My fingers are crying. They’ve been in pain all week from last weekend’s Joshua Tree excursion. And I’ll be returning to JTree today. I’ve left a project there: Desert Shield. This will be the first time I make the three hour drive two weekends in a row, so I’m hoping for some magic. Realistically though, a redpoint probably isn’t in the cards, but if Colonel Sanders had thought like that, we wouldn’t have KFC now would we? I also want to finish Avant Chain, perhaps the most painful 12a I’ve ever seen – my skin can hardly contain its excitement.
Last night I climbed with Justin and Kristy and Andy and Marcela and Bob and Lala and Tuto at Lizard’s Mouth. It was pretty good. Andy did the sit start to Gangsta Hippie and a couple rad-looking problems on the Top ‘o the World, Ma boulder. He looked strong. Justin and I spent most of our time on Gangsta Hippie – I did it twice but could not motivate for the sit start. It was cold up there, which seemed to suck everyone’s motivation. Afterwards, I drove to the Shed and campused for ~90 minutes. Campusing went alright, certainty an improvement over last week, as my focus was on technique – no more swinging around like a slapper. There’s just no use in squirming your way up stuff, I feel. If I’m going to finish a boulder problem or a campus move, I want to know I arrived there because I pulled harder, not because I lunged more femininely. Anywayz, that’s what I thought about while campusing yesterday, and I feel better for it.
Me peeling off Desert Shield.
Micah getting all introspective on a high-ball in the Hall of Horrors Area.
Justin on Satanic Mechanic.
“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” – Chuck Palahniuk
Tyler Durden would crank at Joshua Tree. Don’t think it takes some kind of supreme discipline to put your mind in a place where climbing dangerous routes makes sense. Joshua Tree’s climb-or-die style can only be mastered by a total dumbass. Forget about everything – your health, the plants at home that need water, the cats and/or dogs that need to be fed, medical bills – and just climb. Be that amoeba, that single-celled, singularly focused creature put here to do one lame thing: to climb this rock in front of you. Maybe then this trip to California’s high desert will be therapeutic instead of traumatic.
There are consequences to falling at Joshua Tree, and the technique needed to scurry up her insecure slabs is no forté of mine. I fully expect my money’s worth for developing this skill. Clearly the park rangers never tire of scraping human sacrifices off the desert floor – they’ve permitted bolting yet banned electric drills. My final opinion on this rationale is yet unformed, but I will say: those who excel at this style of climbing are truly men. Unless they’re women. Now I’m confused about strong women and gay men and how they would fit in to that.
Friday had me traveling from my mom’s place in Washington to Joshua Tree for some winter radness. Climbing in the cold is rad. And cold it was – thirties and forties during the day. Sunny though, and little wind, so a well-insulated belayer can pull on crisp crystals and hopefully achieve some progress on otherwise greasy projects. Marcela was not projecting. She was cranking. “Yay, my first 5.10 trad lead”. Actually, it was a heady 5.10b onsight. The much touted Sidewinder (5.10b) got straight owned by one Brazilian crankmuffin late Saturday. So late in fact, that Justin and I had a mini epic getting down. Though I gotta say, jumping between pillars is less scary in the dark – at least then you can’t see how far down things are. Sunday, we got back to sport climbing business. The three of us pulled around on Desert Shield (5.13a). That’s a rad route. I would like to have made more progress on her, ideally gotten close to a redpoint, but she was having none of it. Those little crimps wore me down too fast and there’s barely any let up over her entire length. She’ll have to go in the project file for now.