REI Community
Chimney Rock - East Face
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Blind Ambition T 
Flue, Right, The T 
Flue, The T 
Raven's Reach T 

The Flue 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 70'
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: John Wolfe and Dick James, February 1969
Page Views: 3,762
Submitted By: C Miller on Jul 5, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (126)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
Steve Thomas leading the Flue.


The route beings with vertical face past several horizontals (gear to 1.5") to a step left into a long right-slanting hand crack. Midway up the crack step right a bit and employ a combination of crack and face climbing which leads one to a large ledge with bolted anchors.

This is an often overlooked route that is on par with some of the more popular Hidden Valley classics that often have a line of people on them. If you haven't done this climb check it out - you may be pleasantly surprised.


Located on the East Face of Chimney Rock and identifiable as a right-slanting crack leading to a large ledge just right of the namesake "chimney" which splits the rock.


Gear to 3". Belay/rap anchor (3/8') on ledge.

Photos of The Flue Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Parker at the way fun 2nd crux. The big dark spot ...
Parker at the way fun 2nd crux. The big dark spot ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Flue
Rock Climbing Photo: In the easier section. Photo by Lluis.
In the easier section. Photo by Lluis.
Rock Climbing Photo: Chris starts up The Flue, Parker belays. Photo by ...
Chris starts up The Flue, Parker belays. Photo by ...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Flue 5.8. Photo by Blitzo.
The Flue 5.8. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Dave K. near the top of The Flue (5.8), Joshua Tre...
Dave K. near the top of The Flue (5.8), Joshua Tre...
Rock Climbing Photo: Anonymous Hottie on The Flue
Anonymous Hottie on The Flue

Comments on The Flue Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 15, 2015
By Caroline
Dec 5, 2004
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I found the start difficult to protect but the situation improves further up.
By wes
From: oxnard, ca
Sep 20, 2006

I think this climb is a must do. Save your big gear for the top part like #3 or 3.5 one of the best 5.8 i have lead.
By Will S
From: Joshua Tree
Jan 25, 2007
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Fun route. I don't think it's any better than the classics mentioned in the intro, but it's worth all the stars in the guide. Would recommend carrying your tiny cams for this one. There are a few thin horizontal slots down low before you get into the main crack system that would eat cams smaller than finger size. I didn't take anything smaller than a green alien and was kind of wishing I had....there's pro without the small stuff, it's just a little funky.

Take a look at the bolted face route "Blind Ambition" to the right on your way's another good one while you're there.
By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Apr 7, 2007
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R

As Vogel says in his latest guide, this climb is classic Josh 5.8 for the grade. Don't jump on this unless you are solid on 5.8, as the protection in the first 40 feet - while available - is not straightforward and sections ultimately have ground fall potential.

I found a 0.75 Camalot useful in the first pod, and then got opposed RPs about 20 feet later (protecting the leftward traverse).

An OK climb IMO, but no where close to a favorite 5.8 in the park for me.
By Darren D.
Apr 12, 2007
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

If this is a classic J-Tree climb for the grade, there must not be a lot of good 5.8's in the park. I might do it again because the rap was so convenient.
By Brian Hench
From: Costa Mesa, CA
Mar 4, 2009
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13

A classic Joshua Tree Sandbag. 5.8 the same way Leaping Leaner is 5.6.
By ccmski body
From: Seattle, WA
Oct 26, 2009
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Did this route per a friend's reccomendation. Found myself wondering if I had even gotten on the right route... way to grainy to be considered a classic IMO. Plenty of other routes in the park at the grade that are much more fun/aesthetic/worthwhile.
By Chris Owen
From: Big Bear Lake
Feb 12, 2010
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Technically interesting, spicy at the start, exposed at the top with some very good moves. I think it's one of the better 5.8's I've done at JTree.
By Johnny Ice
From: Tucson, AZ
Mar 30, 2011

So fun!! Seemed a lot easier than I thought it'd be, double cross seemed more difficult to me. It was cool.
By BrendanC
From: Sherman oaks, ca
May 14, 2011
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Start is bouldery/pumpy to protect but the pro is good. Took the left of the two cracks towards the top as it felt like the most natural line. Didn't seem too dirty to me. Fun route. Bolted anchor. Difficulty felt consistent with Continuum / Dinky Doinks. i.e -- 5.8's that are one more hard move away from 5.9.
By Simon Hatfield
From: Oakland, CA
Mar 14, 2012

There is definitely a trick to this route - a much harder and scarier onsight than it is a repeat lead.
By Jan Tarculas
From: Riverside, Ca
Mar 17, 2012

I did white lightening "5.7", double cross "5.7+ - 5.8", and hands off "5.8" and I thought this was the easiest one of the bunch with white lightening being the hardest.
By Brian Chastain
Feb 4, 2013
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I saw two different groups after I lead it go up and back down. They would probably call it something harder, but if you sit around and look for gear that isn't there in the beginning, you'll get pumped and think the same thing. Just climb up to the crack and then place gear. The climbing is easy. If you are at your grade, climb something you can get adequate gear in closer to the ground.

Andy's comment above is misleading. You climb about 18 feet until you hit the main crack and it diagonals right. It is certainly no 40 feet as the whole climb is like 60 feet. No left traverse is in this thing. There is a .75 C4 placement, but if you do place it will be very poor as they are too wide for this pod. A tricam would be better (larger than the blue tricam). I don't own any or use them, but I suggested it and that was the largest size the group after us had and it was not big enough.

Really fun climb though. Perfect to get you warmed up for Blind Ambition.
By Brian Martin
From: Bend, OR
Dec 22, 2013

The pro at the beginning is a little tricky, but it's bomber. I thought the crux came closer to the top as the crack became very shallow and flared. Fun route right outside the tent.
By Joe Hunt
From: Costa Mesa, CA
Apr 15, 2015
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c PG13

"way to grainy to be considered a classic IMO"

I thought that the first time up it, too. But, after four laps on it I'm calling it pretty classic. :) Automatic toprope for Blind Ambition, too!

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About