Joshua Tree … another legendary US climbing area with its own specific culture where I had dreamed of going climbing for years.
As always in the desert, the landscapes are exceptional and fascinating. Climbing in such scenery is totally exotic and an unforgettable experience.
Before going, several boulderer friends told me they had been impressed by the cracks in Joshua Tree and that it made them want to get into crack climbing. Hearing such comments from those climbers absolutely not into trad/crack climbing impressed me and raised my expectations. I was not disappointed. There’s such a quantity and variety of crack routes, each nicer and more fun to climb than the other that you don’t know which way to turn.
On the contrary, if I never go bouldering outside,I was impressed by the quantity, diversity and quality of boulders and problems. Late afternoon after crack climbing, when the wind makes route climbing painful, at night when conditions are good or all day without a reason it was a real pleasure to measure myself to them. And there is so much variety ; long traverse, physical overhangs, technical slabs or stemming problems, even cracks and offwidth! There’s always something different to do and no way to get bored.
And then there are the exposed routes, run-out slabs, the high balls… all the bold climbs that make Joshua Tree‘s climbing culture. Eventhough I don’t agree with some of the bolting as it is not my culture, that was very interesting to step-by-step play along, challenge myself and experience the local climbing culture.
Climbing in Joshua Tree, in such a scenery was an amazing and humbling experience as not only routes and boulders can be bold, on top of that the grades are no joke! I have never been so happy and proud to climb 5.9 routes than in Joshua Tree. There are also no much to climb! In two weeks it doesn’t even feel like we have scratched the surface of what’s all out there. We were just starting to get used to the climbing that it was already time to leave. This is one of the climbing area in North America where I’ll go back at the first opportunity.