Timeline 11-2010: the “N” crag

North of what we’ve been calling the M and M-squared Crags, and the Malapais volcano-hill, lies the creatively named “N” crag cluster of boulders. Although it requires a moderate bit of hiking to get to, the hiking is fairly flat and this boulder cluster actually contains a decent concentration of fun and moderate lines. On November 6, 2010, Rob, Jon, and I headed out to climb some lines that Rob and I had seen while hiking around the previous spring.

With all three of us pretty out of shape, we began by warming up on some nice classic Josh-style slabs on the north side of a large boulder we dubbed the Straw Hat Boulder… these problems were pretty fun and a great way to get the feet re-accustomed to the friction and the body again finding its balance without handholds to speak of! 🙂

Jill on the easiest slab line the Straw Hat, V0- which starts on the far left side of the boulder, off of the small boulder Jon is standing on in this image

Rob climbing Behind the Straw Hat, V0+, which begins on the lowest point from the ground in the middle of the boulder and trends left

Jon styling the crux highstep move of Get Up Stand Up, V2, which begins as Behind the Straw Hat but goes up and trends right

From here we continued around to the northwest side of the boulder pile. Our object of desire? The Moon Boulder with its beautiful rock and decently tall lines.

Rob sending the Shadow Arete, V4, in an image that drastically understates the size of this large boulder

A better angle, showing Jon sending Shadow Arete. This line begins low on the arete face and continues straight up and right to the arete

The images below show the lower moves on Shadow Arete and Jellyfish (both V4), which share a start with hands matched low on the rail where Jill’s left heel is placed. Shadow Arete continues straight up and right along the arete, while Jellyfish goes up and left, continuing left to meet an irregular crack/seam.


The middle section of Jellyfish, where it diverges from Shadow Arete and moves left across the face of the boulder

About to reach the jug sidepull on the Jellyfish

We continued our jaunt around to the north side to some other problems we’d scoped out. The first was on the Hanging Block boulder, and is called Hangman.

Rob nearing the topout on Hangman, V3. This line starts on the lower right side of this hanging boulder with a campus move under the lip on to the face. Terrible landing.

Rob on the early moves of Hangman

Just left of Hangman in the above photo is a face on really nice rock… we climbed on that, too. 🙂 In the image below, Jon is working the crux of that climb, I Want Candy (v6).

Jon working the crux of I Want Candy, V6

All in all, a pretty productive day. 🙂 There were more lines to be climbed here, though, and as we headed back to the van we looked forward to returning…

Sooooo….. we revisited this cluster of boulders on November 14, 2010, to send some more lines:

Here Im playing with the camera art filters while Rob warms up by sending the Pedal Arete, V1

Below, Jon at the start of the Pedal Arete, V1, on the Cycle Cap boulder, and getting ready to exit the arete onto the face. Probably silly to have this many photos for such a short problem, but it was fun and people tell us they like photos. 🙂

Just behind me as I shot these photos is a boulder we called the Tarboush Boulder… because it actually looks like a giant fez (if fezzes were fabricated from quartz monzonite, that is). This boulder has three lines on it, but they were all done so quickly as part of the warm up that we don’t really have shots other than this one of me on the right arete line.

Jill on the right arete line, The Tassel (V0), which stays on the right arete. Another line starts here but climbs out left along the face and is called Purple Fez (also V0). A third line, 5.9, goes up the slashes in the center face and is called the Felt Face. 

We then moved on to the boulder just to the right of the Cycle Cap boulder, with beautiful grayish rock and a fun-looking line we had seen earlier. This is actually the south face of the Straw Hat Boulder we had climbed the north face of on the previous weekend. Hat Trick has a high start on a jug on the left (v1), or the low and more technical start which clocks in at V3. Fantastic rock… and fun moves!!!

Jon on Hat Trick, V3

Jill on the mantle move of Hat Trick. You can do it as a double-mantle for extra fun!

Before we moved on from the Straw Hat Boulder (5 lines on this boulder alone!) Jon was inspired to send this gnarly offwidth body-wrenching testpiece, which was dubbed Handful of Walnuts, V4. It climbs the crack formed by the Straw Hat Boulder and an adjacent boulder touching each other.

Jon wedging his way up Handful of Walnuts, V4

Jon topping out Handful of Walnuts using unconventional yet successful tactics

We then went around to the western section of this cluster of boulders, where the large Condor Boulder sits. We started with the easiest line, 3 Days of the Condor (V2), and continued on with the other lines on this large boulder.

Rob doing the early moves of 3 Days of the Condor, which starts matched at his left hand and moves right through awesome patina holds to a slabby face that isn’t visible in this shot. The slabby face is also the downclimb (1 Day of the Condor, 5.4). 🙂

Jon on the early moves of 6 Days of the Condor (V5) which is essentially the same start as 3 Days of the Condor, but instead of continuing right 6 Days goes straight up then left from this point

Rob climbing 6 Days of the Condor

Rob continuing up 6 Days of the Condor

Rob sending 6 Days of the Condor

Flight of the Condor (V4) is located on the south face of the Condor Boulder. It starts at slopers on the lip and continues up a tall face.

Jon on the starting moves of Flight of the Condor, V4

Jon on the early moves of Flight of the Condor

Rob pressing it out on Flight of the Condor

Rob on the slabby face nearing the top of Flight of the Condor

Having finished these problems, we wandered our way north across the desert toward the cluster of boulders where the famous Equinox crack lies. We were intent on visiting a group of boulders Rob and I had observed last spring, to see if the lines we’d seen were as inspiring this day as they had been before. But the sun was falling fast so we ended up only managing a handful of problems, most of which have likely already been climbed.

Jon on Bikini Chainmail (V3). We had to clean lot of small flakes from this problem before climbing on it, so it was likely not done before.

Jill on Left Shield (V2), which may have been done before. We also did another line on the right side of this shield feature,  appropriately named Right Shield (V4) which had some loose delicate flakes that broke off; this line may not have been done previously.

Jon climbing a wide crack that was likely done before

Another long and busy but fun day out in Joshua Tree… 🙂

~ by jillc on 2011/04/23.

One Response to “Timeline 11-2010: the “N” crag”

  1. […] visit, that crack goes all the way through but is short on the north end). These we talked about here. Around the eastern corner (NE corner of the formation) from this crack boulder are a nice cluster […]

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