Skirting the Fringe
Morbid Mound ♦ Grain Central Station ♦ Valle de Duck
(2D images first. 3D Galleries further down the page will require red–cyan glasses to see the full 3D effect. Click Photos to Enlarge.)
Trek dates: 2017 Sep 24 & Oct 12
On This Part 2 Page
- Morbid Mound
- Grain Central Station
- Grain Silo
- Valle de Duck
- Distant views of The Big Top area
- Wide angle views of the Group Campground
THIS AREA PRESENTS SEVERAL SMALL CLIMBING GROUPS, though not directly a part of the Group Campground at Joshua Tree National Park. The three most prominent are Morbid Mound, Grain Central Station, and Valle de Duck (English translation, “Duck Valley”). Each has its own charm (or lack there of), a variety of photographic peculiarities, and none is more than a few hundred paces from where you park the car (or your camel, if you set hoof into the Park in that fashion).
A somewhat secluded cove, Indian Cove is located on the northern end of Joshua Tree, isolated from the rest of the park by Queen Mountain and the Wonderland of Rocks. Much of Joshua Tree is within the boundaries of Riverside County, California. However, Indian Cove is a part of San Bernardino County. With about 300 rock climbing routes and space for 101 individual campsites plus 13 group campsites, the area is a popular, easy to get to destination. The numerous casual trails in and around the three formations covered in this section tell me that it is regularly visited by hikers as well as numerous rock climbers.
(GPS 34.09632, -116.152193)
Rock-climbing author Robert Miramontes describes this small formation in cut-to-the-bone terms: “This unassuming crag has many short, easy routes, and may be great for beginning climbers or anyone looking for some really casual climbing. Most of the routes could be done as highball boulder problems. Park at Billboard Buttress or on Indian Cove Road directly across from the group campground turnoff and walk east to the small, lone formation on the desert floor. Wall gets sun all day.
Climbs are from 25ft to 50ft and include: “3rd Class It,” “DOA,” “Bouncer,” “Brimstone Stairway,” “Flies on the Wound,” “Hillside Strangler,” “Fly in the Ointment,” “Disappearing Belayer,” “Be Wary,” “Ambulance Driver,” “Mymecocytus Ewarti,” “‘Till Death Do Us Fart,” and “A Last Cigarette Señor?”
Stuff Nearby Morbid Mound
Grain Central Station & The Grain Silo
(GPS 34.09935, -116.16321)
The large Grain Central Station at Indian Cove lies about 200 yards northeast of the road’s end (directly north of Group Campsite 8) and 100 yards north east of Group Camp Rocks (campsites 12-13). A smaller pillar/rock (The Grain Silo) is seen just to the east of the main formation in the above shot.
Grain Central climbs include “Staircase Crack,” “B.M.T.C. Leader,” “Snoops,” (“Snoops” being at the western end of the formation), “Dancing on Dimes,” “Mother of All Poodles,” “Phantom Tollbooth,” “20 Grain Route,” “30 Grit Route,” “The Grain Mutiny,” “Whole Grain Goodness,” “Grain Gang,” and “Zinging in the Grain.” [Pause a moment to groan.]
The Grain Silo records two routes, “My Grain” and “The Great Grain Robbery.” [Insert suitable tsk-tsking here.]
The following two shots of a southeast facing cove on Grain Central hosts the already mentioned “Phantom Tollboth” on the left wall, and “30 Grit Route” and “The Grain Mutiny” on the right wall.
The Grain Silo
While scouting the area, I found several outlying boulder-problems the climbers had recently visited (white hand-chalk marks). One such specimen is this rather attractive looking square block that has a deep crack arcing through it. It can be found in the northeast boulder-field at Grain Central.
Valle de Duck
(GPS 34.55344 -116.95168)
Smaller than Grain Central Station, Valle de Duck, at el.3250ft, is less than half the size, also hosting fewer climbs, three to be exact. From the Group Camp Site #8 Wall, looking north, this is the group of rocks seen to the left of Grain Central Station. Valle de Duck is identified by a corridor. Park at GC #8 parking, head north and slightly west.
The corridor separates the two northernmost rocks of the Group Camp Rocks (campsites 12-13). Recorded routes are “Youth Run Wild,” “Chase Lounge,” and “Gaston’s Groove.”
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3D Anaglyph Gallery
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Grain Central Station
Valle de Duck
3D Half Side-by-Side Gallery
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Grain Central Station
Valle de Duck
Thank you for visiting the Group Campsite Part 2 Gallery featuring Morbid Mound, Grain Central Station, The Grain Silo, and Valle de Duck at Joshua Tree 3D.
Posted 2017 Oct 18
Updated 2017 Nov 4