Friday, November 20, 2015

Joshua Tree Climbing Adventure Part 5 Nov. 1 - Nov. 6

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Day 23, Sunday Nov. 1, 2015 - Climbing at J-Tree National Park

Tony and Margaret arrived last night and we spent the evening eating delicious pizza at "Pie for People" to celebrate Mike's Bday.

Echo Rock

 Today we spent the day at the Echo Rock Area to introduce Tony and Margaret to J-Tree.  We climbed 3 routes at Echo Rock:

Route #10b: "Double Dip", 5.6, Echo Rock

A fun casual mixed route that Mike led up to the top of Echo Rock. A bit run-out at the top, but it gets easier the higher you get on the slab. You need two ropes to TR this route, it's long! There is a relatively straight forward 3rd class walk-off to descend.

"Double Dip"

Route #11b: "Try Again", 10b, Echo Rock

This route is beside Double Dip, so we figured we'd give it a go while we had the rope up. It's fun and balancey with some thin steep slab moves at the crux. Again, you need two ropes to TR this route and There is a relatively straight forward 3rd class walk-off to descend.

"Double Dip" and "Try Again"

Route #12b: "Stitcher Quits" (aka Black Tide), 5.7, Echo Rock

Next Mike wanted to try his hand at the Classic route "Stitcher Quits". This route is also long, a 70m route gets you to a ramp when you rappel and then you have to down climb about 10ft to get to the ground. The route is crazy run out, but the bolts are exactly where you want them. Only 4 bolts in 35m+, yikes! It has a good backstory to the route name.

"Stitcher Quits"

After we finished up at Echo Rock we went back to top rope "Eff Eight" on the Mounds, and I got it clean this time! I was stoked since I full on flailed on it a couple weeks ago! Tony and Margaret got there first taste of J-Tree sandbags while they battled up this route in the heat. 

We finished the day at the Snickers Wall in the Candy Bar Area where we climbed two fun routes:

"Funny Bone" and "Humorous"

35/60: "Funny Bone", 5.8, Snickers Wall

Route #13b: "Humorous", 10b, Snickers Wall

Margaret and Amber at the Snickers Wall

Day 24, Monday Nov. 2, 2015 - Climbing at J-Tree National Park

Today we headed back to the park and climbed at Dairy Queen Wall at the Hemingway Buttress. We climbed 4 routes, which felt a bit stiff, but were overall fun routes and well worth climbing. There is also a rappel anchor in place that allows you to avoid the 4th class gully/chimney down climb, which was a nice surprise!

36/60: "Scrumdillyishus", 5.7, Dairy Queen Wall

37/60: "Frosty Cone", 5.7, Dairy Queen Wall

"Scrumdillyishus" and "Frosty Cone"

Route # 14b: "Hot Fudge", 5.9, Dairy Queen Wall (TR only)

38/60: "Mr. Misty Kiss", 5.8, Dairy Queen Wall

"Mr Misty Kiss"

On the way back out of the park we stopped and re-climbed "Granny Goose", 5.7 at the Left Hand of Darkness crag.

"Granny Goose"

Day 25, Tuesday Nov. 3, 2015 - Climbing at J-Tree National Park

I seemed to have come down with a cold, so I just hiked and hung out at the crags today. Mike, Tony and Margaret climbed "Hands Off", "The Bong" and "Toe Jam" at the Hidden Valley Campground.

Mike had done those routes before, but enjoyed them and was happy to go climb them again. It was quite cold and windy today.  I think our summer weather is gone! 

After climbing we went for a short hike out back to Baker dam to show Tony and Margaret some of the sites.

Day 26, Wednesday Nov. 4, 2015 - Climbing at J-Tree National Park

I was a bit under the weather today so stayed in town and took a rest day.  Mike, Tony and Margaret headed out to the East end of the park for some fun climbing on routes like "Gargoyle", "New Toy" and "Where Two Deserts Meet".

Day 27, Thursday Nov. 5, 2015 - Climbing at J-Tree National Park

Tony and Margaret wanted to explore the park a bit so Mike and I thought climbing "Mental Physics" at Wonderland of Rocks again would be a good way to do so.

We enjoyed a nice, scenic hike to the route and then re-climbed one of our favourite routes. It is a beautiful and peaceful location to hangout for the morning.

After getting back to the car we headed over to the Real Hidden Valley area. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch at the picnic area and then re-climbed "Aint Nothing but a J-Tree Thing" and "Almost Vertical"
 at Thin Wall.

It was Tony and Margaret's last night in J-Tree so we headed back out for another yummy pizza dinner to celebrate an awesome week of climbing together.

Day 28, Friday Nov. 6, 2015 - Rest Day

Today we said goodbye to Tony and Margaret and then enjoyed a much-needed rest day. Went to the park to hike a bit and scout out some more routes in the morning.

Afterwards we explored Pioneertown where we had a delicious lunch at Pappy and Harriet's, an old school saloon, and then we relaxed for the afternoon.

That evening we headed into Palm Springs to pick up Aaron at the airport  and hit up In-N-Out Burger for dinner. 

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Joshua Tree Climbing Adventure, Part 4 & Disneyland! - Oct. 24 - Oct. 31

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Day 15, Saturday Oct. 24, 2015 - Climbing at J-Tree National Park

Our Friends are here! Yay! Karen arrived in J-Tree this morning and we headed out to Mt. Grossvogel at the Lost Horse Area to do a couple of multi-pitch routes and give her a first taste of J-tree sandbags. We climbed Roboranger 5.5 (just say yes to 5.5's with roofs!) and Dr Seuss Vogel, 5.7, but learned from our last trip up the wall and avoided the summit block with the sketchy down climb.

Karen crushing the roof on "Roboranger"

3b: "Ceremony", 5.10c, Atlantis Wall

Next we headed to  Atlantis Wall and set up some top ropes. The first one was on what we thought was a 5.9, but it was really hard! We all kept peeling off repeatedly before figuring out the moves and then later found out that was the route  "Ceremony" that we were on, a10c! That makes more sense!

Mike belaying on "Roboranger"

We finished the day with a romp up "Men with Cows Heads", 5.5, and then headed back to the car as the sun set.

After climbing we headed to the Joshua Tree Saloon for a tasty dinner with entertainment by a local band "The Spaghetti Wrestlers". The place was packed!

Setting up Top-rope anchors at Atlantis Wall
After dinner we headed to the airport in Palm Springs to pick up Marie and then promptly went to bed to a fun-filled day of climbing tomorrow! Yay!

Day 16, Sunday Oct. 25, 2015 - Climbing at J-Tree National Park

At the base of "Gargoyle" (Photo by Karen Jensen)

Today was our first day climbing with both Marie and Karen. Since Sundays are busy in the park we headed out to a more obscure area in the East end of the park and climbed Gargoyle again. We thought Marie would like it and she rocked it for her first J-Tree climb.

Marie crushing "Gargoyle"
Karen Cruising up "Gargoyle"

I top roped for a second time, getting it clean this time and with a bit of coaxing and encouragement I went back and led it, clean! My first J-Tree lead climb!

Leading "Gargoyle" (Photo by Karen Jensen)

Leading "Gargoyle"

We had a bit of an adventure filled day in the mean time. Mike had a run in with cactus while belaying and we had to take a climbing intermission to remove the cactus spikes with tweezers.

Removing the Cactus Spikes (Photo by Karen Jensen)

 Then Karen met a rattle snake while taking photos, it rushed out of a small cave and hissed and rattled at her. Yikes!

Rattle Snake (Photo by Karen Jensen)
Next we went and climbed "Where Two Deserts Meet" as we had thought that was a fun climb the first time around too. A fun place to climb with great views of the park.

Karen and Marie climbing "Where Two Deserts Meet"

After climbing we drove a bit further East to do some exploring. On the was we saw a tarantula on the road and a angry park warden when he encountered a few cars pulled over to look at the tarantula.

Tarantula! (Photo by Karen Jensen)
Finally, we went to Ocotillo cactus patch and the Cholla Cactus Gardens, both of which were impressive and watched the sunset in the park before heading home for dinner.

Cholla Cactus Close-up

Ocotillo Cactus

Ocotillo Cactus Close-up


Day 17, Monday Oct. 26, 2015 - Climbing at J-Tree National Park

Today we headed back to Playhouse Rock with Marie and Karen. We spent the day climbing, practicing anchor building, relaxing, enjoying the desert scenery. We climbed 4 routes at the crag, "Dress Rehearsal" and "Beck's Bear", which we had done before, and we tried 2 new routes on Top Rope:

Mike and Karen building anchors at the top of Playhouse Rock
4b: "Final Act", 5.5, Playhouse Rock

A corner and Wide crack/off-width that cruise to the top onto easier, low angle features.

lunch break (Photo by Karen Jensen)

5b: "Balancing Act", 5.10c, Playhouse Rock

A fun, thin slab that climbs up a series of tiers beside "Final Act"

Karen and Marie on "Final Act"
We finished the day at the Planet X Boulders Area,  where Mike climbed "Planet X"

34/60: "Planet X", 5.8+, Planet X Spire

"Planet X" (Photo by Marie Cummings)
Mike nearing the top of "Planet X" (Photo by Marie Cummings)
Mike on top of "Planet X" (Photo by Karen Jensen)

A sweet line with burley jugs (and a cactus at the base to motivate you not to fall), into steep crack climb and finally into thin face climbing, topping out on the summit of a spire.
Marie Crushing "Planet X" (Photo by Karen Jensen)

Karen crushing "Planet X"

The TR set up is a bit convoluted as the only anchor option to around the face, so there is a reasonable pendulum potential. but with good use of directionals, it is possible to set up a safe TR.

Amber Climbing "Planet X"

On top of "Planet X" Getting ready to clean the anchor (Photo by Karen Jensen)

We finished up our day with a hike back to the car at sunset, where we watched amazing views of the moon rising and after dinner we went back to the park for star gazing. Unfortunately the full moon was too bright to see many stars, but the moon looked pretty amazing shining over the desert!

Sunset and Full-moon rising

Day 18, Tuesday Oct. 27, 2015 - Climbing at J-Tree National Park

Today was Karen's last day in J-Tree so we spent the morning at Trash Can Rock playing on some top ropes for the morning. We climbed:

Dropping the TR's (Photo by Marie Cummings)

6b: "B-1", 5.4 ,Trashcan Rock
A fun casual off-widht that turns into a hand crack with lots of face holds on the surrounding Patina plates

7b: "B-2", 5.4 ,Trashcan Rock
A chimney that heads into a fun hand crack near the top

8b: "TipToe", 5.7 ,Trashcan Rock
Climb up small positive edges following a thin dyke snaking up a blank slab

9b: "Profundity", 5.10a ,Trashcan Rock
Climb the thin edge and steep friction slab up the face; fun and balancey!

We also spent some time practicing extended repels and multi-pitch systems in a shady alcove in between climbs.

 After saying goodbye to Karen we  hiked to arch rock and took some photos of each other climbing the arch.
Mike and Amber on the Arch (Photo by Marie Cummings)

Then we headed back to "Gargoyle" so Marie could get a J-Tree lead climb. Nice work on your first J-Tree lead climb Marie!

Marie leading "Gargoyle"

Marie leading "Gargoyle"

Marie topping out! 

We finished off the evening with a tasty dinner at the classic Crossroads Cafe in town.

Day 19, Wednesday Oct. 28, 2015 - Climbing at J-Tree National Park

Today was Marie's Last day in J-Tree. We headed to the park in the morning and climbed Granny Goose. And then Marie rescued our cam that we got stuck over a week ago from the base of "Rainy Day Woman" Awesome!

After packing, we drove to Palm Springs and went for lunch at In-N-Out Burger and then dropped off Marie at Airport. That afternoon Mike and I drove to Anaheim and relaxed for the evening to rest up for Disneyland tomorrow! Yay!

Day 20 - 22, Thursday Oct 29 - Sat. Oct. 31, 2015 - Disneyland!

After almost 3 full weeks of climbing, we needed a rest break, so Mike and I went to Disneyland for a few days.  So much fun! A nice break for the climbing muscles. An awesome couple days of acting like kids, eating junk food, going on rides, taking silly photos and going to parades, shows and fireworks! I love the carefree days of exploring Disneyland! 

Happy Birthday Mike!

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Click Here for Part 5