Bouldering in Joshua Tree

Bouldering in Joshua Tree
Ronnie 15 feet off deck on the classic White Rastafarian.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring Happenings pt. 2

This latest adventure started two weeks ago.

Two years ago I put together an adaptive climbing clinic at the Amputee Coalition Youth Camp. One of the campers at the time, Corey, a below the knee amputee, attended my clinic and got hooked on climbing. Fast forward two years and he is now in college north of Atlanta and climbing avidly. We reconnected and I flew up to the Southeast to take him on his first outdoor climbing trip.
Me, Corey, and Brandon

It has been really rewarding to see some of my efforts in the past bringing forth tomorrow's generation of adaptive climbers.

Corey had his eyes set on one of my past projects Fat Cat (V5), one of the pristine climbs that the Stone Fort has to offer.

He worked out all the moves in a strong effort, but was unable to link together for the send. I am sure he will be back soon to take the rig down.

Overall we had a blast and just climbed around on the endless amounts of classics the boulder field has to offer. We were able to connect on some of the challenges on climbing with one leg, and share our similar experiences. I have made many friends through climbing that I am proud to know, and I think it is a safe bet to say I made another friend for life on this trip as well.

On Mizzen Mast, a long never tried classic. 
Part two of the trip was the start of my California adventure. I flew into LA to meet up with my friend Andrew Chao, and Damon Corso, a professional photographer and videographer out of the area.

We drove to Bishop for a quick 3 day trip to experience the amazing climbing that the area has to offer.

The view of the Sierra's from our campground.
Bishop is distinct in the sense that it has 7-8 different areas of established climbing, all on varying kinds of rock and terrain. Our first day focused around the rock in the canyon of the volcanic tableland at the Happy Boulders.

The Happy Boulders provide a very gymnastic kind of climbing venue, and are an absolute blast to climb on. We toured through all of the classics V0-V4 even finding some gems off the beaten path.

One of my favorite climbs of the day was the towering I am Leaving for Constantinople, Tonight (V0) on the rim of the canyon. One of the most enjoyable moves I have ever done leads to a committing top out 30 ft above the pads.

The Happy Boulders
Scoping out Leaving for Constantinople Tonight.

On day two after getting shut down on the committing top out of Strength in Numbers (V5) at the Sad Boulders, we decided to go have an adventure. The guidebook touted Church of Lost and Found (V1) at the Sherwin Plateau to be world class. We made the hike from Bishop, and drove 7.2 miles on dirt trails (almost destroying the rental car in the process :-) until we were completely alone in the high wilderness. A short hike by foot led to the rim of the Owen's river gorge canyon and the best rock climb I think I have ever done.

Church of Lost and Found
The photos do none of this justice.

The scenery was second to none and we left with one of my most memorable climbing experiences. We finished day two with an awesome evening session at the Happy Boulders, ticking off two projects from the day before, Solarium (V4) and Cue Ball (V4).

Scenery at the Sherwin Plateau.
Down climb on Solarium (V4)

Day Three we were refreshed from a mellow day two and made our way to the field that Bishop is famous for, the Buttermilks. We toured tons of classics and tried not to get blown away by the 40+ mile an hour wind. In the ever unpredictable weather it went from Sunny and nice, to hurricane force winds, to snowing by the end of the day. The outdoors is a powerful thing.

Damo on Saigon (V6)


Lastly we headed back to LA to get ready for our 2nd annual adaptive climbing clinic in Joshua Tree which I have described in a separate post.

We spent our last day of climbing on easter sunday at Joshua Tree, mostly having a mellow day (by comparison). Our agenda revolved around three boulder problems The Chube (V2), Slashface (V3), and Satellite Left (V3). All of these climbs were in different areas and in total we hiked about 6-8 miles in the SoCal desert.

Slashface (V3 R)
Topping out the Chube (V2)

I managed to take down one nemesis from last year, The Chube (V2). Finally managing to press out the crux top out. Unfortunately I was not strong enough (and did not have enough skin left!) to take down Slashface for the second year in a row. I also got shut down by the terrifying last move of Satellite left, and after a couple of nasty falls decided that I was emotionally drained from everything and threw in the towel. Damon's girlfriend, Crystalyn and his sister Larissa hid some easter eggs for us and we relaxed and hiked out in the sunset to mark the end of this awesome trip.

Group shot on the Illicit Sweetie Boulder
Hiking to Slashface


I was really lucky to be able to even climb this trip.....I had torn a pulley in my right middle finger about five weeks prior. Thankfully I was able to rehab it and it was on the mend for this trip. It was a blessing in disguise because rather than focusing on difficulty I was truly able to enjoy the climbing and re focus on the journey this time around.

I had been passing by "easy" climbs at Stone fort for years now, after doing them wondering after the fact why I had never climbed it years ago. The journey is what truly makes climbing special, the people you meet, how you get there, and all the memories in between. I still have my sights set on big goals ahead, but need to remember to take a step back and soak it all in every once in a while.

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