Trad anchor atop Toe Jam with a muenter hitch for the alpine extension

Be sure to build your own anchor immediately above the climb in the nice crack (pictured).  DO NOT BELAY FROM THE BOLTS TO THE RIGHT!  Belaying from the bolts to the right will create a death swing for the second climber.  This is a perfect spot to utilize the "alpine extension."  Put a muenter hitch on your trad anchor via a locking carabiner and lower yourself just over the edge of the cliff.  Tie a BHK knot as your new, extended master point, and this will also serve as your tether to the anchor.  Now you have good visibility of your second climber.  A top-managed direct belay will see your second to the top of the route, where they can be lowered, or rappel from the bolted anchor atop Bearded Cabbage.

One of the best, most popular and most classic 5.7 cracks in Joshua Tree, Toe Jam is a superb climb!  First climbed all the way back in 1952, Toe Jam was one of the first rock climbs in Joshua Tree.  With a history like that, and it's prime location on the Old Woman in the middle of the Hidden Valley Campground, it is a route that begs to be climbed.  Start by scrambling to the base of the rock through a campsite (be polite to the campers!).  Climb a clean crack on perfect Joshua Tree monzogranite up and left for 15 feet, and then climb another crack up and right for about 30 feet.  The business of the climb is the last 25 feet of polished shallow crack (don't forget to toe jam here!) that vanishes just before the top of the cliff, forcing a few desperate smearing moves before grabbing the last, huge thank-god handhold.

Trad anchor atop Toe Jam with a muenter hitch for the alpine extension

For goodness sake, please don't belay from those bolts!  This is the rappel station atop the route Bearded Cabbage.  Belaying a climber on Toe Jam from these bolts will result in a death swing at the crux for the second climber.  You don't want that on your conscience!

Stone Adventures rock climbing guide Annie Semmelroth following "Toe Jam" 5.7

Bolted rappel station atop Bearded Cabbage in Joshua Tree National Park
Alpine Extension with the BHK knot, tether leg and top-managed direct belay with a grigri
Stone Adventures rock climbing guide Annie Semmelroth climbing Toe Jam in Joshua Tree National Park

The overhand BHK knot creates the new master point for the alpine extension, and also provides a tether for the belayer.  A top-managed direct belay using a grigri was employed here, and now the climber is being lowered with the brake redirected through a locking carabiner.

Toe Jam

Featured Rock Climbing Routes in Joshua Tree National Park

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