Joshua Tree Nov 2016 Part 1
Robin and I made a plan to go back to Joshua Tree this November weekend on October 18th, pretty much when we were still in Joshua Tree last month. We were able to book a single night in Blackrock Campground, and decided to spend the weekend by elongating the trip by spending the extra day on BLM land if we had to. Robin and I met Kai there. Kai was rounding out his 10 day trip climbing his way through both Red Rocks and The Grand Canyon before meeting us in Joshua Tree.
Robin and I drove up Friday night and got to the Campsite 70 right after dusk. We cooked up some delicious sausage burritos and sat around the fire for a few hours before sleeping out sans tent under the stars. I saw a shooting star. Waking up outdoors with the sunshine peaking over the adjacent mountin range through the Joshua Trees gave me a pure moment of bliss. We made left over sausage breakfast burritos in the morning.
Our plan was to climb in the Hidden Valley Area around Intersection Rock. We wanted to climb Double Cross (5.7), but alas, the route was too popular for us to be able to get onto. There was a group of 15 parked out in front of Double Cross at 9am. We just didn’t have a chance. I knew that it would be to tough to get onto the route and that we would have to wait in line, but I didn’t know that it would be impossible. Maybe it was something about the Flashy Foxys instagramming this climb merely two days before our scheduled go time. I can’t put them at fault. Shoot, that instagram post on top of a friend of mine raving about the routeis probably why I wanted to climb it so bad anyway. I tentatively planned to come scope it out on Sunday morning.
We messed around on Drawstring (5.8) for a short period before we decided that these sport route climbers would rather do something more clean. Something about chimneys just didn’t sound quite copacetic to newly minted trad leaders. Frankly, I wanted to be amenable, so we left it undone.
We headed to the Cathouse in the Roadside Rocks area directly adjacent to Hidden Valley. We just had to drive from the Hidden Valley area to the first turnout. The short hike made it much less crowded. There were a ton of routes in our grade range so we sort of set up camp in the upper wall area.
I didn’t lead any of the routes in the Cathouse Area. This is notable. I have been working on leading in the gym lately, and I’ve led a lot of routes in my home crag, Woodsen, in the last few months. Something happened last week that totally shattered my confidence. I was feeling a little sketched out. Let me tell you about it. I bought a little hand exerciser at REI last week and I’ve gotten in the habit of using it like a stress ball at my desk. I think by the time I got to the climbing gym Wednesday, my grip was absolutely useless. My hands gave out on me while clipping the second bolt and I suffered a factor 2 fall, decking in the gym for the first time ever. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I didn’t get chewed out about my technique within 10 seconds of hitting the ground, and maybe about 5 seconds after standing up. I felt like my hands failed, I failed myself, and I failed my belay partner, who took it as a personal insult that I fell so badly. I felt ostracized. I didn’t entirely feel safe, for many reasons. Its complex, and I think it will take some time for me to build my confidence back up. If I’m honest, I think I am going to have to find a safer space to climb.
Continued in Joshua Tree November 2016 Part 2