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Playhouse Rock

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Anthrax T 
Baby Ice Dog T 
Balancing Act TR 
Beck's Bear T 
Break a Leg T 
Curtain Call T 
Dress Rehearsal T 
Fighting the Slime T 
Final Act T 
I'm So Embarrassed For You T 
Irritators, The T 
Kline's Incline TR 
Leading Lady T 
OC Gym Trad T 
Playwright, The T 
Psycho Groove T 
Stucca By A Yucca T 

Playhouse Rock Rock Climbing 

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Location: 34.02195, -116.17567 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 10,102
Administrators: C Miller, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Woody Stark on Mar 15, 2003
This Afternoon

92° | 71°

94° | 71°

94° | 71°

91° | 69°

90° | 70°

93° | 71°
You & This Area
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Looking Southeast from the top of Beck's Bear/Lead...


Playhouse Rock sits near and to the south of Hemingway Buttress. It faces east and is one of the more popular formations in the park with numerous routes of varying difficulty on the east side. There are at least two sets of rappel anchors on top and down climbing is easy off the southeast end. It's an excellent formation for working with novice climbers: A 5.4, a couple of sixes and numerous sevens; good quality rock; most routes are easily protected and all the routes are one pitch. Further, there are excellent eights and nines. A couple of the nines, I believe, are underrated by a point.

Getting There 

Playhouse sits a short distance to the south of Hemingway Buttress. You can now park at the lot used for Hemingway or the pullout a few yards further up the road. The approach is no more than ten minutes.

Climbing Season

Weather station 10.2 miles from here

17 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',0],['2 Stars',12],['1 Star',5],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Playhouse Rock

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Playhouse Rock:
The Irritators   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   
Psycho Groove   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Playhouse Rock

Featured Route For Playhouse Rock
Rock Climbing Photo: "I'm So Embarrassed For You". Photo by B...

I'm So Embarrassed For You 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b  California : Joshua Tree National Park : ... : Playhouse Rock
Start in the middle of Playhouse Rock, on the right side of an obvious bulge that forms a roof low to the ground. The lower section of this climb is the crux and protects well, and is easier than it looks. Although a bit wide, no offwidth technique is required as there is a finger crack within the wide crack, and several nice holds on the face so look around. After the crux, this route is mostly slab climbing with a crack for pro. Up high there is one more vertical section with an awesome hand...[more]   Browse More Classics in California

Photos of Playhouse Rock Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Crescent moon over Playhouse Rock.
Crescent moon over Playhouse Rock.
Rock Climbing Photo: Playhouse sunset. Photo by Blitzo.
Playhouse sunset. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking South from the top of Playhouse Rock. Phot...
Looking South from the top of Playhouse Rock. Phot...
Rock Climbing Photo: Playhouse Rock formation
BETA PHOTO: Playhouse Rock formation

Comments on Playhouse Rock Add Comment
Show which comments
By jt kalnay
Mar 18, 2003
I agree whole-heartedly with the initial description of Playhouse Rock as a good place for beginners. I had a very enjoyable guided trip to Playhouse Rock as a beginner (thanks Mark Joliff "speedy Mark"), and then a couple of fun, self-guided, trips. Next time to JTree, I'll take photos of various routes and get them into the system.
By Karen
From: Prescott
Aug 22, 2004
Is it true there are no climbs harder than 5.9 on Playhouse rock? ..... We think we found one today !!!!
By C Miller
From: CA
Aug 27, 2004
Not true, Hi Desert Playhouse (5.10d) is found on Playhouse Rock.
By Locker
From: Yucca Valley, CA
Mar 6, 2005
the anchors on top no more! The anchors that I think were placed by a local Climbing School for convienence no longer exist. They have been removed and patched decently at least.
By Duke
From: Rancho Mirage, CA
Mar 7, 2005
It probably took as much time to rap off the former anchors as it takes to do the simple down-climb.

I also noticed that the chopper did a good job of patching.
By Chris D
From: the couch
Mar 22, 2010
This formation has an easy, fun downclimb, and a pair of quick-links you can rap off of at the top of The Irritators.

Don't rap directly on the bolt hangers at the top of Psycho Groove. We saw no fewer than three groups use these standard bolt hangers as rap rings today. Have to assume they were sport climbers who haven't ever seen an anchor setup not designed for rappelling. Bad form
By Rockwood
From: West Jordan
Mar 22, 2010
Playhouse Rock is great! We were headed for Dairy Queen but could see climbers waiting in line for every route we wanted to try so we kept walking to Playhouse. The grading on everything was in such a great range we were able to skip the guide book all together and just pick out cracks and routes of our own and climb anywhere we wanted. We ended up climbing more than any other day that week. Everything felt to be in the 5.7 - 5.9 range but who knows what they were. It didn't hurt that we had the whole thing to ourselves all day. A bunch of 5-fun routes to me was better than sitting on my butt watching others climb.

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