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Saddle Rocks - Skirt (West Face)
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Write In TR 

Right On 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b PG13

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 350'
Original:  YDS: 5.3 French: 3+ Ewbanks: 10 UIAA: III ZA: 9 British: VD 3a PG13 [details]
FA: John Wolfe and Rob Stahl, June 1971
Page Views: 39,488
Submitted By: C Miller on Jan 1, 2005

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (256)
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P1) Face climb up a smooth, run-out apron of rock past one bolt to a ledge with belay bolts.

P2) A short pitch with a steep, exposed hand crack takes you to a huge ledge with belay bolts.

P3) Chimney up the featured wide crack which narrows and then turns to a crack up a slab which leads to a belay stance at the base of a vertical section.

P4) Easier climbing up steep but featured cracks takes you to the top (aim for a notch).

It's very possible and perhaps even recommended to combine pitches when possible on this route. Descend by rappelling off the shorter backside via two sturdy bolts which are located just left as you pass through the notch; a single rope will suffice to descend. This is a splendid adventure for the grade and merits four stars out of five.


Located on the far left side of Saddle Rocks (well left of Walk on the Wild Side) and visible from afar as the right of two long, parallel cracks which define the left side of Saddle Rocks.


Take a good selection of gear to 3" and numerous long slings. All bolts on the route have been replaced and are 3/8" or larger.

Photos of Right On Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Right On as seen from the start
BETA PHOTO: Right On as seen from the start
Rock Climbing Photo: Approximate topo of our 4 pitches on Right On. Cut...
BETA PHOTO: Approximate topo of our 4 pitches on Right On. Cut...
Rock Climbing Photo: Michael McKay climbs the second pitch of Right On,...
Michael McKay climbs the second pitch of Right On,...
Rock Climbing Photo: Start of the 3rd pitch...getting to the good stuff...
Start of the 3rd pitch...getting to the good stuff...
Rock Climbing Photo: Right On Topo
BETA PHOTO: Right On Topo
Rock Climbing Photo: Michael McKay gains the security of the crack afte...
Michael McKay gains the security of the crack afte...
Rock Climbing Photo: 3rd pitch chimney. Too strenuous/awkward to place ...
BETA PHOTO: 3rd pitch chimney. Too strenuous/awkward to place ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Kelly nears the cave at the top of P1
Kelly nears the cave at the top of P1
Rock Climbing Photo: Matthew & Michael enjoy the spacious belay ledge a...
Matthew & Michael enjoy the spacious belay ledge a...
Rock Climbing Photo: Kelly nears the top of P3
Kelly nears the top of P3
Rock Climbing Photo: the view from the cave. i love this picture
the view from the cave. i love this picture
Rock Climbing Photo: Jay climbing up the second pitch (we linked pitch ...
Jay climbing up the second pitch (we linked pitch ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Jordan belaying Russell @ the 2nd belay cave. A Pe...
Jordan belaying Russell @ the 2nd belay cave. A Pe...
Rock Climbing Photo: Russell Elroy topping out on the final pitch.
Russell Elroy topping out on the final pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Jeff Dimick climbing the chimney slabs on pitch 2.
Jeff Dimick climbing the chimney slabs on pitch 2.
Rock Climbing Photo: Rapping off the main block (to the right of the up...
Rapping off the main block (to the right of the up...
Rock Climbing Photo: View of Saddle Rock at sunset
BETA PHOTO: View of Saddle Rock at sunset
Rock Climbing Photo: Larry G. midway through P2 (of 3).
Larry G. midway through P2 (of 3).

Comments on Right On Add Comment
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By M. Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Oct 25, 2002

Just did this the other evening by headlamp - super fun! If you feel comfortable running it out and want to go light, you can get by with a few cams up to 3" for pro/belays.
By Murf
Nov 15, 2002

The longest vertical route.. I think Gaines/Mayville did a Sentinal horizontal route that was a more than 5 pitches long.
By C Miller
From: CA
Dec 1, 2002

The Gaines/Mayville route is called New Latitude (5.12) and is 6 pitches, making it the longest route in terms of pitches...however they are not all full pitches. Without measuring suffice it to say it's the longest traversing route at Josh. Finally a climb for those people who hang out all day at Gunsmoke!
By Don Thompon
Jul 22, 2003

Right On is a excelent route! Three Stars rating. I have been climbing in Joshua Tree since 1977. Tri- Cams work great on the second pitch on Right On. I use to climb Right On and switch cracks into Orange Flake ,a crack Left of Right On. Try the Rappell routeat the top of Right On, not the standard one put up by John Wolfe. You must walk down a steep ramp to theRappell bolts; a excellent 150 foot Rappell and closer to you car.I installed rhe bolts their in mid 70s
By Locker
From: Yucca Valley, CA
Oct 14, 2003

I agree that switching from "Right on" to "Orange flake" adds to this climbs enjoyment. Also, I agree that going light on pro works. Over the shoulder slings helpful. I did not take tri-cams but in hindsight agree that they would work well. Easy to run out, easy to protect.

On the first pitch it might be wise to protect prior to cliping the single bolt on the face. I discovered that even on such an easy climb as this one, over confidence and loss of focus can quickly become a humbling situation (It took some doing to overcome due to ego being overactive). Had I not placed pro in the right hand flake, upon a wee bit of a slip and slide, I today may well be hamburger. Racking on a gear sling as opposed to the harness is a good idea as well. When pressing through the flair on pitch three one can move the gear accordingly.
By Brian Reynolds
Mar 24, 2004
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

I finally hauled my butt over and did this climb last Saturday. I wouldn't call it a mega-classic, but it's a lot of fun -- especially the last pitch, even though it's probably the easiest of them.

There are two-bolt anchors at both the first and second belays (both unnecessary, but mighty convenient nonetheless), for those who want to climb this in four pitches. This is a climb that screams for linking pitches, though. The second "pitch" can't be more than 40-50 feet long. With a 60m rope, you can easily link pitch 2 with either pitch 1 or pitch 3. We linked 2 and 3, but if I did it again I'd probably try to link 1 and 2, since the belay ledge on the top of pitch 2 is much roomier and more comfortable than the cave at the top of the first pitch.
By Infernal Doom Fanatic
Oct 1, 2004
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Great climb, this is about as close as it gets to a Tahquitz experience at J-Tree. I've done it twice and have always left feeling very satisfied. All three pitches hold their own in variety and asthetics. Pitch 2 is one hell of a weird experience, never comfortable (think offwidth chimney) but fun none the less.I need to lose weight so I can get my butt back on this climb.
By Bill Lawry
From: New Mexico
Apr 16, 2006

Did this last week. On the first pitch and below the bolt, we put pro in up and to the right as someone mentioned before. Also, am curious if anyone has ever finish the chimney with a body bridge as we did instead of face climbing the crack to the left. Either way, I agree this is a must-do climb!
By Mark L
Apr 30, 2007

I linked P1 and 2 together with a 60m - had about 10' left I think.
P1 can definitely feel spicy if your head isnt into it yet. There are 2 cracks on the right on the first easy (5.1/5.3 maybe) 30' of the face to put in semi crappy tiny nuts. They might or might not hold a fall and if you fall theres no way getting around bumping into stuff on the way down, so its really all about getting to the bolt. The 10' getting from the crack to the bolt on P1 is more like 5.5 but pretty polished. The next 15' or so up to a crack is polished and made me think a bit - first tried going right of the bolt but got shut down on the traverse to the crack and downclimbed to go left of the bolt which worked a lot better. The rock there is pretty polished from so many climbers and few big foot and handholds so I would probably rate that 15' from bolt to crack more like 5.6 - similar to the move on double dip getting into the bowl 1/2 way up. P1 and 2 are very protectable after that.

P3 (chimney) was nice - beginning could be akward if you dont have much experience with it. Knee bar with the left leg or straighten the right when you want a rest. Pro kinda runs out 60 feet up but the angle lessens a lot (maybe 65 degrees) and you wouldnt go anywhere but get stuck in the chimney if you slid. You can sling a flake or two on the way up. Hand size pieces work well the first 50 feet. Near the top of the chimney there is an arete to the left of the chimney you can face climb for 15' as the chimney deepens. On the right side of the arete is a gulley past some boulders you are aiming for. There is a flake on the right side of the arete you can undercling to get there.

P4 is nice cruiser 5.0/5.3 knob climbing for the most part. Lots of chicken heads to sling off or tuck the rope behind. As you get about 120' up, you need to go leftish about 15' instead of heading up the blanker face. When you get over a little you'll see the notch with a boulder stuck near the top of it. Drop over and behind it, belay. Then you downclimb (3rd/4th class) 15 feet and anchors are just to the north (climbers left) 15 feet.
By Mike Jay
Jun 19, 2007

Did this climb yesterday. what a fun climb! we are from colorado so we were kind of clueless about the thing, and not having too much off-width chimney experience, thought we were off route on p2 lol. but it was fun, and it is a must do! awesome exposure on the last pitch!
By Eric O'Rafferty
From: Altadena, CA
Apr 17, 2008

I agree with Locker regarding the first pitch. It can be a head/ego game especially when you're thinking 5.5. I think I may have protected it as he suggested as well.
By DJ Reyes
From: Northern Nevada
Feb 7, 2009

This is one of my favorite routes at JT. It's long and the first pitch offers a little spice. Get on it and get it's good tidings.
By Colin Parker
From: Idyllwild, CA
Nov 17, 2009
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13

Climbed this thing yesterday. Was hoping to get some longer multi-pitch experience to prepare for Tahquitz. This fit the bill perfectly. I would say that Mark's comments are dead-on. The only thing I would add is that his description of the fourth pitch seems to avoid the exposed slab finish, which nobody should miss. After leaving the crack system and moving left on the 4th pitch: instead of heading for and belaying in the notch with the bolder, you should continue up the face past horizontals to the very top slab, where chicken heads and lumpy rock make for easy and fun 5.1-5.3 climbing to the finish. you can put a few pieces in behind some of the horizontals but the last 30 feet or so is largely unprotected. There are rappel anchors on the left of this top ledge.
By Justin Tomlinson
From: Monrovia, CA
May 25, 2010
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R

I'm starting to wonder if we went off track on this route. It seems that after the chiminey some people go right into the boulder jumble and then into a gulley? We climbed out of the chimney, went left up the crack in the slab to a vertical wall, then left across the top of the slab to a wide crack, and a short couple moves up the crack to a large, comfortable belay station. From here, a crack leads straight up, with a few exposed moves then runs to the top. I thought this top pitch was a little tougher than the route description made it sound. From the top, we downclimbed a wide chiminey 20 feet to a huge ledge and used the chains on left, leaving us in good position for the 3rd class decent to the start of the route.

Does anyone else climb this direction? Or do people climb right out of the chiminey? Going left seemed right to me at the time, but I wasn't leading. If this is the Right On route, MP should add a couple lines on P3, to go left from the top of the slab crack to a wide crack, up a couple moves to the large belay station.

What do you all think?
By Duke
From: Rancho Mirage, CA
May 26, 2010

You climbed the route.
By Justin Tomlinson
From: Monrovia, CA
Jun 6, 2010
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R

I think when we went left at the top of the chiminey, we picked up the second half of orange flake. There were no chicken heads on our fourth pitch and it was def. not 5.0-5.3, as a climber previously noted. Anyhow, this makes an exciting option.
By DaveGustafson
From: Palm Desert, CA
Jul 3, 2010
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

IMHO, this route is for competent 5.8-5.9 leaders, not beginners as one might assume with the low grade and stars. P1 is bold, certainly far above a mere 5.5 rating. Protection is slim and moves are good ones. A leader must bring his/her "A" game as sections present significant falls - glad I didn't draw the short straw! P2 is fantastic, good fun. Make sure you volunteer to lead that one. P3 on the other hand is a grovel. OW technique should be solid as I felt that this pitch offered moves well above the 5.5 grade. Included on this pitch was some significant run-out and some loose rock. P4 - This is where things get interesting. We must have followed the same route as Justin (see note below). Fun, but solid moves right from the start and a section that thinned out. No chicken heads around these parts. Fun pitch. The rap was a bit interesting. Chains proved to be a sweet reward. Just be mindful to not rap down the slabby stuff on your left, but instead rap straight out towards a gully offering a smooth walk down (relative to Josh).

Justin, I have to disagree with Duke's assessment. I believe you climbed the top pitch of Orange Flake - as we did today - JULY 3rd (this weather is nuts!). After examining the pics attached to this route and reading Mark L's suggestion of going right out of the chimney, I think we both did a much more difficult variation (left of the chimney) - 5.7 at the very least.

By Tyler Wick
From: Bishop, CA
Feb 28, 2011
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

I'll second Dave's comment on leading this route - be at least a 5.8 leader before jumping on this thing.

P1 - moderate slab moves with very little protection.. don't blow it.
P2 - fun
P3 - the chimney gets pretty run out at the top, but its easier ground.
P4 - the only pitch true to this climb's rating imo. Did a variation with a fun hand crack climber's right of the 'notch'. A nice ledge traverses from the top of the crack left to the notch, but you'll get considerable rope drag.
By Josh Cameron
From: California in my Mind
Jul 17, 2011
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a R

Lots of different types of climbing. The chimney is way fun but much too short. It's over so fast. I agree with Tyler, don't blow the moves above the bolt on the 1st pitch. Like Ron says, I shouldn't have problems with it, but I always do. Lends a serious air to the route, at least for me.
By Bryan Davenport
From: 29palms
Jul 23, 2011

Bolts are solid but starting to get aged; '90 I think. Would definitely combine pitch 1 & 2 of 4. Easily done. Been looking forward to this climb for a while, and it did not disappoint.
By susan peplow
From: Joshua Tree
Oct 16, 2011

It's questionable if I've done this route before. If so, it had to be 15+ years ago. I was looking forward to no crowds and a quick dash up this classic 3 1/2 star route. We ran into some friends at the base and probably didn't rope up until at least 4:30pm. So for time and ease I didn't even attempt the lead. Thank GOD as not only did I find the 1st pitch challenging but 2 & 3 as well. Don't get me wrong, great climbing, fun and varied but the 1st pitch is kinda run and the chimney albeit terrific kinda awkward. I'm not certain that I wouldn't have lost my wig on the sharp end. I'll say this, if you're a budding .5 leader..... heads up!

It's a great route but IMO harder than .5! YMMV

Side note, we did it in good time. Russ left the rack of 4 pieces on the ground so it was done with only the bolts, 1 slung horn and a fixed nut at the 2nd pitch. "RIGHT ON"!!!!
By Wagreich
From: Long Beach, CA
Dec 31, 2011

First pitch isn't too bad. There are multiple options: 1) straight up from the bolt up steeper slab with some good edges and crimps. 2) From bolt go left, up, then right diagonal up; this is less steep, but risks a larger whipper/pendulum. 3) Up and right past the bolt through a couple of cracks and some smaller slab moves. Option 2 seemed most appropriate, and most parties I saw vied for this option. Once in the left leaning crack, fairly straight forward. good hand jams and minor OW technique (elbows and stacked hands, but low angle once in the crack); takes camalot #'s 1-3.

Second pitch (if passing the first bolted anchors since it is easily combined with the first pitch with a 60 m rope): very run out once in the flaring chimney, but very low angle. I found this to be very doable and not heady, even without placing any gear. Make sure you have basic chimney technique down. Stay in the chimney until the end of it and the gully appears. I set up a belay here, but it is best to climb up a little higher to better prep for the final pitch.

Third pitch: Up the gully, and either up the hand crack bulge (fun if you love jamming) or traverse left, away from the bulge. Then up the notch, and continue past the large horn, climbing up onto the right hand side. This takes you to the top of the formation. There is about 15-20 feet of slab, but it's very positive. A 2-bolt anchor is at the top.

Descent: Rap about 30-40 feet to the next large ledge, where you'll find another rap anchor. Rap a second time; this rap, with a 60 m rope will take you to within 5 feet of the base, but the final 5 feet are very easy to downclimb (4th class).

Scramble down the side toward the trees near the start of the climb.

All in all a fun day, but not to be taken lightly if you're thinking 5.5 will be a gimme. Most pitches are easily and confidently (if not necessarily) run out with many jugs, but require some route finding. Feels more like an alpine climb than a normal multipitch route.

By Matt N
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Jan 16, 2012
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

5.5 my ass.

Pitch one was heady (found a bail biner on the bolt! - hanger spins too) and I definitely made some 5.6+ moves above that bolt a ways (might not have traversed left enough before going up). Pitch two was a bit grunty, but not hard. Pitch 3 I chimney'd the whole way; hard to get established, then just don't fall. Pitch 4 was easy, fun, and a relaxing finish. GREAT VIEWS, great route.
By Ty Morrison-Heath
From: Bozeman, MT
Mar 24, 2012
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R

Bring no bigger than #3 and don't forget some small TCU's for the first pitch which is slightly R rated. Rope drag on the last pitch is an issue. A full body workout for sure. Next time I'd link 1 and 2. Pretty burly first pitch: Make sure your head is on straight.
By Climb To Safety
From: california
Mar 27, 2012
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

this looks like an awesome route. this past friday on march 23 i went to climb "right on", but i didn't have an awesome time, haha.

first climb of the day. i should have read mountain project before heading out there, i figured 5.5, no problem. first pitch is spicy, i would give it a 5.6 possibly even a 5.7 pg13 depending which way you go up the slab. i climbed up to the bolt, which wasn't too bad at all. after the bolt is where it gets steep. i saw that i could have traversed left or right at the bolt towards a crack, but opted for going straight up. i wish i would have traversed left, then gone up diagonally to the crack at pitch 2. going above the bolt is very steep, though there are decent holds. unfortunately i fell from one of these holds between the bolt and the crack. i had a nasty fall and fractured my left ankle, sprained my right ankle. i had to be lowered down and left a red sling and some wire gate carabiners at the bolt for the next party to snag. what an ugly start to what should have been a great weekend.

the scramble/walk back to the car was horrible, so definitely don't get hurt on this climb, haha.

i am currently sitting here with a boot on my left foot, and an ankle brace on my right foot. make sure you have a clear head before getting on this one. i don't have a lot of slab experience, i guess i need to get some.
By Krieghoff
Oct 24, 2012

Nice route. First pitch is 5.5 if done right. At the first bolt go left about 20 to 30 feet and then up a diagonal ramp heading back to the main crack. The opening moves on the third pitch would be the physical crux and they are not 5.5 or 5.6, but you are standing on very big ledge and your going to have to work to get off the ledge. Great climb for beginners to follow or lead if they have the head for long runouts. Its popular!
By Gokul
Jan 2, 2013

Started too far right on P1 and stayed in the OW crack/chimney under the huge right-facing flake. Felt quite a bit harder than 5.5 that way, and I was wishing I had a half-dozen #3s and #4s on me. Anyone else gone up P1 this way?
By ZoeyG
From: Brattleboro, VT
Jan 8, 2013

Here's a photo for the far right OW crack.

Rock Climbing Photo: far right crack
far right crack
By Ron Thompson
From: Idlewild, CA
Feb 10, 2013

Yes, I use to climb Right On that way also to get to the first belay ledge with my twin brother Don and It was much harder than 5.5 . I started climbing Right On in the 70's when every pitch did not have any bolts. My friends and I climb back than with chocks wearing EB's shoes and using goldline rope.I neveer climb Right On using TCU in hindsight I wish I did because of the long runouts.
By Vitaliy
Aug 13, 2013
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R

By OlgaMP
From: Studio City, CA
Oct 28, 2013

Offwidth chimney on P3 is runout. There is a bat sleeping on the wall hole left to the rap anchors at the top. Bring plenty of water.
Rock Climbing Photo: Anchor on P2
Anchor on P2
By Russ Walling
Nov 17, 2013
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

Ron Thompson: WTF are you talking about? Tension traverses and copperheads? Good Lord! Yer gurgling gibberish in this thread.
By Ron Thompson
From: Idlewild, CA
Nov 17, 2013

My mistake. I meant to say climbing with chocks and Tri Cams in climbing this route. I have never used any type of friends or any other TCU devices in climbing Right On. I have climb this route over thirty times beginning in the mid 70's. Also, in his post on Right On, Locker agrees with me that switching from "Right on" to "Orange flake" adds to this climbs enjoyment. I also enjoy using you Fish products in aid climbing .
By Eric "Pig" Varley
From: Nipomo, CA
Dec 2, 2013
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c X

I agree with DaveGustafson. This route is dangerously under-rated. The first pitch is easily 5.8 slab climbing, if not harder. Add to that the potential to deck before clipping the first bolt, and you're in for a big and unpleasant surprise. Past the bolt, it just gets harder on semi-decent feet and barely functional hand holds, and remains sustained until you hit the crack. A fall before the crack would also be unfavorable and you'd hit the apron below.

P1 - 5.8X/5.9R slab climbing.
P2 - 5.5/5.6 awkward crack climbing (super secure, easily protected)
P3 - 5.6/5.7R grovel fest in a barely protectable chimney.
P4 - 5.5 well deserved mild romp to the top.

I thought Tahqutiz 5.6 was the most terrifying grade out there. Turns out J-Tree 5.5 takes the prize. I'll never climb 5.5 in J-Tree again.
By Russ Walling
Dec 2, 2013
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

The first pitch is easily 5.8 slab climbing, if not harder.

It's really not very hard. At least 30+ people who took the time to log a consensus grade have it at 5.6 or UNDER. Great route, and the best 5.5 in the Park.
By Mark Fletcher
Dec 2, 2013
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13


The way you went up is not the start of "Right On", but rather the start of "Bosch Job" and another route (5.10 on first pitch). My partner tried going up this several days ago, but after falling several times we realized we were off route. The problem with the Miramontes guidebook is it makes you think that this is the beginning of the route, when the actual beginning is around the corner to the left.

I have found all of the descriptions in the guidebooks to be somewhat vague about this climb. First, beginning climbers should realize that this is an "old school" route, so do not be fooled by the 5.5 or 5.6 rating. If you are solid at slab climbing and route finding, then the rating will apply. If you are new to slab climbing, then the first pitch will be very spicy and runout. The Miramontes guidebook makes it appear like the first two bolt belay station is right above the single bolt, but it is 60 feet higher.

Pitch two is a short perfect full hands crack. The start of pitch three is highly polished because people do not clean the bottom of the shoes before starting up from this sandy ledge. It is probably harder than 5.5 or 5.6, but any falls will be very short onto the ledge. Get in a piece of gear here right away in the crack on the right. As you get higher, the face becomes rougher. Either run it out or take big cams (the crack eventually gets so wide that cams will not work, but you will not fall down so much as fall into a narrowing crack - I used old style BD 4.5 and 5.0 Camalots). You will go through a squeeze section, so do not have your shoes or a backpack on your back in this section.

I agree with others that the 5.5 rating did apply to the last pitch. This pitch is straight forward. Be prepared for a 30 runout on slab to the very top.

Ignore what guidebooks tell you regarding the descent. From the top make a 50 foot rappel from the rappel chains to a ledge with blocks. Then walk about 15-20 feet to the right along a wall to a second set of rappel chains. Here a single 60 m rope will get you with some rope stretch to the bottom down a slab next to an offwidth dihedral or deposit you onto a pedestal 10 feet up from which you can easily down climb. Double ropes will get you down and allow you to rappel even further to avoid a 3rd class down climb on a lower slab. Follow the faint climber's trail down through boulders and dead trees to the level ground.
By Matt N
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Dec 13, 2013
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

@ OlgaMP - its called multipitch trad, usually this involves a walkoff! Can't believe that's surprising. Its not that long and is very mellow for any Jtree descent.

@ Eric "Pig" Varley - "5.8 X" !!! haha
Thanks for making me feel like a badass for leading this early in my career, when I was a 5.8ish leader. (checked and I'd been leading trad ~7 months and this was my most committing lead for sure at the time)

This is getting to be a bit too much of a discussion. Maybe the mods can move some posts.
By Ron Thompson
From: Idlewild, CA
Jan 28, 2014

Right On

I have been climbing Right On for over 25 years. I used to switch cracks into Pitch 2 sometimes on Orange Flake. My first time up Right On was in 1977 and no bolts were installed on any pitch ! My last climb up this face was in 1992 which was my 29 ascent on this route and every pitch except pitch 4 had bolts. I installed a rap station near the top of Right On in the late 70's. Not the traditional rap station installed by John Wolf on top of Right on because you must down climb a long slab from the top to the rap bolts and rap 140 feet down the smooth face, avoiding hiking down the gully; you must bring two ropes. I have in the past climb this entire route under one hour. On pitch 3, stay on the left side of the face and avoid the main crack system but stay near the main crack but not in it until you are near the top of P3. Do not go to far left near the top of P3. Than, you can climb this pitch real easy rather than being in the main crack system which is awkward and strenuous. Switching cracks sometimes into Orange Flake makes this route fun. Take a set of "tri Cams" they work well on this route.
By mike c
From: golden
Oct 16, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R

that may be the most sandbaged 5.5 in the world if you climb through the felt at least 5.8r and i thought i was a sandbager.after that route as my warm up, i flashed heart of darkness.
By Drewsky
Oct 26, 2014

Fun climb. Recommend against attempting a mysterious 3 bolt slab to the right of the final pitch. We`d been climbing friction for a couple days anyway and I figured, how bad could it possibly be? Whatever it was it wasn't pleasant, nor was my effort entirely successful.
By Kurt Burt
Feb 7, 2015

5.8/9 R/X? Wtf? That's funny. Fun route, easy day, No groveling needed.
P1- I went up the face route not the flake start to the right. Good gear then pro flake (small tcu or nut) to go out left to get the bolt if your want. I traversed a few feet to the left after the bolt then went up. It's a run to get to the crack but way easier then any 5.6 face route in josh IMO.
P2- up the great hand/fist crack in corner to another bolted belay. Again 5.5 maybe
P3- all this gibberish about knee bars and grunts.... Just stand up with your back to the wall and chimney. For like a move. Then awesome edges appear and you can just bridge the gap for about half way. I placed pro here then went out to the face on the left, it's runnout but it looked cool and I had enough of the chasm. Ended on the blocks that choke the chimney at the top.
P4- climb the great face/corner system to the notch. My favorite pitch of the route just cause it was easy.

Great route, not bad but you have to be prepared to punch it on the first pitch. It seemed no worse then any other slab pitch for the grade like black tide or other stuff around. Have fun and have an adventure!

Kurt Burt
By AndrewB
From: Davis, CA
Mar 9, 2015

When the P3 chimney peters out, I went left up a flake and slab, traversed left 30 ft, and went up a short offwidth to a belay. I think I switched cracks to a different route? Made it a little harder than 5.5, or whatever you rate the earlier pitches!
By Justin Tomlinson
From: Monrovia, CA
Apr 22, 2015
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R

Andrew, you traversed over to Orange Flake.
By Ron Thompson
From: Idlewild, CA
Dec 10, 2015

Last year in April I climb Right On with my best friend Danny. We decided to climb the route the same way we did in 1977. I only had chocks with us and no TCU with us because they were not out yet. The first pitch was always steep, I used only one protection point just before the bolt which was not installed in the mid 70's. I did not clip that bolt . The second pitch was steep and my chocks worked well in the crack in gaining the next ledge . The third pitch, I just used the two bolts at the belay ledge and ran out the whole pitch because my chock would not fit in the wide cracks system. The last pinch was easy and I only used two chock getting over the top. This would be my last climb doing Right On and it was my 30th time up this great wall starting back in the 70's. I wore only my PA's my climbing shoes I had for over twenty years, my friend Danny just wore his tennis shoes . The first time I climb Right On no bolts were on any of the belay ledges. Over the years they started showing up with the last one installed on the first pitch.
By gavinsmith
From: Toronto, Ontario
Jan 6, 2016

I led p1 in April 2015 when I was a 5.6-7 leader (5.5-6 at josh), and it wasn't too bad. A few moments of hesitation in the top half, but okay. I went to repeat it on Dec. 27, not thinking about the fact that it would be entirely in the shade. That slab was dramatically harder with very cold toes. I ended up working the top half of the pitch for about 15 minutes, ended up running it out way left towards Orange Flake and then back over to the right to avoid the steepest section. I did not anticipate the difference in difficulty that would be caused by the colder rock. I've since led much harder friction on the same trip, but in the sun.
By T. Stark
From: Los Angeles, CA
Feb 10, 2016

Revisited this route while teaching a newish leader this last weekend. P1 is a typical runout "welcome to JT" slab section, with which you should take your time. I also agree that the traverse left to finish out Orange Flake is well worth it. Great route to get some miles in on.
By Shane Kenyon
Nov 19, 2016
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

I've spent some time on Chapel Pond slab in Keene Valley leading and following on Regular Route (5.5PG13) and Empress (5.5X), plus plenty of trad leads in the Daks on 5.7 slabs and friction climbs. I expected this to be slightly more difficult than Regular Route. It is a lot more difficult and demanding than either route I mentioned above, with this route being only 1/2 as long (350' vs 700'). Also Empress (P5) has an X rating versus Right On's PG13 (P1) but I'd say they are comparable (maybe both should be R).

I successfully led the first pitch and was able to place 3 pieces before the bolt. Granted none of them would prevent a hard landing on the ledges and bulges, but I'm guessing the bolt is about 80' off the deck so worth it to take the extra time. Keeping left after the bolt led to easier climbing along a crack system (per the route beta). This pitch felt harder than a 5.6 friction climb, but that being said, I didn't really feel like I had to pull any difficult moves.

P2 is very exposed and my partner led it. Following it wasn't too strenuous, but definitely felt harder than a 5.6, taping up probably would be good because you need some hand jams to stay on.

P3 chimney is awkward. The first move is a bit tricky but not horrible. I made the mistake of trying to jam up this too, and got super pumped after about 30' (and placing 4 pieces), my partner finished this pitch too. The trick as others mentioned is to wedge your back against the right wall and keep your feet high and just run it out. The crack will eat any gear you want to put in, but its deep and strenuous to stay on while messing with gear. The exit has a super cool undercling rail over a deep crevasse that is totally bomber.

P4 easier climbing up the trough. The traverse left feels very exposed but the views are incredible. I opted to use a small but bomber ripple to hand traverse but there is a decent blackish ledge a bit lower but the hands aren't as good and the pro was better a bit higher.

I'd been drawn to Saddle Rock and this climb for a while now. Saddle Rock looms over the valley and can be seen from all over the park, beckoning you to explore it. I'm super happy to have done it with much props to my partner John McMullin for sending the tough sections. We had a very windy day, perhaps 35-45MPH, which made things spicy especially on P1 where I had to hug the rock a few times to let the gusts pass. Unlike most climbs I've done in JTree, this feels like a real alpine route, a real opportunity to get lost in the nooks and crannies of the mountain.
By Aron B
From: Germany
May 15, 2017

To the climbers who did the route yesterday in spite of the closure. (Which is clearly marked on every single trail sign)
You suck!
You were clearly not from the area and such a behaviour will end up in permanent closures and trouble for the locals. I am not even an American, but this is just inconsiderate AF to your fellow climbers.

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