Best Joe’s Valley Boulder Problems:
The boulders in Joe’s Valley go on and on and on. With so much rock its hard to pick the best problems and the best areas to explore. Joe’s takes a little bit more time to get to know with the lack of a guide book for sale (as of 11/2020) and the fact that you often have to drive between boulders, but don’t let that deter you. The problems here are world class, its often less crowded than other world class areas, and the weather is generally predictable. If you’ve never been here before check out our article on The top ten things you need to know about Joe’s (coming soon).
The 3 Main areas
Left Fork and Right Fork: Distances in the Left and Right Fork are measured from this point. This happens to be the point at which the Left and Right Fork both originate as you are driving from Orangeville into Joe’s Valley. Expect to drive a lot, be very close to the road, and spend a considerable amount of time trying to find some of these boulders. If you are looking for one area to spend a day in (that’s not New Joe’s) I would suggest the Flu or the Riverside boulders as there are enough problems at a bunch of different grades to make it worth your while.
Riverside Boulders Photo
New Joe’s: I personally like climbing in New Joe’s way better. The boulders are more concentrated, you are not right on top of the road, and the approach is still minimal (If you park in the right parking lot). Turn onto the dirt road to the New Joe’s Bathroom/Campground Parking lot, but continue past the bathroom and follow the dirt road to the end and park there or click this link for the gps to the parking lot.
When we drove this, the road was in great condition and we were able to get to the parking lot in a Prius (super low clearance), but if the the road is not in the greatest condition there is another parking lot if you continue up 57 past the bathroom and park at the Joe’s Valley Bouldering sign on the right side of the road. I wouldn’t recommend doing that as the approach is longer (~20 mins) and there really isn’t any advantage from starting from that side.
Area 51 Photo
Other things to consider:
DO NOT CLIMB ON SANDSTONE IF IT IS MOIST. You could break a hold and be forever cursed by the climbing gods. The grades here are all over the place especially in the old guidebook, so just enjoy it. Mountain Project is an ok source to help you find bouldering areas, but the way they opted to document boulder problems in Joe’s won’t help you find exact boulders. The map they have can help you find the areas without service and is useful as the cell service poor. Most of the bouldering areas in the Left Fork and New Joe’s have sign posts that can also help you find your way (example below).
If that is not enough to get you where you are going, you might find someone nice who has a digital version of an old guidebook they can airdrop you. It may also help you to take some screen shots of this article or downloading some of the beta videos (if you have YouTube Premium) before you get out there because the 4G out there is spotty at best and we only found it at New Joes (Verizon). Joe’s is dog friendly, but if you bring your furry friend be respectful and pick up the poop even if it isn’t yours. Pet owners have to stick together.
1. Warm Up Traverse
Beta: Traverse from left to right just starting left of the tree. Drop just before it rounds to corner or finish on “To Infinity (V1 See below)”
How to Get There: Drive 3.1 miles up the Left Fork and look for the sign that marks the entrance to the boulders on the left. Walk down the hill towards the stream and the problem is on the boulder to the left.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: This is a great warmup or great V0 problem for the V0 climber. The feet are generally good, it has a bunch of different types of hold, and can be done both ways.
No Substance (Really Freaking High):
Beta: Start on the center right of the boulder and follow the jugs to the top.
How to Get There: Drive 2.6 miles down the Right Fork to a parking area in front of the No Substance Boulder. Walk up to the No substance Boulder and turn left, walk up the “stone steps” to a path that parallels the road. Follow that path and it’ll lead you right to thriller (which you can obviously see from the road.)
Pebble Pusher Perspective: The crux of the problem is within the first 12 feet of climbing and then it turns into a really enjoyable high ladder. This problem is super high so make sure to bring your mental A game.
Boysize (Not High):
Beta: Start on good holds around head height. Move up and right through the good hueco and top out
How to Get There: Drive .8 miles up the Right Fork to a small parking area at a wash on the right. Walk up the wash for ~5 mins and look for a stone lined path on the left. Pass the first boulder on your left (Footmare) and walk to the back right corner of the boulder right in front of you (Boysize) to find Tonka
Pebble Pusher Perspective: This is a short little V0 with good holds that require a little more body positioning in order to make this problem easier. That in addition to the low top out makes this a good problem for a V0 Climber. There are other short V0,1,2 problems on this boulder that make this a good spot to take beginners. Extra Tip: Another great spot for beginners and people who struggle with height is the Small One boulder.
1. Warm Me Up Scotty
Area 51 (Kind of High, but Jug top out):
Beta: Sit start on obvious jug. Move up through the overhang top out the slab on big holds.
How to Get There: From the parking lot follow the main path for less than 5 mins and take a right at the area 51 sign. Of the 3 large boulders you see when you come to the area, the problem is on the furthest one to the left on the side that is closest to the main path.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: Really enjoyable jug haul through an overhang. Pulling onto the slab from the overhang is the crux and then there’s a few more V0 moves to make it through that add a little spice for a V1 climber before you make it to the top out.
2. Surf’s Up
Mine Cart (High, but easy top out):
Beta: Start on good holds on the face and go straight up then top out on the slab.
How to Get There: In the Left Fork, drive 1.7 miles to the mine cart area. You will see a parking lot on the left. The problem is on the downhill side of the boulder with the mine cart in front of it.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: This one is a good problem to work on getting used to being high on a boulder. Pulling onto the slab is easy but it can be unnerving for those who are not used to it.
3. To Infinity
Beta: Start on good holds to the right of the overhang. climb up and left to the top out.
How to Get There: Drive 3.1 miles up the Left Fork and look for the sign that marks the entrance to the boulders on the left. Walk down the hill towards the stream and the problem is on the boulder to the left.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: If this one is too high for the people in the group try “Club Tan.” which is closer to the right side of the boulder
1. The Angler
Beta: Start on small holds just right of where the rail begins to get more positive. Traverse up and left topping out through pockets at the end of the rail.
How to Get There: Drive 3.1 miles up the Left Fork and look for the sign that marks the entrance to the boulders on the left. Walk down the hill towards the stream and you will see the problem.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: The crux of this problem is the first two moves. The feet are so polished and the hands are not great. Once you make it onto the rail it is just about finding or smearing the feet because the hands are pretty good at that point. Topping out is pretty casual as the holds are good up there but it is high so be aware. This is a cool looking problem, but there is better movement to be found on boulders elsewhere. Make sure to snag a pic of you looking cool on this boulder because it is revered as THE problem at Joe’s.
2. Stumblebum V2 Variation
Area 51 (Not so High):
Beta: Squat start on the corner on a ledge and an undercling. Traverse right on the big ledge and either go up to the jug at the corner and step off, or climb through the small holds and around the corner and step off.
How to Get There: From the parking lot follow the main path for less than 5 mins and take a right at the Area 51 sign. Of the 3 large boulders you see when you come to the area, the problem is on the boulder furthest to the right.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: This is my favorite V2 I have climbed in Joe’s. Big flowy moves on overhung holds get me psyched about this problem.
Boy Size (Not High):
Beta: Sit start on the good rail and move left and up to a good top out.
How to Get There: Drive .8 miles up the Right Fork to a small parking area at a wash on the right. Walk up the wash for ~5 mins and look for a stone lined path on the left. Walk past the first boulder and turn left (Footmare). Walk uphill and around the corner of the Footmare boulder and you will see the Chexmix Boulder looking at you.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: Probably soft for a V2 it is consistent, fun, and has a easy top out.
1. Don’t Leave Too Soon
Riverside (Not so High):
Beta: Sit start the tufa. Work the left hand up to the sloper and then move into the undercling. From there its a few big moves to the top
How to Get There: Drive 3.1 miles up the Left Fork and look for the sign that marks the entrance to the boulders on the left. Walk down the hill, cross the river, and the boulder sits slightly up hill from the “Low Tide Boulder.”
Pebble Pusher Perspective: The only reason not to be crazy about this problem is the cold stream in between the parking area and this beauty. I think this boulder is so cool. The bottom knee bar beta makes the bottom section a lot easier and the top section is just a lot of fun with big moves on big holds and less than ideal feet.
2. The Reach Around
UMWA Boulder (Not High):
Beta: Sit start in the big hueco. Move up through huecos to a big pocket at the lip and top out onto the slab
How to Get There: In the Right Fork drive 2.1 miles up the road. The boulder is literally right on the road, on the left side. Facing the boulder the problem is around on the left side.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: Fun problem for how short it is. The big huecos make for cool features. Pad the rock at your back.,
3. Scary Spice:
Area 51 (Highball)
Beta: Start on the rail in the middle of the boulder. Make your way up to the big ledge and top out.
How to Get There: From the parking lot follow the main path for less than 5 mins a take a right at the area 51 sign. Of the 3 large boulders you see when you come to the area, the problem is on the left side of the middle one.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: I am not entirely sure how long this one will be around because when I heel hooked the flakey ledge it flexed, but it’s a really cool problem. It’s just high enough to really get your blood pumping, but the holds up top are all pretty good. The landing is flat and while the crux is higher than I’d like it with your backside slightly exposed, I don’t think it is too high for a solid V3 climber with a good mental game. While you are at this problem don’t forget to check out Super Sloper a line that climbs the slopy holds to good pockets to the left of Scary Spice.
1. Kobra Kahn
Halloween Town (Lowball):
Beta: Sit start on the underclings. Move out into the big tufa, follow it to the hueco and top out.
How to Get There: You will probably get lost and I am sorry. Drive 1 mile up the Left Fork and park at the bathrooms. Cross the river and follow the good trail over the meadow and up the hill. Turn left and head up between the boulders at the tall pockety problem. Weave up between the boulders and then walk up the gully. The walk takes~20 mins if you know where the problem is and ~40+ mins if it’s your first time. There are cairns all over the place that don’t mean a thing and too many paths to count. The best advice is to walk until you are about even (Upstream/Downstream) with the big arch (see pic below) across the river and walk until you are almost equal to the arch in elevation.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: The only reason this problem doesn’t get more stars in my book is the approach, but in is undoubtedly the best V4 in Joe’s and certainly a world class problem. The view from the boulder and unique feature on the boulder are part of why I think it deserves its title as best V4 in Joe’s. There are essentially two distinct parts of the problem. The beginning is the crux which I have seen done two ways. A left foot heal toe foot scum or a right foot hold with left foot flagged. Then, its a few juggy moves and you are into the top section which is pretty straight forward. You can make a big move or smaller moves, using a heel toe cam and some better technique.
2. Self Service
Self Service Boulder (Not High):.
Beta: Sit Start on the corner in the center of the boulder. Move up and right to the juggy ledge and top out.
How to Get There: From the parking lot follow the main path for less than 5 mins and take a right at the area 51 sign. You will see 3 large boulders when you come to the area, pass to the left of all of them. Then find the path out of the Area 51 area that leads you kind of back toward the main path. The first left will have a sign post for self service, take it and follow it to the problem down in the gully.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: This problem is short and sweet, but consistent all the way through. The heel toe foot cams are cool, but could be painful if you peel out of them wrong.
3. Pimper’s Paradise
No Substance Area (Not High):
Beta: Sit start on obvious jug. Work your way up through pockets to the lip and top out.
How to Get There: Drive 2.6 miles up the Right Fork and park just before the coal mine. Walk up to No Substance (See V8) and then turn left on the path that parallels the road to the obvious Thriller Boulder. The problem is on the back side, but follow the trail up and to the right of the boulder to get there.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: This is also a really short problem, but I really like the way I had to wind out of the pockets and set my feet just right to make the move to the lip. Shorter people will likely have to jump.
1. Frosted Flakes
The Hulk (Kind of High):
Beta: Sit start on the jug. Move right into the seam and then up to the pockets. From the pockets grab the top and make the less than secure mantle.
How to Get There: Drive up the Right Fork 3.9 miles and park on the left. Look for the Hulk sign post on the right side of the road and walk less than 30 yards to the first big boulder.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: This is a proud send for a V5 climber. It’s kind of high, the top out is not a jug fest, and the entire climb is pretty consistent and overhung. There is a finger pocket for the left hand that is almost too good because it locks your fingers into it so just be aware of that before you lose a finger to that pocket.
88+ (Not High):
Beta: Stand start in the crack. Move left on sloper, then climb up past the pocket and traverse the rail back right to top out.
How to Get There: From the parking lot follow the main path for less than 10 mins, take a right at the area 88+ sign. At the sign you should be able to see the boulder as it is in the first group of boulders on the left.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: This is one of my favorite V5’s anywhere. I like the wide range of different techniques you get to use on this problem and the fact that it uses some core tension as well. The only thing that keeps me from giving it more stars is that it doesn’t have the aesthetic appeal that some other problems have.
3. Kill By Numbers
Mine Cart (Lowball):
Beta: Squat start on side pulls. Slap out to the arete and work your way up the arete until you can top out the side through the big side pull hueco to grab the ledge and mantle.
How to Get There: In the Left Fork drive 1.7 miles to the mine cart area. Park next to the mine cart and walk toward the reservoir. for 100 feet and you’ll see the sign and the boulder for “Kill By Numbers” on the right side of the street.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: People love this problem. I personally think its ok because it is a classic heel hook and slap the arete problem. I would pick Contact and Frosted Flakes well before I picked this problem, but people seem to think this problem is really great. There is often also a pad party at this one so if you want it to yourself go at sunrise.
1. Wills Afire
Right Sign Area (High):
Beta: Sit start on undercling. Move up to the deep pocket and through the crimps in the seam to get to the top out.
Beta Video 1
Beta Video 2
How to Get There: Drive 2.7 miles up the Left Fork. Walk up the road toward the reservoir ~70 yards and keep an eye out for the post marking the entrance to the “right sign” area on the right side of the road. The post is hard to see as you walk up the road because its hidden from view. Once you find the sign, walk up the hill between the two boulders. The boulder is behind the long vertical wall on the left.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: This problem has my vote for the best problem in Joe’s. It’s consistent, super cool looking, and just high enough to make you think, but when/if you fall you shouldn’t hurt yourself unless you fall horribly wrong.
2. I’d Rather Be Climbing Her
Limbo and Tsunami (High):
Beta: Start matched on the low crimp rail. Bump to side pull crimp and then bump to the good huge ledge. Make a big move to the top and top out.
How to Get There: From the parking lot follow the main path for less than 5 mins, take a right at the Limbo and Tsumani sign and head toward Pocket Rocket (Anarchy Boulder) at pocket rock turn up the path headed up the hill. the turn right at the “New Joe’s Area” sign and follow it up to the cove of boulders
Pebble Pusher Perspective: I have a thing for funky problems. The feet on the start are funky and I love it. The good ledge almost provide a rest before going for the kind of heady big move to the top. Great problem with an even better name.
3. Scary Monsters
Big Joe’s (Not so High):
Beta: Squat start on the jug move left to the huge side pull vertical ledge. Head up and top out.
How to Get There: Drive 3.1 miles up the Left Fork and look for the sign that marks the Riverside Boulders on the left. Cross the street and walk uphill to the boulder above the waterfall amphitheater. The path hugs the left bank and the boulder is no more that 100 yards away from the road.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: If you aren’t digging the height of the first two V6s on the list then this one is for you, It not as tall and you can cheat into the top out from the adjacent boulder to work it if that is your thing. None the less, the hard moves are down low, the fall isn’t bad, and it’s a super fun problem.
1. Bring the Heatwole
Eden (Not High):
Beta: Sit start on the undercling. Move to the left arete and then traverse right to the long and good side pull.
How to Get There: Park 2.7 miles up the Left Fork. Walk up the road toward the reservoir ~100 yards until you see the sign post for Eden on the right side of the road. Walk uphill and it will be the first cave area you come to.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: Between the knee bars and the core intensive moves what’s not to like about this problem. The high feet also make for some interesting movement Definitely a classic and it’s shaded most of the time.
Eden (Not so High):
Beta: (Stand) Start on opposing side pulls. Move up to a side pull undercling for the right hand, bump to the seam, and top out.
How to Get There: Park 2.7 miles up the Left Fork. Walk up the road toward the reservoir ~100 yards until you see the sign post for Eden on the right side of the road. Walk uphill and before you get to the first cave area, turn left and loop around the boulders to make it to the ledge that was above the first cave area. The first problem you will see on the Eden II boulder is Indian Steps (V3-4). G2-07 is around the right corner.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: Cool moves on thin holds that require some lock-off strength and core tension. The consensus is that the sit start doesn’t add much to the problem.
3. Water Paintings
All Boulder (Lowball):
Beta: Squat start on the undercling. Bump your hands into the holds on the middle of the overhang. Throw a heel hook and move right to the seam and top out through the dish.
How to Get There: Park 2.4 miles up the Right Fork. You will see a boulder with “ALL” Written on the front on the right hand side of the road. The problem is in the cave feature.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: Awesome overhung roof problem that you don’t need a spotter for.
1. The Flu
The Flu (Not so High):
Beta: Squat start the tufa and work up to the fang feature and top out to the right.
How to Get There: Park just past the warm up boulder next to a wash. Walk up the right side of the canyon and take your second right. From here expect to walk up, up, and up the hill trying to stay more or less going straight up until you reach the Flu. There are better directions to the entire Flu area with a mini-guide at this link.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: Really cool Tufas with a fang feature. While this climb is not to be missed, it sure is quite the hike to get to it. Might be on the soft side with hard moves at the top.
2. Black Sea/Dead Sea (Not so High)
Beta: Sit start on the jug, move up to the rail and traverse left on slopy dishes then top out the center of the face.
How to Get There: In the Left Fork park at the 8 mile sign. Walk up the path on the right hand side of the road. If you hit Gurkha Knife (a killer V9) you have gone too far. Walk back toward the road and to the left if you are coming from Gurkha knife looking at the road.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: There seems to be some debate whether the sit start is additive or not. Regardless it’s fun, technical and thin.
3. No Substance
No Substance (Not so High):
Beta: Start on the left telephone hold traverse right along the left arete to the highest point and top out.
How to Get There: Drive 2.6 miles up the Right Fork and park just before the coal mine. Walk up to No Substance.
Pebble Pusher Perspective: Fun lateral movement on bad feet. Gotta be strong.
Climbing and Bouldering are both Dangerous…
By continuing to read this post, as a reader of Pebble Pusher Bouldering Guides, you assume all risk associated with the activities described in this guide. Your safety depends on your own good judgment. The activities described in this post may lead to dangerous situations, and can result in serious injury or death. Bouldering and other forms of rock climbing require a significant degree of experience and instruction, which is outside the scope of this article.
There are hazards and dangers that are not described in this guide and we make no guarantee that the information in this guide is accurate. We could be completely wrong about everything, so you follow this guide at your own risk because we are certainly not an expert just a dirt bag boulderer who wants to help climbers enjoy their limited time.