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Watanobe Wall
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Watanobe Wall 

YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 60'
Original:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Tobin Soreson, Jim Wilson & Guy Keese, 1975
Page Views: 2,653
Submitted By: Tony B on Dec 28, 2003

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Watanobe Wall


2 or 3 stars, depending on how the route is done. FInishing left (as shown in topo) is easier and less fun. Finishing right adds a second crux and is more sustained, singular and fun. Either way, the climb is a reasonably long pitch for J-tree and is certainly safe and protectable and accessible.

This route is on the West Face of the West Side of Steve Canyon, facing Quail SPrings road. There are 2 sub-rocks here. The Northward of these is referred to as the Hot Tub, and the South as Watanobe Wall, which has a namesake route.

Watanobe Wall (the climb) is on the North end of the Watanobe Wall buttress and ascends a rather obvious, steep, right-leaning crack system. This climb abounds with 'knobs'... "what a nobby wall" indeed, but primarily for the upper half. Significant jamming skills are also employed. This area can be reached from the inside of Steve Canyon by picking your way past Tennis Shoe Crack and over the saddle close to the North end, with some easy 5th class down climbing (5.3 or loose your way and it will be 5.6). It can also be approached more easily from the road parking areas to the West.

Climb up and right in the initial crack for ~7M to reach a crux horizontal jam (#3 cam) and then pull up and right into the second crack in the system. Climb this stellar crack for ~9M more, then either go left (easier 5.8?) or continue in the same system to the right (better, 5.9, and more like the lower portion). Either way, you will take landing on the left or right side of a large attached boulder on a large sloping ledge. Climb up the left through horizontals, going well left where required, or to the right in wide crack (4" gear, but easy) to reach the top of the wall. Walk East ~7M to reach a fixed belay at the top of Tennis Shoe Crack.

Descend as down the rap on the E Face above tennis shoe crack Or Candellabra and walk SW or scramble SE back to the base.


A set of stoppers (maybe a few extras if you sew things up) and a set fo cams from 1-3" A few fist-sized pieces might go in up top.

Photos of Watanobe Wall Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Karin belaying Jill on Watanobe Wall, March '05.
Karin belaying Jill on Watanobe Wall, March '05.
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 27 while climbing my age for my 30th birthda...
Pitch 27 while climbing my age for my 30th birthda...
Rock Climbing Photo: Watanobe Wall
BETA PHOTO: Watanobe Wall
Rock Climbing Photo: Elva Rogers climbing Watanobe Wall (5.10a) in Josh...
Elva Rogers climbing Watanobe Wall (5.10a) in Josh...
Rock Climbing Photo: Climber on the route Watanobe Wall
Climber on the route Watanobe Wall
Rock Climbing Photo: Watanobe Wall. Photo by Blitzo.
BETA PHOTO: Watanobe Wall. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: "Watanobe Wall". Photo by Blitzo.
"Watanobe Wall". Photo by Blitzo.

Comments on Watanobe Wall Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 7, 2015
By Randy
Jan 14, 2004
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

FA: Tobin Soreson, Jim Wilson & Guy Keese, 1975. A good route, but hardly 3 stars unless you mean 3 out of 5.
By Jeff Sewell
Jan 14, 2004
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Agree with Tony.. I'd done this one multiple times. Usually took the pussy exit left (5.8sh). Going straight up adds an extra punch. .
By The Gray Tradster
Jan 14, 2004
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

On the hard side of 10a. All of our gang did Taxman, (as well as most other a's) cleanly but took a couple of trys on this one! A kneebar helps.

If you set a TR on it, place 2 or 3 pieces for directionals.It's an optical illusion that makes the crack look much more vertical than it is when viewed from below. You could end up swinging hard from the first crux into the corner on the right if you don't set it up correctly.
By Karen
From: Prescott
Jan 24, 2005
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

All in our party agreed this should be rated a 5.10b. The last time I climbed this was in 11-04 and it was not any easier this time even knowing what moves lied ahead. The initial start is this very clean under-cling where you delicately move under and into the upper crack. The crux begins when reaching the main crack. At the beginning of the right leaning crack is a rather large area, too large to fist jam, unless you are a giant. However, this area is an excellant placement for a #3 cam. The next moves are what I feel make this a 5.10b instead of an 10a. It is strenuous and reachy moving through this area, I had to arm bar this lower area until I was able to reach a tiny hold on the outside of the crack. The moves are unrelenting and dificult. As we all left this climb, we laughed and agreed it was a typical JT 10+....
By Murf
Jan 24, 2005
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

To narrow to fist jam, I hate the good hand jam I get in the transition.
By gnat
Jan 24, 2005
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

If you are 6'3" or taller, the crux is trivial and the rest of the climbing no harder than 5.7. Similar in difficulty to Orphan. Not a "full value" pitch.....
By Locker
From: Yucca Valley, CA
Jan 24, 2005
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

There seems to be a trend starting that has many routes being upgraded to bigger numbers on routes that are pretty much the same. I feel this route is 5.10a and maybe even 5.9+ as Murf posted. To each their own. Ratings are relative.
By Karen
From: Prescott
Jan 24, 2005
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Murf, I think you misunderstood my comment on the crack width. My fist is way too small to neatly slip into that "wide" crack-it was arm bar time-.
By Graham Roff
Feb 6, 2005
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Not a bad route if you are in the area looking for a warmup or last route of the day, but nothing particularly remarkable about the route...
By tony grice
Mar 1, 2006

SUPER F-ING route. 10a all the way, lead it twice in a row so i could do the right variation. Overlooked classic. Great pro.
By Pat W
Sep 27, 2006
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Fun crux which is very hand size dependent. I've got big meat paws so I could fist jam the crux, where smaller hands may have a tougher time. Good stuff.
By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Nov 6, 2006
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Seems harder than other 5.10as imo, as the feet don't really give you much love for about 20-30 feet. Worthy route. A #3.5 or #4 camalot is handy at the crux if you're squimish like me.
By Greg Barnes
Dec 21, 2006
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Great fun route, take the right finish or you're cheating yourself.
By susan peplow
From: Joshua Tree
Feb 16, 2007
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

Did the route for the first time as the last route of the day. My partner warned me the bottom might be difficult so I placed a #2 camalot, 1.5" DMM, and finally a 3.0 camalot in the vertical fist slot. Casual! Afterwards a stopper and 1" cam. I did use the left exit which according to comments here is the easier exit. Next time, I"m going right. Nice route - not sure what took me 15 years to do it. I'll be doing it again.

By armand rollice
From: rancho cucamonga
Feb 27, 2008

Done this route several times. I feel it has a fair rating of 10a. But of course if you hand is to small for that key fist jamb, it may feel harder. The fist jamb is key for me. When I first done it I put my 3.5 cam where my fist should be. Big mistake. I corrected that by putting it higher. Then made the move. I have done both exits at the top. Going straight up is my favorite.
By Fat Dad
From: Los Angeles, CA
Jan 22, 2009

Wow, lots of discussion about ratings for what I believe is a pretty standard .10a for Josh, even if you can't stick the fist jam (which I can't). A fun route that usually doesn't have anyone on it.
By mschlocker
From: San Diego, CA
Jan 4, 2010
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

I just tried the right variation and had to bump my stars up. It significantly adds to the pump factor by keeping the climbing quite sustained. Right is the way to go if you want to add some value to the route.
By Carl A
From: brooklyn, ny
Mar 5, 2011

slippery at/below the crux, watch those feet!
By generationfourth
From: Irvine, CA
Jan 10, 2013

felt like 10a... at the crux I use a #4 C4 and save the #3 parts of the crack for my fists. came back and did the right exit which climbs through really good fingerlocks/jams to top out. Highly recommended to go this way– you can rest at the jugs for how ever long it takes to de pump.
By Phil Esra
Apr 7, 2015

The right branch felt quite a bit easier than the lower crux to me. 10a seemed like a reasonable grade--the route felt much easier than the 10a crux on Axe of Dog, for example.

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