Heading to Yucca Valley for some Joshua Tree bouldering? Be sure to get the beta before you go.
Joshua Tree National Park is one of the most unique destinations in the United States. Located in the desert of California, the park includes some of America’s first boulder problems, traditional climbs, and sport climbs.
The rock is granite monzonite: a type of sharp granite with beautiful lines of quartz. The park is home to blank slabs, sharp crimps, and grainy cracks.
Beginners and experienced climbers alike will enjoy a unique challenge. Don’t be surprised if you get spit off the V0-V3 slab problems! Climbing in Joshua Tree can be sandbagged and scary at it’s worst, and uniquely challenging at best. If you’re going bouldering in Jtree prepare to be humbled, and be sure to have fun in the process. Don’t forget to take a walk under the moonlight, the desert is sublime.– Bridget Kilgallon @bkall.day
If you can get past the heady mantle top outs and cat-tooth crimps, we promise it will make you a much stronger climber. The climbing style in Joshua Tree is unique and takes time to learn. Keep expectations at bay, and don’t be disappointed if the climbing here feels very difficult at first.
Trip Beta: Travel Tips for Joshua Tree bouldering
Getting to Joshua Tree is fairly easy, and it is located in the high desert of California, between Yucca Valley and 29 Palms. The town outside the park is no to be missed. Be sure to stop at the coffee shops, antique stores, and check out the local farmer’s market on your rest days.
Camping has become increasingly impacted over the years, so it’s now best to reserve a spot ahead of time. For closest access to the boulders, you’ll want to stay at either the Ryan, Hidden Valley, or Jumbo Rocks Campgrounds.
To book a site visit: https://www.recreation.gov/camping/gateways/2782
If the camping is full, which it often is, you can park and camp in BLM (Bureau of Land Management) for free. BLM is far from scenic, and the dirt bikers might wake you up in the morning – you’ve been warned. Access BLM via Highway 62 off of Sunfair road, and follow google maps for the specific location.
Access: Climbing etiquette when bouldering in Joshua Tree National Park
As always, be sure to educate yourself on leave no trace principles for the area. Crowds have been growing steadily in Joshua Tree National Park. This can cause traffic delays, overflowed trash cans, and a larger impact on the flora and fauna. We recommend visiting on off-days and avoiding major holidays to decrease the impact.
Do not feed the coyotes, they’ve become much bolder over the past few years. Stay on the trail whenever possible, to avoid trampling the fragile desert plants.
Read more about the seven principles of Leave No Trace (LNT) in our article: What is the Leave No Trace Philosophy?
This area has gained much popularity over the last few years, especially by climbers. Though the style of climbing in the park is very unique, it can be deceptively hard at times. Due to the nature of the rock, climbs can occasionally be chossy and have a kitty litter affect, but not so much on highly trafficked climbs. Climbers are spoiled with mostly perfect flat sandy landings and boulders ranging in many heights for all. It is a great place to enjoy winter climbing, though the season is rather short since most climbs are temps dependent. Climbing on slab with sweaty hands is far from appealing.– Jackie Trejo @jackietrejo_
Girl Beta: Bouldering Videos for Joshua Tree National Park
Sometimes it helps to get another woman’s perspective on which boulder problems to get on. Below you’ll find a selection of female favorites, and a great roadmap on which routes to add to your tick list when visiting Joshua Tree National Park.
Warning: If you’re climbing onsight, scroll no further. Spoilers ahead!
Weenie Arete V0
Fry Problem V2
Slash Face V3 R *High Ball*
La Migra V3
Nicole Face V4 *Friable Holds*
Climb delicately on Nicole Face. Due to its remote location, this problem doesn’t see a lot of traffic. The holds are all easily breakable, so move slowly and have a good spotter.
Stem Gem V4
Shorter climbers may have difficulty with the start of Stem Gem. Pad stacking is an option. Make a judgment based on your own personal ethics in climbing.
Roof Romp V4
Newton’s Law V5
John Bachar Memorial Face Problem (JBMFP) V5 *Ultra Classic!*
Don’t miss JBMFP – it could be the best problem in the park. With technical footwork, tiny crimps, and an exciting finish you will be thrilled from start to finish!
Nicole Overhang V6
Strawberry Contraceptives V7
Doesn’t Matter V7
Chilli Sauce V7
Mulligan Variation V8
Big shout out to the climbers who provided these videos! You can follow their sends on the following links: