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The Sentinel - East Face
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Western Saga 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 150'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Dan Ahlborn & Mariah Cranor, December 1976
Page Views: 4,141
Submitted By: Donno on May 1, 2003

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A scenic view from Western Saga, Joshua Tree.


This route follows a pretty direct line in a large dihedral, and then over a roof. It's on the right half of the east face of The Sentinel.This is a great route, with the crux in the lower half of the dihedral, and an incredible no-hands "head rest" just below the roof.


Gear to 3"

Photos of Western Saga Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Western Saga, Joshua Tree.
Western Saga, Joshua Tree.
Rock Climbing Photo: Western Saga
Western Saga
Rock Climbing Photo: Just above the crux.
Just above the crux.
Rock Climbing Photo: Western Saga
Western Saga
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbers on Western Saga (5.9), Joshua Tree NP
Climbers on Western Saga (5.9), Joshua Tree NP

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 26, 2016
By Cpn Dunsel
Jan 21, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

There were some cheater stones on the ledge at the base of the dihedral last I did the climb. Great route, really tricky getting started in the dihedral, but well protected all the way.
By Woody Stark
Apr 30, 2004

I led this route many years ago and again yesterday. I believe the first moves at the start of the dihedral are 5.10a. Those I've climbed it with concur.
By Will S
From: Joshua Tree
Feb 16, 2007
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Pretty typical J-tree 5.9. Slightly awkward, varied climbing. Kind of a long pitch, and a circuitious walk off that goes a bit right from the top of the route to gain the top of the formation, then goes back left to the south end of Sentinel to descend low angle terrain.
By Darren D.
Apr 2, 2007
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

A pretty nice route. When thin wall is crowded (always), stop here and do this one instead. You won't be disappointed.
By Manjushri
Nov 13, 2007

If you are inclined to rappell there are chain anchors on the southwest part of the formation. A little scrambling and down climbing to the opposite side of the formation (climbers right of Western Saga) will lead you to the rap. Did it with a 70m but am sure a 60m would be fine.
By ssp
Oct 25, 2011

Western Saga haunted me for a couple of years. I was always looking across RHV from where we were doing other routes staring at this beautiful line. Dihedral, Roof, a bit of face climbing above, everything one looks for in a great route at J-Tree.
And the odd thing is I never see anybody on it, maybe due to shady in the afternoon evening hours. Slightly out of the way across from the trade routes.
When we topped out two F-15s flew right thru RVH did a high speed turn and came back over must have been only 200 ft off the deck !
What a sight.
By Russ Walling
Sep 29, 2012

Did this thing today. I'm big as a house, haven't climbed in months, and decided on this as a season opening warmup for hopefully better things to come. I thought it was pretty strenuous, sorta awkward, and I trusted about 70% of my pro. Typical season starting paranoia I would guess. Anyway, I placed a few nuts from small to large and popped in a few cams, that all seemed pretty good. Under the roof-let a #4 Camalot would fit like a dream in the offset, ballooning crack. A couple of funky moves get you past the roof and into some solid cams of the 1.5" to 2" size. Easy to the top from there, the top being a sit down saddle stance with some nuts and a couple of cams behind you. As stated above, move up out of this belay to climbers right then scramble up onto the summit slabs. The whole thing is mostly pro under 2", with the exception of the piece I would have liked under the roof, a #4 Camalot. A cool and varied route.
By susan peplow
From: Joshua Tree
Sep 29, 2012

Pffff to the above! Gear was solid the entire way. Wow! It's been a while since being on this route, 10 years? 20? What a gem!! Really nice moves with an obvious line, nothing tricky or route finding here less maybe the top out which is either left and finish Fote Hog or right and up a scramble to the summit.

Fun fun fun! Adding to my tick list next, may even go back in a few days during my hopeful tick and look for our escapee nut that popped off during Russ lead. Love those moderate gems!
By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Sep 30, 2012

Industry Standard for 5.7+.
By Canon
Nov 22, 2012
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Hard for 5.9! We broke it into two pitches, belaying at the base of the dihedral, which is hard to get up into, but the crux is pulling the roof. Great gear though.
By Sean
From: Oak Park, CA
Oct 5, 2015

def doable in one pitch with a 60m rope, approx 155 ft from ground to topout
By J Sundstrom
From: San Diego, CA
Mar 26, 2016
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

#4 definitely unnecessary, easy to do as one pitch. Great comfy belay at the top.
By sheriw724
From: Los Angeles
Sep 26, 2016

I followed this route with two great guys from NY on Sat., Sept. 24, 2016. I tried to pull a Black Diamond Gray C4 0.4 out and ended up pushing it in too far and didn't have the tools to retrieve it. The guy following me couldn't get it either. Please, if you climb this route, which is a great route, and will be kind enough to pull this piece will you please call me so I can get it back to the owner? Thank you so much. Sheri 310-435-9366. The piece is in before the crux.

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