the summit and easy rappel down. Bring a camera!
Rock Climbing Photo: View at the summit
View at the summit
By Eric.Swanson
Dec 2, 2015

Fun route overall. Favorite part is the roof section at the beginning which can be protected well. We did it in two pitches.
Rock Climbing Photo: Roof section
Roof section
By thunderhead
From: Oceanside, CA
Nov 1, 2016

Honestly one of my favorite routes in Joshua Tree I don't know why it doesn't have more stars. We kind of went into it blind and had no idea what to expect so we were just pleasantly surprised the whole time. I laughed out loud 3 or 4 times. The rap off the back was a great cap to a great climb on a great day in the great state of California. Also, if you want, check out the (i think) 5.6 variant that heads right from the first belay and around the corner of moosejaw or dog tower, really cool. A+. Great job everyone

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