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Saddle Rocks - Skirt (West Face)
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Cheap Way to Die T 
Cole-Anderson S 
Dial 911 T 
Do Rein Me T 
Gaucho Marx T 
Hanna Montana TR 
Harlequin T 
Harley Queen T 
If You see Crow, Bark! T 
Kid Calingula T 
Orange Flake T 
Posse, The T 
R&R Revamped T 
Restoration & Repair (R&R) T 
Right On T 
Santa Cruz T 
Silver Spur T 
Six Shooter T 
Us and Them (aka The Route Formerly Known as Negro Girls) T 
Walk on the Wild Side T 
Where Have all the Cowboys Gone T 
Write In TR 

Walk on the Wild Side 

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

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 250'
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Roy Naasz and Chris Wegener, January 1970
Page Views: 36,479
Submitted By: C Miller on Jul 3, 2002

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BETA PHOTO: Topo with rappel route for Walk On the Wild Side. ...


Walk on the Wild Side takes a sweeping line up the right side of Saddle Rocks and with it's deceptively moderate grade, multi-pitch climbing and the fact that nothing more than quickdraws are needed make it one of the most popular routes in all of Joshua Tree.

The climb starts by scrambling up to the base and starting off the highpoint of stacked blocks.

Climbing slightly left and up to start, work your way back right to belay in a natural hole at bolt anchors. 6 bolts on this pitch
P2) Climb up and left to another bolted belay past 3 bolts.
P3) This pitch climbs past 2 bolts to an anchor. This last pitch is a little run-out, but much easier. It's possible to combine pitches 2 and 3 together for a rope stretching pitch (a 70 meter rope works well here).

The descent offers several choices: 1) Rap the route with (2) two 60 meter ropes. The first rap is close to 100' and will take you straight down to the first anchor of Dial 911 (the next route to the left of WOWS). From here one more rap leads you to the ground.

2) The other option is to top past the last bolted anchor and walk/downclimb the ramp to the (climber's) right. At a certain point it will be best to traverse improbably out to the top of a slab to access a bolted rap anchor (this is the anchor for Presto In C Sharp). A rap from here takes you to a ledge where you will find another rap anchor that will take you down a faint waterchute and to the ground. Now walk downhill through rocks and a faint trail to the base of the rock, and back around to your packs. Please note that this descent is much longer, and slightly more involved, but has the advantage of only needing a single cord.

Lastly, if you are looking for some adventure on a long moonlit night (and/or couldn't make it on the route that day) do what the locals do and climb it by the light of the full moon.

Which way to the Wild Side? 

Found on the far right side of Saddle Rocks Skirt and is the third route from the right. Please note that

the climb starts by scrambling up to the base and starting off the highpoint of stacked blocks.


All bolted with bolted anchors, but for the grade not a sport climb. Most bolts and anchors are 1/2", with the 3rd pitch belay being 3/8".

Photos of Walk on the Wild Side Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: the upper slabs
the upper slabs
Rock Climbing Photo: Dalton and Kappy finishing the 3rd pitch
Dalton and Kappy finishing the 3rd pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Saddle Rocks showing Walk On The Wild Side
BETA PHOTO: Saddle Rocks showing Walk On The Wild Side
Rock Climbing Photo: The rap on WWS
The rap on WWS
Rock Climbing Photo: Rappel from top of 3rd pitch.
Rappel from top of 3rd pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Sean takes off on P2. Walk on the Wild Side.   Pho...
Sean takes off on P2. Walk on the Wild Side. Pho...
Rock Climbing Photo: On the approach to Saddle Rocks
On the approach to Saddle Rocks
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up on the first pitch. The first bolt had ...
BETA PHOTO: Looking up on the first pitch. The first bolt had ...
Rock Climbing Photo: 1st pitch
1st pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Snider taking a sunset "Walk"
Snider taking a sunset "Walk"
Rock Climbing Photo: Western bolting...  Great Route!!!!!!
Western bolting... Great Route!!!!!!
Rock Climbing Photo: Walk on the Wild Side
Walk on the Wild Side
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing 1st pitch. Top climber is at 1st belay an...
Climbing 1st pitch. Top climber is at 1st belay an...
Rock Climbing Photo: Christa Cline near the top of the first pitch.
Christa Cline near the top of the first pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown climbers 2-13-10 early afternoon.
Unknown climbers 2-13-10 early afternoon.
Rock Climbing Photo: "Walk On The Wild Side". Photo by Blitzo...
"Walk On The Wild Side". Photo by Blitzo...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down the winding 1st Pitch.
Looking down the winding 1st Pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: View from the top: spectacular! There is a great &...
View from the top: spectacular! There is a great &...
Rock Climbing Photo: Beth leading pitch 1 after I backed off the lead. ...
Beth leading pitch 1 after I backed off the lead. ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Walk on the WRONG Side!   This is Park Service bet...
BETA PHOTO: Walk on the WRONG Side! This is Park Service bet...
Rock Climbing Photo: Gary, leading low on the route.
Gary, leading low on the route.
Rock Climbing Photo: The view from the top!
The view from the top!
Rock Climbing Photo: Anne is lower on the final pitch of the climb...
Anne is lower on the final pitch of the climb...
Rock Climbing Photo: View from top of pitch 3 with decent chains visibl...
View from top of pitch 3 with decent chains visibl...

Show All 32 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Walk on the Wild Side Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 16, 2017
By Mark J. Nelson
Nov 4, 2002

Combining P2 and P3 left us with 15-20 feet remaining on a 60m rope. A set of stoppers could come in handy halfway up P1, but the route is quite reasonable without them.

By Locker
From: Yucca Valley, CA
Oct 7, 2003

Yes this one is a good one. I agree with it as a "classic". I missed a clip and ran out pitch two and three with zero problems. A suggestion to use stoppers somewhere on pitch one is questionable. Unless I was off route (Which I admit I often go to territory un-planned) all I saw that might take a placement were loose flakes. If they are the suggested spots, well....... I damned sure would not trust them. It is well protected and not neccessary to use pro. On top there are three different sets of anchors. Two chains, two bolted with rap rings, and one single bolt. Using the rap ring set up and a 60m rope takes you pretty much right back where you started from.
By Steve Powell
Oct 12, 2003

Did this climb for the second time yesterday. The first time was twenty years ago. Still remains classic(imo).As far as rapping, there is a rap anchor(chains) just to left(skier's left) of the anchor for WOWS. Rap from the chains to a hanging bolted belay anchor(on the route Negro Girls)with two ropes. Rap to the ground from there. You will end up to the climber's right to the start of WOWS.Rapping this way avoids a clusterf*ck on WOWS.
By Woody Stark
Jan 23, 2004

Don't trust those flakes for pro. This is a well protected route. If you would like a little more excitement vis a vis pro, try "Negro Girls" next door.
By Kevin Currigan
From: Lakewood
Feb 11, 2004

"but for the grade not a sport climb" Amen...better be solid at grade because the bolts feel like they are way out there; especially if you are expecting a sport bolted route. This was my first JTree climb-great intro...
By GoBotRocker
From: Spfld, Ma
Apr 29, 2004

A fun climb, Nice "Dog House", at the top of the P1. Glad I took 2 60 M ropes... My forgetful partner, calls this climb "Crazy Feet". No matter the name still fun. Oh and the acces trail is not directly across from the parking lot it's about 100' to the right as you face the cliff, look for the brown 4' tall stake with the Access Fund trail marker on it.
By Jack Thompson
Sep 15, 2004
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

This was my fourth lead in my home town of Joshau Tree, done when I was 17 on a spectacularly clear and windy day. The experience still sticks with me, seven years later. I lead the first pitch without falls, but plenty of moments where the wind was stealing what little breath came out of me, whipping chock out of my bag in huge plumes. My focus was only broken when I feared I might be off route and those fears took further shap in the profound wonder about how I had gotten myself into such a mess. Pitch 1 ended and my more experienced partner was soon out of sight, going for the top on pitch 2. The belay device was soon up against my tie in knot, and I waited for familiar tugs on the rope or his call that he was off belay. Instead, between huge gusts of wind I heard "climb up!" My partner had done this route at leat three times before this day and I assumed we would never make the mistake of bringing a knife to a gun fight. But alas, our stupid asses had brought a fifty meter rope and I was soon shaking my head as the reality of the situation sunk in and I found myself unclipped my belay rig so we could simul. We gained the top without incident. I sat next to him, our feet hanging off the edge, saying not a word and instead, savoring the amazing panoramic view before us. I'd chew his ass later. But I coudn't bring myself to. We'd both been fools. We'd survived. There was more climbing to be done, hopefully distancing myself with each hand jam and smear, further and further away from the perils of novicedom. I'll never forget that day, as long as I live. It felt as true and adventure as any.
By Anonymous Coward
Sep 15, 2004

Cool story Jack. Makes me sentimental for J-tree.
By Anonymous Coward
Oct 4, 2004

The belays on this route seem to have been re-engineered for the better since I last climbed it. P1 climbs past six bolts to a three bolt belay stance in a little hole. P2 climbs past five bolts to a nice ledge. We then did two double rope rappels down chain anchors to the right (climbers right) of the route.

We watched Peter Croft solo this route while we were on our way down. It was an appopriate way to meet a climbing legend.

Have fun on this classic.

By Blitzo
Sep 15, 2006

Good route! I'm with the 5.7+ rating.
By wes
From: oxnard, ca
Sep 20, 2006

Dont bother bringing nuts or cams. There is one spot that may take a nut but there is a bolt right next to it. Save yourself the trouble with weight its a fun climb go do it.
From: Mesa AZ
Oct 30, 2006
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I did this route on October 28th and led the second pitch. The first pitch was relatively easy going but the height on the second pitch makes you think. As I passed the second bolt...looking for the third I realized that I didn't go left to the anchors and had traveled about 40 feet out the wrong direction. I don't recommend this...LOL
I had to solo from the second bolt to the top, all the while thinking hard about the amount of rope trailing behind me. Make sure you go left to the anchors or you will be wondering if your life insurance covers this type of activity...Dont bring stoppers they are unnecessary, there is only one spot that may take them and its bomber handholds and a mantle and voile...your there...
By Bill Olszewski
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Apr 8, 2007
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

One of the best face climbs in JT - this IS traditional slab climbing! I've only done it as two pitches, just stay right of the bolted anchor on P2 and continue up the waterchute to the world's greatest belay ledge. Kick back in the "easy chair" and enjoy the view of Hidden Valley and the Wonderland. Bring several slings including a couple 4'ers for the corners of the zigzag first pitch.
By Mark L
Apr 30, 2007

I led the first pitch 2 years back and for those breaking in to friction climbing at the 5.7/5.8 level would recommend eyeballing it first before leading it or taking a beginner to follow it (due to the pendulum possibility).

It felt very technical on the first pitch and falling from almost any point is usually going to involve either hitting something (such as before 2nd bolt), or penduluming. To one who is not a comfortable 5.8 Josh slab leader the average bolt space on the first pitch is probably farther than one would like.
By Ladd
Nov 8, 2007

Check out the article in Climbing
By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Nov 24, 2007
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Did it in two pitches. I guess I was off route, I led p2, climbed up past a couple bolts. Saw an anchor 20 feet directly left, opted to keep going up. Traversed left up higher to clip one more bolt before easy runout to the top. Good slabbin' fun.
By Aerili
From: Los Alamos, NM
Mar 10, 2009

When I climbed this route in 2006, we only had one rope with us so we did the walk-off. It so totally sucks. Bring a second rope and do the rap.

It seems like whichever pitch one leads (if you don't lead both) perhaps comes across as the crux pitch on this route? I lead the first pitch and thought it was the crux. My partner thought the second pitch was scarier. I guess it just depends on whether you're on TR or not? :)
By Brian Hench
From: Costa Mesa, CA
Mar 25, 2009
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

Come on. The walk off doesn't suck. It's all a matter of attitude. Think of it as an adventure.
By toddgordon Gordon
From: Joshua Tree, California
Mar 25, 2009

I agree with Brian;.
(But respect Eyes of Greens comment....and enjoy her comments, what she has to say, and her pics.....)...I enjoy the walkoff, and have never rapped the route in the many times I've done the climb.......If you walk off to the left, you get to go through the cool tunnel section, which is fun. Rapping the route always seemed funny to me......and you miss out on the last 150 feet of scrambling to the top of the formation.......
By peachy spohn
Mar 29, 2009

This route is great fun. However, if you climb at this grade and are wanting to do it because it is bolted and 5.7+ be aware that the bolts are far apart and the moves are slab moves. Could be a scary lead if you climb 5.9 or below...even if you climb harder. One of the coolest routes though.
By Aerili
From: Los Alamos, NM
Apr 10, 2009

I still say the walk-off sucked. It seemed overly long and laborious for a 2-pitch route, and my partner and I (and he is definitely an avid "adventure" climber) would have preferred to use the time to climb something else instead and get that much more in for the day. To each her/his own.
By Dan Costello
Apr 19, 2009
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

A nice route that rewards you with wonderful, continuous movement* and a hell of a view from the final station.

Between the downclimb and the rappel, I'd go with a rappel with 2 ropes so long as there are no parties climbing below yours. I don't guess that trying to rap through someone else's business on this slab would be a service to them.

[*]In other words, well-protected by Joshua Tree standards ... but not a Malibu Creek or New Jack bolt-ladder by any means. I would not suggest falling for kicks on this route.
By roman d
From: Pasadena, CA
Mar 17, 2010

Excellent line, easily done as 2 pitches. A single 70m rope gets you down without hassle.
By Rodger Raubach
Oct 14, 2010
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Possibly the most enjoyable moderate route in Joshua Tree National Park. Certainly one of the longest routes here, and deservedly popular. No problem with the assigned grade, either.
By Jayc
Nov 17, 2010

I did this route in April 2010 with my girlfriend to introduce her to multipitch climbing. We did it in two pitches with a 60m rope.Walk on the wild side is an appropriate name for the meandering and exposed nature of this climb.Since we only had one rope we walked off the back,it was definitely an adventure since we had only one headlamp to share and only found the last rappel into the boulder gulley after stemming down a long chimney ropeless.
By Eli Stein
From: Soulthern Caliswag
Jan 23, 2011

Rapping with one 60 meter rope is no problem. Rap the third pitch as normal. When rapping the second pitch,go straight down (not following the line of the climb at the bottom),and see two sets of rap anchors very close together; pick the left most one. Then, do a short rap to a set of ring anchors clearly seen from the top of the rap(you are no longer rapping down Walk on the Wild Side). Do one more rap from the ring anchors to ground. Down with a 60!
By Tradiban
Apr 23, 2013

Make sure you start at the highest point of boulders leaning on the wall.

I think it's pretty standard to do this in two pitches.
By RustyLane
From: Minneapolis
Dec 23, 2013

I lead this at dusk and later moonlight, awesome climb but ended finishing the on Harlequin in the dark, fun!
By Vit
Jan 30, 2014

Ditto what others said - be sure at to start at the hight point of the boulders at the base. I ended up running it out on the 10b X-rated If you See Crows Bark. The Miramontes Book doesn't show Negro Girls and If you See Crows Bark to the right, so this mistake is easy to make. If you are at the right-most bolted line you are at the wrong place!
By Johnny Y
From: California
Mar 4, 2014

With a 60m rope, the rappel is exactly as described in Randy Vogel's book, almost the same as what Eli said but we picked the climber's right of the 2 closely spaced rap stations (not left). It is the first pitch anchor for Dial 911 and from there, a single rap (diagonally) will just make it to the start of WOTWS, remember to tie knots at the end if you have a 60m!
By D-Storm
Apr 1, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Did this on my first full day in J-Tree – even for people leading much harder than 5.8, this friction route is a great way to get your head in the game for many other routes there. And it's just a beautiful outing. Finish the day with Space Mountain and a tour of the Oyster Bar area.
By Brandon Brooks
From: Scottsdale, az
Apr 25, 2014

I recommend that you do this route early early morning or try to time it sothat your the last group going up.

We saved this one for last and where pretty stoked about repelling it straight down vs. the route to the left.

Our guide book said it was a trad route, we didn't place any pro.
By Chris D
From: the couch
May 19, 2014

"Our guide book said it was a trad route, we didn't place any pro."

As discussed above, a route that is protected entirely with bolts is not necessarily a sport route.
By Matt N
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Jan 21, 2015

Rapping with a 60m - be careful on your last one. You have two anchor choices for the last rap, climber's left is newer, right had button heads that still looked fine. Chose left one as someone advised above (I'm sure the right was fine and may have helped with the length).
My 60m, with device extended 2', still was a body length short of the starting boulder. Just a heads up to be prepared for it.
By Josh Cameron
From: California in my Mind
Jan 29, 2015
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

I've rapped off and done the walk-off. The rap is straightforward and allows you to get on with it so you can go do more climbing; just watch out for parties coming up the route after you. The walk off is an adventure and I felt it involved a bit of routefinding through the boulder field. It does turn the climb into more of a mountaineering experience though.

During July of 2004 I climbed this route a second time wanting to take my girlfriend-now-my-wife up it. Having already done the rap and only having 1 rope we did the walk off. We got the climb in the shade but got scorched on the walk-off. What made it worse was that we took a couple of wrong turns in the boulder field that led to dead-ends or drop-offs. Eventually we made it out and got back to our car. By then it was almost noon and the temp was something like 101 degrees. We both thought it sucked but adventures like these are what enrich and enliven our climbing lives. Now, looking back it was awesome.
By The Billy Goat
From: fontana,ca
Jan 12, 2016
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Climbed and led this in Feb 15 for the first time in some years. What different route than I remember. Slick as hell. First bolt is a bit run out. This is a classic Josh climb, do it, it's blast but read your beta as the consequences are a bit splattering.
By Serge Smirnov
Feb 21, 2016

Easier than I expected for a Joshua Tree 5.8 - would be a reasonable 5.8 slab even by non-Joshua-Tree standards IMO.
By BiggityBMan
Mar 6, 2016

I believe I was the party ahead of Nick on Feb 14, and wanted to give my 2 cents on the walk off since I wasn't totally clear from the thread. If following the beta from the Bob Gaines guidebook, it's the bolts on top of pitch 4 that are chopped. If you do the standard 3 pitches to the ledge where many parties rap from, you can continue up to the left in the flake/crack to another ledge where the bolts are gone, but you can sling a boulder or build a natural anchor with a few 1-2 inch cams as Nick is describing (I think he linked pitches 3 and 4). From there, you move down and right where there is another slung boulder to belay the last (5th) pitch up the easy slab. At the top of that pitch, there are rap bolts to do a short rap down to the big ledge where the rappel anchor for Right On is, and from there it's one more rap to the ground. Another note since I've done the Right On rappel twice, a 60m won't reach the bottom, either use a 70m or be comfortable down climbing the last ~10-15 feet.
By Joshua Munoz
Mar 21, 2016

Double check and make sure that you aren't climbing If You See Crow, Bark! We made the mistake of that and it's an X-rated route. Careful out there!
By John Gassel
From: Boston, MA
Mar 31, 2016

Three days later, made the same mistake as Joshua.

If you have the Miramontes guidebook, remember that it doesn't have all the routes. The right-most route on the wall is If You See Crow, Bark not Walk on the Wild Side. Don't accidentally climb a 5.10b X!
By Kevin Kent
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 1, 2017

From the top of P3 it's a quick easy scramble up (and right) to the top of formation if you want to top it out. From there it's trivial to rap with 1 rope down the backside, one 40' rap then one 80' rap. This puts you at the base of space mountain and a quck boulder hop down the north side back to the bottom.
By Dimes
From: Joshua Tree, Ca.
Feb 28, 2017

All lead and belay bolts are now 1/2" stainless steel with stainless steel hangers except those at the third pitch belay and are courtesy of the ASCA.
By Stacy Gorin
Mar 13, 2017

March 2017 not impressed. This route is definitely slab with poor hands and was not that fun at all. I am confused as why it has so many stars. Use 70m rope if possible. The bolts were so spaced apart and zig zagged that we wondered the whole time if we were even on route. Even some of the pics on MP are actually of the route to the left (Dial 911), which is bolted much better.
By Tradiban
Mar 13, 2017

Lol, a bomb?!?! Stacy, that's trolling territory! And you just joined MP TODAY to hate the route?! Slick, no one will know you are a troll. My lips are sealed
By Sean Cooney
Mar 16, 2017
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

@Stacy Gorin - Don't call a slab route a bomb because it "had poor hands." That's what slab routes are. Walk on the Wild Side is also an old school JTree route, so don't expect Red Rocks style bolting and expect it follow natural weaknesses in the wall.

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