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Zippy Rock
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YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 60'
Original:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: unknown
Page Views: 4,032
Submitted By: Ken H on Jan 1, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (110)
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Steph leading Gargoyle. Dec 2015.


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.

Photos of Gargoyle Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Best 5.6 Ive ever done. Great intro to crack.
BETA PHOTO: Best 5.6 Ive ever done. Great intro to crack.
Rock Climbing Photo: Rappelling off of Gargoyle. Photo Copyright Sam Ce...
Rappelling off of Gargoyle. Photo Copyright Sam Ce...
Rock Climbing Photo: Sun setting
Sun setting
Rock Climbing Photo: Gargoyle.  Photo: Dave Rockwell, Climber, Todd Bra...
Gargoyle. Photo: Dave Rockwell, Climber, Todd Bra...
Rock Climbing Photo: Finishing up as the crack widens
Finishing up as the crack widens
Rock Climbing Photo: Madi seconding in the fading light
Madi seconding in the fading light
Rock Climbing Photo: Further up, feeling super comfy and having a blast
Further up, feeling super comfy and having a blast
Rock Climbing Photo: Me leading as the sun sets
Me leading as the sun sets
Rock Climbing Photo: T B leading Gargoyle (ca 1982)
T B leading Gargoyle (ca 1982)
Rock Climbing Photo: Gigi shows me how it's done
Gigi shows me how it's done
Rock Climbing Photo: Gargoyle. Photo by Blitzo.
BETA PHOTO: Gargoyle. Photo by Blitzo.

Comments on Gargoyle Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 18, 2016
By C Miller
From: CA
Jan 18, 2006

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.
By M. Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Jan 19, 2006

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.
By BradP
Feb 6, 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.
By Brian F
Mar 17, 2006
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

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.
By Blitzo
Sep 15, 2006

Gritty, but fun.
By Obi
From: Portland, OR
Nov 5, 2007
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

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.
By Colin Parker
From: Idyllwild, CA
May 27, 2009
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

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.
By DaveGustafson
From: Palm Desert, CA
Nov 1, 2010

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.
By Julian Sutter
Feb 20, 2011

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.
By Tradiban
Mar 17, 2011
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

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?
By Shawn G
From: Phoenix, AZ
Mar 18, 2012
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

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.
By Julian Sutter
Nov 19, 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.
By Randy
Nov 19, 2012

If true, I don't expect them to last.
By ediza blum
From: Berkeley, California
Jan 1, 2013

There's two bolts with rap rings as of 12/28/12 at the top.
By toddgordon Gordon
From: Joshua Tree, California
Jan 1, 2013

Good; 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.....
By Derek Field
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Mar 2, 2016
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

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.
By Curtveld
Mar 18, 2016

Excellent route for a novice to learn hand and fist jamming, but tape them up!

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