Kyle and I spent our Thanksgiving break in Joshua Tree for the second year in a row. This time we got to bring our families camping and spend a little more time climbing (last year I was injured and couldn't do any climbing). So we took it upon ourselves to do a few popular routes as well as some desert wandering and discovering routes less traveled along the way.
Day 1 we headed to Whispering Wall
Day 2 - We woke up with the sun to be the first to climb the classic SW Corner of Headstone Rock. Even though it was quite cold, alpine starts in the desert are worth it to beat the crowds and watch the sunrise paint the sky.
In between climbing, of course, I did a great job 'lizarding' when the sun hit the rocks just right. By the end of the day, the sky was looking especially lovely and our campsite at Jumbo Rocks Campground felt other worldly.
Day 3 - Began with another A.M. adventure on The Eye at Cyclops Rock. I feel silly admitting this, but it wasn't until I topped out and walked through the gigantic hole in the top of the rock did I realize the namesake of the rock formation and the climb itself. Sometimes the names of routes seem totally random, other times they're in-your-face obvious, like this one.
Later on we wandered about the Split Rock area looking for interesting things. This one caught both of our eye because it was so cool looking. Upon further inspection, we found bolts on it! Still not quite sure what it is, but Kyle had fun with this one and I thoroughly enjoyed taking photos of it.
For most of our trip, I was really hesitant to lead anything (hence the reluctant alpinist) despite Kyle's encouragement. I was feeling a little down and not quite ready to take on the sandbagged monzogranite at Joshua Tree. Eventually I found a really cool, fun and easy route on Bear Island that was great for beginners to practice leading trad. I was feeling pretty good afterwards! One step at a time, but for now I'll follow Kyle up all the hard (to me) stuff.
The approach for this one was long by J Tree standards, approximately 20 whole minutes walking on flat sandy ground. So after a few self-timer photos with no one else around, we took our time moseying on back to the car with a cold Sierra Nevada in hand.
After packing up camp and before the long drive ahead of us, we took advantage of the emptiness of the park and made the most of our vacation day by running up a few fun climbs in the Hidden Valley area on Intersection Rock and The Old Woman (see what I mean about names?) It was a perfect wrap to a really fun trip, I always love ending on a high note! Till next time J Tree.