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Saddle Rocks - Skirt (West Face)
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Right On T 
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Where Have all the Cowboys Gone T 
Write In TR 

Where Have all the Cowboys Gone 

YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 200'
Original:  YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b [details]
FA: Bob Gaines, Tom Atherton, Cal Gerberding & Alan Bartlett, September 1999
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 5,817
Submitted By: AJ on Jan 1, 2002

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BETA PHOTO: Where Have all the Cowboys Gone


A modern Gaines classic. Hard to believe he's still finding such gems in a "climbed out" area like Josh.

P1- climb a hand crack in a slab (5.8) about 30' down (closer to the road) from the Iconoclast arete. Belay on a big ledge.

P2- Make steep face moves on incredible varnish straight up past 4-5 bolts (5.10+). After 50' or so the bolts wander left, and the rock becomes less steep and more frictiony. Make engaging slab moves straight up past several more bolts (5.10). Belay on another ledge. A classic pitch.

P3- Finish up moderate cracks to the top. Downclimb from the top or maybe work down and rappel near Space Mtn, etc.


gear to 2", bolts

Photos of Where Have all the Cowboys Gone Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: First pitch of Santa Cruz starts in the thin crack...
BETA PHOTO: First pitch of Santa Cruz starts in the thin crack...
Rock Climbing Photo: Where Have All The Cowboys Gone climbs the steep, ...
BETA PHOTO: Where Have All The Cowboys Gone climbs the steep, ...

Comments on Where Have all the Cowboys Gone Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 9, 2013
By Bob Gaines
Apr 1, 2004
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

There is a 2 bolt anchor at the top of the 2nd pitch. You can rap from here (100 ft.) to the bolt anchors on top of the 1st pitch. One more rap (70 ft.) from here to the deck.
By Murf
Feb 7, 2005
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

P1 has one bolt. Pleasant, do Santa Cruz for a full pitch and come back down to the belay for the 2nd pitch.

P2 is a pitch of contrasts. Getting started can be a bit height dependent. Positive edges and holds are a boon to the OC plastic puller. The second half is a walk for the practiced JT slab master. I thought the second half was the crux, and the most enjoyable. Engaging, well protected, and needing just a touch of routefinding.
By Bo Johnston
Feb 8, 2005

Where is the route? Left or right of Space Mt?
By C Miller
From: CA
Feb 8, 2005

This route is way right of Space Mountain and faces west (toward the road) as opposed to north like that route. Both this route and Santa Cruz (5.10a) start down and right of the impressive Iconoclast arete, which is visible in the photo as the bulging left skyline.
By Randy
Nov 7, 2005
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

Raps from anchor atop pitch 2 are as follows:

(1 rope - 2 raps): 90 feet and 70 feet (need a 60 meter rope)

(2 ropes - 1 rap): 160+ feet (two 50 or 60 meter ropes OK)

Pitch 2 is very nice, 4 out of 5 stars. Use runners on bolts 6, 7 & 8 and rope drag will not be a problem. Technical crux is getting started on 2nd pitch (10d), moves to last bolt are "interesting" friction climbing (10c).
By tony grice
Nov 22, 2006

WOW!!!!!! You gotta do this one,its got all the good stuff!
By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Mar 25, 2008
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

OK - I'm sold, but how do I find this route?
By Randy
Mar 26, 2008
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

This route is found on the high left part of the northwest side of the Skirt -- the Skirt is the main slab and lower part of Saddle Rocks. The northwest side of the Skirt is the large slabby to steep area to the left side of Right On.

Where Have All The Cowboys Gone begins below and right of the steep arete of The Iconoclast (5.13a) at the base of the large flake/pillar. The first pitch begins at a thin left slanting crack in the middle of the flake.

From there follow the above route description.
By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Apr 26, 2008
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

Destined to become a well-traveled classic once it gets published in a guide. Excellent rock down low through the steep patina, with an enjoyable slab finish. I'm 5'8", and the first three bolts felt all of 10d. The final slab seemed 10b-ish to me. Extremely well protected, great exposure, fun moves, and well worth the 30 minute walk.
By susan peplow
From: Joshua Tree
Nov 27, 2011
rating: 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c

1st pitch fun and gets the blood flowing. Nice belay even on a cold day, consider bringing a jacket with you can leave at the station for the belayer in cooler seasons. Leader can rap down to the station and belay the second in the notch vs. staying on top.

2nd pitch is the money pitch for sure. Like Murf said, getting started may be height dependent or I"m thinking just plain difficult. Several cruxy moves bring you to fun climbing through a large flake system. Upper section slabs out to get your attention. This is a proud lead or as I said, "a proud follow too". VERY FUN and well protected for both the leader and follower alike.

Triple Crown..... WHATCG back down to the notch, then Santa Cruz to the summit, rap down and fire Space Mountain
By T.J. Esposito
From: San Diego, CA
Feb 6, 2012

Tips to make this more enjoyable (the climbing was good but logistics a little particular):

  • Place a #2 C4 in the crack at your feet at the start of P2; this will keep you from an unpleasant rope burn on the back of your thigh if you peel off before the second bolt (have your belayer pull it after getting the 2nd bolt to reduce drag.

  • Bring lots of alpine draws and used them where needed, as the route goes hard left then hooks back right past the initial face; you definitely don't want rope drag on the upper slab moves!

  • P2 belay is on top of a plated ledge, which will catch your rope every which way; if you drop the rope down the slot to keep it off the plates, there's a horn you cant see that will catch it. Make sure you keep enough rope free to be able to feed slack to your climber... you won't be able to see him/her past the first 5 bolts or so.
By Richard Shore
Nov 8, 2012

Did this one today via the "Triple Crown" as suggested by Susan above. Makes for a fun multi-pitch kind of outing. P1-2 of WHATCG .10d, rap, P2 of Santa Cruz .9+, P3 of The Exhibitionist .10a to summit, rap, Space Mountain .10b, rap. Back at your packs after 5 pitches and only touching the ground once. The grand tour of the west/north faces of Saddle Rock! Actually, that was 4 routes, so maybe the "Quadruple Crown".

The moves off the P1 ledge are indeed height dependent as noted above. My shorter partner handed over the lead to me because she couldn't even clip the first bolt from the stance, let alone reach any kind of decent edge/crimp to pull off. Too bad for her! Beautiful line, thanks again Bob!
By Tradiban
Nov 9, 2013
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

One tricky 10d slab section, otherwise pretty straight forward, well bolted!

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