North ♦ Lost Horse Valley 3

Hemingway Buttress

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Lost Horse Valley 14a Google Hemingway

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  • Hemingway Buttress • Copenhagen Wall
  • I.R.S. Wall • Dairy Queen Wall
  • Playhouse Rock

Trek dates: 2013 Feb 6 and Oct 23, 2015 Jan 2, Oct 6 and Oct 22.

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Hemingway Parking Lot

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Hemingway Buttress

THIS IMPRESSIVE FORMATION OF DOMES, BUTTRESSES AND BOULDERS starts at the north end at Hemingway Buttress and ushers you in a complex jumble to the left with several other prominent walls. Parking is at the Hemingway lot on Park Boulevard 7.7 miles from the West Entrance, just past Lost Horse Road junction. The spacious parking area has restroom facilities as well as exhibit signs. Hemingway Buttress is about 300 yards south of the parking area, although it can be approached on Lost Horse Road with a walk of 400 yards east, between the formations. The other climbing walls stretch further south but are still only about 450 to 500 yards stroll from your car.

Dairy Queen Wall

Dairy Queen Wall

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I.R.S. and Copenhagen Walls

Hemingway is a wide crag and is one of Joshua Tree Park’s most popular climbing attractions. Routes are too numerous to list individually, but a sample of them include “Astropoodle,” “Head Over Heals,” “The Old Man and the Poodle,” “Scary Poodles,” “The Importance of Being Ernest,” “Prepackaged,” “Poodles Are People Too,” “Overseer Direct”—well, you get the message, rock climbers have poodle brains. Hemingway wall is so large the poodle-climbing community has divided it into a Right Side, Middle Right Wall, Main Wall, and Left End.

On another buttress immediately above and behind, offset to the south, can be found I.R.S. Wall and Copenhagen Wall. Head around the left end of Hemingway Buttress, entering a boulder- and brush-choked canyon behind it (picture at left), or just do what my friends and I did: stand in front and shoot photographs of the area at all angles. Busy days will find there are rock climbers galore on these prominent walls. I.R.S. Wall has several difficult routes including “Alf’s Arete,” “Bullet Head,” “Taxman,” “Tax Free,” “Tax Evasion,” and “Bloody Tax Break.” For beginners, there are easier ways to climb a rock, such as “Mr. Bunny’s Tax Shelter,” “Mr. Bunny Versus Six Unknown Agents,” and “Mr. Bunny’s Refund Check.”

Rock climbers on Playhouse Rock

Copenhagen Wall is part of the I.R.S. Wall complex and sits as a flat-faced wall with rounded knob on the right-hand or north end.

Dairy Queen Wall is next, again, a large, complex formation with at least a dozen climbing routes on the Right Side (behind the I.R.S. Wall), 450 yards from the car park. The important Left Side adds close to 15 more routes having similar curious and memorable names as to those on the other formations in this group.

Finally, Playhouse Rock is a smaller crag just in front (east) of the double-peaked Dairy Queen Wall, and an easy few minutes from the car. Because most climbs on Playhouse Rock are less taxing than, say, I.R.S. Wall further to the right, it is very popular with climbing classes. The wall faces northeast and so gets lots of shade in the afternoon.

Don’t forget to visit my friend Elliot Koeppel’s page highlighting our trip to Hemingway in January 2015 HERE.

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Playhouse Rock at base of Dairy Queen Wall with IRS Wall at far right

The Long View

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2D ♦ Selections

Click images to enlarge. 1080p resolution. Or Windows users, right-click and choose SAVE LINK AS.


  • Use glasses to view 3D Anaglyphs
  • Click to Enlarge Photos

3D Anaglyph Gallery

Please download as many of the 3D Anaglyph or 3D Half Side-by-Side photographs as you care to.

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3D Half Side-by-Side Gallery

Suitable for 3D TV watching or these can be used to create your own 3D slideshow with music accompaniment. Half Side-by-Sides avoid the minor Anaglyph anomalies that can occur. Click images to enlarge. 1080p resolution. Or Windows users, right-click and choose SAVE LINK AS.

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The Hemingway Buttress area at Joshua Tree National Park is one of the most photogenic spots—although even if you are simply strolling among the rock piles the experience is one you will remember for the rest of your life. I hope you enjoyed viewing the 3D images!

John Murbach

Temple City, California


Posted 2016 Jan 25

Updated 2017 Nov 6