We made it home to Long Is. City. It was an epic back to Tucson via Hwy 10 through the desert in the Red Pontiac Grand Prix. Joshua Tree National Park was worth all the hassle. Mt. Lemmon north of Tucson was also worth the drive and inconvenience of stopping and picking up helmets. The days feel bigger in the Southwest. The fields of grass around the wash in Patagonia, Arizona were beautiful. The sunsets on the rocks and Joshua trees are to be remembered. The 30 degree nights in the tent were also quite memorable. Also, the snowshoeing with Chris and his mother on Christmas morning in Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado was amazing.
The 2nd night camping in Joshua Tree we chose a spot which faced the sunrise. This is critical as it is cold in the shade. The sun starts rising a little after 6am but doesn’t really come out until 06:30 and if your are in the shade it stays really cold. Our 2nd campsite was also a bit more sheltered from the winds that can kick up.
We climbed one sport route in Mt. Lemmon National Park (Ridgeback 5.5 at Ridgeline, 100 ft.)and then in Joshua Tree all top roping. There we climbed at “Lizard’s Hangout”, the Short Wall in “Indian Cove”, Belle Campground, and our last day at “The Thin Wall” in “The Real Hidden Valley”. The rock varied but was mostly very rough on the hands and very sticky for the feet. The “Short Wall” was tremendous because it was all balance moves on your toes practically. I tried a really hard 5.10b crack I think, and wasn’t up to snuff. I climbed a couple of other 5.10a’s without problem and generally we found the ratings to be stiff, but I think it depended more on the wall. Mostly the holds were very positive and allowed a lot of smearing. We set up anchors for the most part with tubular webbing around large boulders. It helped to be in the sun. Cams would’ve been helpful in some occasions but a sling as a backup is never a bad idea. There were rap bolts of questionable age and quality on the Thin Wall.
The smelly hippy climbers with dogs next to us were helpful only after two locking ‘biners on a runner got stuck in a crack at the top and I needed a nut tool to unjam them. Luckily the nut tool worked. And then we proceeded to travel for 16 hours back to New York City. I’ll post some photos here below and on my flickr page.