landscape and adventure photography of the Sierra, Yosemite and the West.
Images of the Sierra and the West · Climbing, Kayaking & Running Adventures
"Photography & Adventure for Those of Us Who Would Rather Be There, Than Here!"
SierraPhotography Menubar
Copyright ©1995-2024 Gary Valle'. All Rights Reserved.
This site uses image technologies developed by Digimarc.

Tahquitz Rock Climbing Notes

Important Note!

Girdle Traverse

In the early seventies Dennis Johnson did a girdle traverse of Tahquitz Rock from the NORTHEAST FARCE to TRAITOR HORN. This route was the culmination of an intense period of climbing when Dennis climbed virtually every route at Tahquitz 5.0 through 5.10.

I did only one segment of the Traverse with him, starting somewhere on the North Face and ending at the Trough. The climbing was interesting and very challenging. There are special problems with traverses. Perhaps most important is that the follower can take just as big a winger as the leader.

In 1975 Rick Accomazzo and Rob Muir solved the problem of crossing the Open Book, and finished a complete girdle traverse of Tahquitz, including the South Face. They called the route New Directions. It's my recollection that Dennis' route, which ended at Traitor Horn, was done a year or two before Accomazzo and Muir finished their complete traverse of the rock. (See this thread on

Below is a verbatim description taken from an undated route guide written by Dennis.


The route traverses the entire north face of Tahquitz Rock, starting at the NORTHEAST FARCE and ending at TRAITOR HORN. The climbing is usually interesting and frequently difficult. More than twenty pitches and two thousand feet of climbing are involved. On several pitches a back belay (using a second rope to belay the follower from behind as well as in front) may be necessary. These pitches are preceded by a (*). A fixed pin or bolt will usually be in place here. [Note these may no longer be in place!]

The route begins on the 30' traverse of the N.E. FARCE. Continue straight across to a corner, climb around it and up a few feet to a tree. From just below the tree From just below the tree go straight across 40-50 feet to a small thin arch and a fixed pin below.

(*) Climb down 10' to a dike running slightly downward, past an old ring angle and a bolt, around a corner to a platform in a dihedral (the EAST VARIATION OF THE N.E. FACE). Proceed on straight across or just slightly downward to the N.E. FACE dihedral. A fixed pin for belay should be found about 20' higher in the dihedral.

(*) The route, on the other hand, climbs down about 30' (50' below the belay) to some scattered footholds on the face, and proceeds from them fairly straight across on friction to the thin TOE BIAS crack. Climb down the crack a few feet to intermittent white dike-ledges running right to the EAST LARK dihedral. Here one is about 30' above a large hole in the wall of the dihedral. Continue straight across, past numerous cracks and the WEST LARK, then undercling an arch slightly downward to a steep gully. Fifteen feet above is a rock belay shelf.

Climb up 10', past a small gendarme, then straight across 80' to the NORTH BUTTRESS route. Again climb up a bit and then straight across, heading towards a prominent diagonal crack visible above the initial overhangs of the ERROR and SAHARA TERROR. Traverse along this crack into the ERROR. Climb down a few feet and then across a short difficult face and around the corner into SAHARA TERROR.

(*) Climb up the dihedral of SAHARA TERROR a few feet and then diagonal right and up to a short crack bringing one to thin ledges leading out onto an open face. Follow them to a bolt, then up and right to a second bolt on the corner of the HOODENETT. Climb down into the HOODENETT and then up that route 20' to a platform belay.

From the platform climb down and right a few feet to a system of white dikes leading across the face to a small fir. Climb up the steep broken wall here to the face above, crossing it up and right to a belay on CONSOLATION. Easy ledges connect to the top of the first pitch of the LONG CLIMB.

(*) From the belay on the LONG CLIMB, climb right and down to a thin sloping ledge running out along the wall right of the LONG CLIMB. A difficult traverse along this ledge brings one to the first of two vertical lieback cracks leading up to the ILLEGITIMATE at a point where a break in the corner permits exit to the right.

Climb up a bit, then face climb directly across until on can climb down a large open flake to the gendarme on the WHITE MAIDEN. From here follow FROM BAD TRAVERSE to the TROUGH.

(*) From the shelf on the first pitch of the TROUGH...

[The page is torn here, and the last page is missing.]

SierraPhotography Menubar Main Page Order SierraPhotography Prints Request More Information Search All Web Sites Topic Index Southern California Creeking - El Niņo Madness, La Niņa Blues Nature Notes, Queries and Commentary Southern California Weathernotes Tahquitz Rock Climbing Notes More Outdoor Stories, Adventures and Notes Off the Wall Gallery - Adventure Sports Photography Split Rock Gallery - Black and White Images Teneiya Gallery - Images of the Sierra and the West

Copyright © 1996-2024 Gary Valle'. All Rights Reserved.