King Otto’s Castle ♦ Part 1

Indian Cove Campground

King Otto’s Castle ♦ Condor Rock ♦ Wonder Bluffs

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(2D images first. 3D Galleries further down the page will require redcyan glasses to see the full 3D effect. Click Photos to Enlarge.)

Trek dates: 2017 Sep 24 & Oct 12

On This Part 1 Page

  • King Otto’s Castle
  • Don Genero Crack
  • Condor Rock ♦ Wonder Bluffs
  • “Adventures in Silverado” Movie Scenes

See Also

King Otto’s Castle ♦ Part 2 Gallery

  • Indian Palisades Corridor
  • Dark Shadows Rock
  • Feudal Wall ♦ Short Wall
  • N00b Rock

Johnson Canyon

Rattlesnake Canyon Picnic Area

Google Satellite Images

(Click to Enlarge)

KING OTTO’S CASTLE lies at the center of the campground, with sweeping views both to the west (uphill) toward Moosedog Tower and to the south into the Rattlesnake Canyon wash. King Otto’s Castle formation is at an elevation of about 3210ft. As noted elsewhere in my Indian Cove pages, this is below the normal pine-tree line in Southern California (4000ft). Hence, there is an absence of pinyon pines, and curiously, there are virtually no Joshua Trees to be found, either, even though these are common enough elsewhere at much lower elevation around the cities of Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, and 29 Palms.

2D Gallery

King Otto’s Castle

King Otto’s Sweat Pants

King Otto Leaving Las Vegas

KING OTTO’S CASTLE in Indian Cove Campground is a large imposing formation directly behind campsites 29 to 39. It has numerous routes from easy (5.7) to difficult (5.12) on it’s south and west faces. The nice people at Mountain Project website inform us that “Face climbing is primarily the name of the game here but a few decent cracks exist as well. Due to it’s location remember to be courteous and ask before climbing here if the campsites are occupied.” There is a convenient public parking lot south of the tower.

Some of the better routes here include “Sweat Band,” “Goodbye Mr. Bond,” “Casino Royale” and “Panama Red.” All told, there are 16 routes recorded. Some of the others: “She Is Helga, I Am Sven,” “Phelp’s Chevrolet,” “Tarawassie Wiggle,” “Leaving Las Vegas,” “Shaken Not Stirred,” “Sweat Pants,” and “Uncle Len’s Pot Farm.” Otto’s Castle is directly across the road from Condor Rock and Wonder Bluffs (see below).

King Otto’s Castle, center. Looking east from Dos Equis Wall.

Don Genero Crack

You’ll find this route 150ft or so to the left of Otto’s tower. It’s an obvious left leaning crack. Be warned: “Your stomach should be empty before you head up. I had difficulty getting decent pro in to start. A tri-cam finally worked. Back up whatever you place; getting started will get your attention; and it doesn’t let up,” explains the person who wrote the commentary about this formation for

Condor Rock ♦ Wonder Bluffs

A hop, skip, and a stroll across the way from King Otto’s Castle—and pressed against the massive north Wonderland of Rocks hillside—can be found two highly detailed features: Condor Rock, and, way back up in a rocky, hard-to-get-to bolder-scrabble gorge, the wonder of all wonders, Wonder Bluffs. (I suppose because one wonders how on earth anyone in his right mind can reach there without cracking his skull.)

Condor Rock. This small crag has several recorded climbing routes “Nicole Kidman,” “The Baconater,” “The Beltsander,” “Toxic Avenger,”  “Toxic Poodle,” “Kibbles and Bolts,” “The Falcon” and “The Condor” which now rates a 5.12a with four stars.

Wonder Bluffs. The Wonder Bluffs is a less visited crag. Easterly-facing, so plan on morning sun and afternoon shade. Some of the climbs on this crag are “Gypsy,” “Slam Dunk,” “Conniptions,” “Bluewind,” “Gomer Pile,” “Dry Rain,” “Pencil Neck Geek,” and “Bloody Buddy.”


On the Road to Moosedog

MILLIONS OF JOSHUA TREE 3D’S AVID FOLLOWERS may be bowled over when they learn that the King Otto area once played a cameo role in a Hollywood B-Western: 1948’s “Adventures in Silverado,” a film-flick few have seen, and starring nobody most younger people reading this have a clue about. In the image at left, we see King Otto’s Castle tower or turret, followed by Short Wall and N00b Rock down the road. N00bies can easily miss them unless they know where they are looking. In the second scene, the King’s Mighty Chariots (okay, standard prop-department stage coaches) go racing neck and neck along the base of Otto’s turret. (Betcha can’t guess which chariot belongs to the good guys!)

Scenes from the 1948 Movie “Adventures in Silverado”’s Page on the Silverado-Joshua Tree Shots

(Click Photos to Embiggen)


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3D Anaglyph Gallery

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3D Half Side-by-Side Gallery

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Thank you for visiting the King Otto’s Castle formations at Indian Cove and I hope you enjoy your visit more when you see the area in persion after viewing the examples shown on the Joshua Tree 3D Galleries.

John Murbach

Temple City, California


Posted 2017 Nov 3