Download!Download Point responsive WP Theme for FREE!

The Cliffs Community Takes Joshua Tree


Guest post written by Cliffs member Thomas Theofilatos

All photos courtesy of Thomas + The Joshua Tree group

All photos courtesy of Thomas + The Joshua Tree group

In early May, seven climbers from The Cliffs boarded an airplane at JFK to escape the gray skies and cold rain that kept us indoors for weeks in early spring. Our destination was the climber’s Promised Land of Southern California where the warm sun would receive us to lighten our spirits. At LAX, we met Cliffs’ Director of Climbing, TJ Ciotti, who captained our minivan through the boundless 8 lane highways of suburban Los Angeles and into the Mohave Desert. In a few hours we would arrive at dusk at the Indian Cove campground of Joshua Tree National Park, our home for the next 3 days. Here, we would climb these seemingly extraterrestrial rock formations by day and sleep under a wondrous, star speckled sky by night. In awe of the peculiar landscape, we jumped out of the van, dumped our packs on the dusty ground and scrambled up the quartz monzonite boulders that inspired us to make this journey. Our arrival in this peaceful, desolate place was a welcome respite from the hysteria of New York City.

IMG_0550.jpg

IMG_0396.jpg

The scenery in Joshua Tree is too alien to be likened to any wilderness any of us had seen before. We agreed that it looked like a live action film set for the Flintstones. The legendary rock formations seemed like they were forged from giant globs of molten wax that cooled to form the oddest of shapes. Animals, faces and figures appeared to form from the stone and a melting clock or two would render this a dreamscape from the mind of Dali. But these rocks weren’t meant to be painted—they were meant to be climbed!

And climb them we did, starting with a wall near Indian Cove a short hike through the desert from our camp. The Indian Cove area was less than vertical slab climbing where the relatively featureless rock offered an interesting introduction the concepts of trusting friction and honing balance. The splitters were vertical and any imperfections in the rock that presented opportunities to ascend were composed of millions of minuscule razor blades that cut deep into our fingers as we pressed harder for purchase. After completing a challenging 5.10c entitled Ceremony T, a climber was asked for beta on the route. “You literally just have to follow the trail of my blood to the top,” was his forthright response.  

IMG_0628.jpg

IMG_0611.jpg

The following days presented unique challenges and the completion of each new route offered a fulfilling achievement for each climber. We all embraced these challenges and ascended the desert walls at inspired levels that many of us did not know we were capable of. We all struggled and sometimes failed but more often the feeling of camaraderie that bound the group helped us overcome any doubts we had about our ability to reach the top. My hands blistered and bleeding, my joints tender from 3 days of relentless work, I recall feeling uneasy as I approached the crux of my final climb, Men With Cow’s Heads. “You got this Tom!” was all I needed to hear from my companions below. With furrowed brow, I looked up towards the precipice, let out an exasperated howl and executed a sequence of moves that saw me send the route.

IMG_0403.jpg

 Usually when I travel to a new and unusual place, the people I meet become distant fond memories that I am never able to revisit. It was heartening to know that, at the end of this expedition, I was going home with this same group and that this desert experience was just the beginning of our climbing adventures together. In a sly nod to the great climbing groups of Yosemite lore and the reptiles that slithered through the rocks that we rested on between climbs, we dubbed our team the “Stone Lizards.”

On behalf of the group, I’d like to express our heartfelt appreciation to TJ and The Cliffs for organizing this memorable trip and to our new friends from Golden State Climbing for showing us the treasure that is Joshua Tree National Park.

IMG_0411.jpg

IMG_0466.jpg

IMG_0469.jpg

IMG_0479.jpg

hand.jpg

IMG_0008.jpg

IMG_0015.jpg

IMG_0021.jpg

IMG_0042.jpg

IMG_0054.jpg

IMG_0103.jpg

IMG_0145.jpg

IMG_0156.jpg

IMG_0183.jpg

IMG_0189.jpg

IMG_0351.jpg

IMG_0361.jpg

IMG_0408.jpg

greg.jpg

crack.jpg

IMG_0488.jpg

IMG_0498.jpg

IMG_0502.jpg

IMG_0512.jpg

IMG_0522.jpg

IMG_0526.jpg

IMG_0530.jpg

IMG_0559.jpg

IMG_0592.jpg

IMG_0599.jpg

IMG_0617.jpg

IMG_0641.jpg

IMG_0643.jpg

IMG_0810.jpg

IMG_9912.jpg

IMG_9919.jpg

IMG_9935.jpg

IMG_9954.jpg

IMG_9991.jpg

sign.jpg

marisa2.jpg

tom.jpg






Source link

Free Mini-Course and Weekly Updates!

Signup now and receive our Rock Climbing Mini-Course and weekly updates when we publish new content.

I agree to have my personal information transfered to AWeber ( more information )

I will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Originally posted 2019-09-26 11:37:12.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *