The Kelso Train Depot in the Mojave National Preserve en route to Josha Tree from Las Vegas...the scenic way
Kelso Sand Dunes and, I believe, the Granite Mountains
More of the aptly named Granite Mountains
Military jets doing circles in the sky?
Salt water in the valley
We drove into Joshua Tree via Twentynine Palms and saw a bit of the east side of the park first. Our first objective for the day was the route “Planet X”, on the Planet X Pinnacle
Fritz does some harness yoga getting ready to climb the obivous line of “Planet X”, 5.8, while another climber works up “Saturn Sheets”, 5.9
Next we focused on the west face of the pinnacle and climbed “Planet Y”, 5.10a. It was a better route than X.
Our third route of the trip was “Pope's Crack”, 5.9, on Echo Rock which climbs the obvious crack left of the climber in this photo. Below the roof the route does a descending traverse to the left on the dike and then follows the other crack up. It was really good.
We then noticed a beautiful flake and corner on the west face of Echo Rock so, without a guide book, we climbed it. We later asked a guy I shared the belay with about it and he told us it is “Heart and Sole”, 5.10a. This line was really good.
We had time for a fifth route of the day so we climbed this neighboring route, Stichter Quits, 5.7 that follows the “patina dike” at 5.7.
Without a good guidebook for this area, we found these signs quite helpful
Minesh and Laura were staying at a friend's house in Palm Springs and invited us along. Turns out the house was formerly owned by Tammy Faye Baker and is a very nice place. This is the guest house living room. We had it to ourselves and, in fact, never met the owners of the house. Very generous of them.
No plans on New Years Eve meant I was walking around the grounds taking photos
Serious citrus fruit tress on the property
New Years Day: We got started early in hopes that most other climbers were hungover. We headed for the classic 5.6 “SW Corner” route of The Headstone. It is the right skyline of the tallest block here. Really awesome exposure and fun climbing
Minesh seconding the “SW Corner”
Also on The Headstone, we climbed “Cryptic”, 5.8. Allison's first lead at Joshua Tree!
Really fun face climbing on small plates
Laura starting up “Cryptic”
Another view of Laura on “Cryptic” taken from near the parking area
We headed to Hidden Valley and got skunked on “Illusion Dweller” so we ended up here on “Butterfingers Make Me Horny”, 5.8 on The Thin Wall
A view of the Hidden Valley and the Great Burrito wall, the obivous clean wall. We next climbed “Kemosabe and Tonto”, 5.9, on that wall. The route went more or less up the middle of the wall
Oh, but first, we also climbed “Count on Your Fingers” 5.9, but I finished on “No Calculators Allowed”, 5.10a, to the left because it looked more interesting
Allison following “Kemosabe and Tonto”. With a 70m rope Allison could TR the route
Then we went to climb “Sail Away” on Hidden Tower but it was being climbed already so I climbed “Wild Wind”, 5.9, to the left. Good but short but nice summit
Finally, to end the day, we climbed Runaway, 5.11a, on Tumbling Rainbow. Superb edging and friction. Great stuff!
Sun setting on The Sentinel
Last view up Runaway
Friday, day three at J-Tree, Minesh and Laura started on “Fote Hog”, 5.6, on The Sentinel. Minesh leading P1.
Allison and I climbed “Sphincter Quits”, 5.9+, on Sports Challenge Rock. This is another guy leading it after we did.
Minesh starting up P2
Allison and I then moved to the shady side of Sports Challenge Rock to climb “one of the most popular 5.10s in the park”, this line...“Clean and Jerk”, 5.10c. Very bouldery start and then up the sustained, overhanging crack. The top is not pictured.
Allison warms up on the handrail boulder start to “Clean and Jerk”. The route was really very good.
Then it was time to pose. We all headed out to the 5.6X “Aiguille de Joshua Tree”. This 30 foot finger is a super cool formation for “hero poses”
There is no pro on the formation and no anchor on top so it's 5.6X climbing to the summit with 5.6 downclimbing to get down.
On the summit. Now to reverse those moves....
Starting the down climb
Oh, wait, now I need to go back up for the Crane Pose
We setup a sling anchor around the top so Minesh and Fritz could TR up. Minesh heads up.
He's up there!
I went up a third time to break down the anchor. Thus, you all are subjected to more shots of me on the summit
We headed up the hill from the Aiguille to the 5.7 “Classic Corner”. Nice jamming and laybacking in a great but all-too-short corner
Our last route of the trip was “Sidewinder” a four-star 5.10b route on Sidewinder Rock. This is someone else on the route after us. It goes up 10b slab climbing down low to the roof and then traverses to a vertical crack to a dike. Airy and scary no-hands traversing to the left while standing on the dike finishes the route. It was wild!
The route is shown in this photo