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New Directions

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Crank Start Crack T,TR 
Garden Party S 

New Directions Rock Climbing 

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Location: 35.8212, -118.4575 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 2,183
Administrators: Matthew Fienup, M.Morley, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Adam Stackhouse, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Ryan Nevius on Dec 22, 2011
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
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New Directions consists of five relatively small slabs: Parking Lot Rock, Generation Dome, Middle Cliff, Heart Rock, and New Directions Cliff. The slabs are located about a half mile north of Kernville Rock (Kern Slabs).

Getting There 

Drive about a half mile past Kernville Rock and look up the hill for Heart Rock and New Directions Cliff. Park in a turnout with a big tree in the center, just past Heart Rock.

Climbing Season

For the The Needles / Kern River area.

Weather station 2.9 miles from here

2 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',1],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in New Directions

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for New Directions:
Garden Party   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13     Sport, 1 pitch, 140'   
Crank Start Crack   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 30'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in New Directions

Featured Route For New Directions
Rock Climbing Photo: On top after leading

Garden Party 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13  CA : Southern Sierra : ... : New Directions
Very fun climb with a great view. This climb is the farthest to the left on New Directions Cliff. Starts behind a tree and climbs a 20’ wide face and arête on the right. Finishes with a small bowl with 2 rap rings for rappeling. Use 2 60m ropes to rap down. I used an 80m rope to lead, and rap to the bottom. I suggest this route for new climbers or new leaders....[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Comments on New Directions Add Comment
Show which comments
By Christopher D. Walsh
From: Index, WA
May 29, 2014
Does anyone have good beta for the rest of the routes here? I climbed a couple of them recent and would be happy to put them up for the area, but I feel like I'm far from the most qualified.
By Chris Joy
Apr 25, 2015
Christopher D. Walsh. I just added the Garden Party route. Feel free to add more route/info.
By Randy in Ridgecrest
From: Inyokern, CA
Dec 2, 2015
Garden party is actually central to the area.

Regarding route information. Many Kern Valley, Ridgecrest, and Bako climbers have been coming to New Directions for decades. Aside from the old Vernon Needles guide, and whatever is derived from it, there isn't a guide. Why this is I don't know. I know someone was writing a KV guide about 10 years ago but nothing came of it. I would say I'm as knowledgeable about the routes as anyone except a few active KV climbers like Kerbs and Herb Laeger. I'll check around and see why nobody is posting up any routes.

The best routes here are hard, but very good. The hard parts are pretty well protected but slippery 5.8 or 5.9 higher on the routes might be scary. Someone has retro-bolted the starts of the Nowhere Man and Somewhere Man, I don't think that was necessary. I say just put in some days and work the aera out - be ready to crank! Feel free to ask me about names and ratings.

Briefly, here is some info about a couple choice spots. Bring a second rope as many routes are longer than 115'.

Heart Rock. The big kind of heart shaped face with the brown/gold streak, well up and right of the parking. The gold streak is "Fall Colors" 5.11c, the area classic. There is a retro-bolted 5.9 to the right of that, used to be really scary. Other harder climbs on the Fall Colors face. Up and left is a ledge with three 5.11ab climbs, easy to knock out in a visit. All of these are not exactly sport climbs, and you might have to equip bare bolts to get off. There is an 11c on the detached block left of Heart Rock.

Nowhere Man. Even the locals aren't too sure about the naming! Anyway, from Heart Rock work as far right as you easily can to get to a cozy ledge under a steep slabby face with bolted lines. You will pass by several routes on the way, including Garden Party and the intimidating "Stiff Upper Lip". Nowhere Man is the 5.9 bolted face that has a large flake at the bottom, and goes into a slabby dihedral at the top. Stiff for the grade, leave off the first two bolts for the original version that got climbed maybe a thousand times. Right of that is "Somewhere Man" 10b. Goes to the Nowhere Man anchor, leave off the first bolt for the original version. Left of Nowhere Man is the bold (thanks Herb!) Man-O-Man 5.10c, also to the same anchor, wish there were more bolts! There is an excellent second pitch 5.11a from this anchor. Finally, from the bottom you can see one last line to the right kind of going up a pillar like formation. Start on Somewhere Man and go to the belay in the crack system. Head up the pillar with bolts, hair raising 11d crux up there.

To the left of Garden Party is a glistening little slab. This is "Mostly Harmless" 5.11b. I put this route up about 10 years ago. Trying to drill the first bolt by hand I got nowhere and eventually had to fall back to the ground. I bought a Bosch and came back and got her up.

To the right of Nowhere Man area is the polished Morpheus/Safety Razor buttress. The start of these climbs are a little more difficult to access. From the Nowhere Man ledge either go down or traverse right depending on the climb. These are hard climbs mostly 11+ 12-. Right of this are a few more climbs but the going is pretty tough through the live oak, it's probably better to go up from the highway.
By Guy Keesee
From: Moorpark, CA
Jan 26, 2016
Randy... you have all of that pretty much correct.
So you say the 5.9 to the right of Fall Colors has been retrobolted?? How about the crack system to the right of that? forget the name, some 5.9 with no bolts at the bottom.
get Scott Looms, last known location, Ridgecrest CA... he knows or Herb...he climbs.
By Herb Laeger
Jun 16, 2016
There is a new guidebook just out (June 2016) for Kern Slabs (Kernville Rock) and New Directions Cliffs. It includes approximately 100 routes. It is available for purchase at