All posts tagged: climbing

Reflecting on Death in the Mountains

Imagine the perfect day. Under bluebird skies, you’re scurrying across a knife-edge ridge. Jagged peaks sprawl out before you as far as the eye can see. The easy terrain allows you and your partner to move quickly. But then, a large block comes loose and you’re falling… if you were given the chance would you take it all back? Would you give up the summit for 60 more years of adventures? Or would one day of perfect climbing make it all worth it? Accidents are a part of life. They are inevitable, unpredictable, and are never easy to reconcile. The outdoor community has lost a number of incredible people to some terrible accidents over the decades. The stark truth of mortality shines bright in these moments and the age-old question of “is it worth it?” resurfaces. There’s no doubt that being in the mountains fills our lives with a sense of richness that is hard to find elsewhere. The integration of physical and mental challenges required while climbing teaches us how to be self-critical and mindful. We …

Pushing Through New Dimensions

“Regardless of our actual level of fitness, if we feel strong, agile, and adventurous, then we climb better than if we feel weak, clumsy, and meek. Climbing hard involves making moves that feel improbable, and continuing when the situation seems nearly hopeless.” – Arno Ilgner I jammed my hand into the crack, lifted my feet off the ground, and then jammed my feet into the crack. My muscles felt fatigued. As I climbed higher I placed two, three, four cams into the crack. Every move upward felt dense and heavy. Every move took effort. As I reached a small ledge, the top of the first pitch, I set up an anchor, pulled up the rope, and began belaying Andrea. The past week had been filled with some amazing climbing. In fact, the previous day, Andrea and I had an incredible time pushing hard – she redpointed her project and I onsighted my hardest route to date. But clearly all the challenging climbing was catching up to me and my endurance was wavering. It was the …

A Road Warrior’s Guide to Joshua Tree, CA

From the Dr. Seuss trees to the piles of rocks that scatter the landscape – Joshua Tree National Park is truly a unique and other worldly destination. For climbers, it’s the perfect escape when winter blankets most of the country. Here’s some beta to get you through a weekend, month, or season in JTree: Camping Campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park *Camping Limit: There is a 30 day camping limit each year. (Only 14 of these nights may take place from October – May.) Black Rock Campground Cost: $20/night Amenities: water, flush toilets, dump station, reservations available October – May Indian Cove Campground Cost: $20/night Amenities: water at the Indian Cove Ranger Station, pit toilets, reservations available October – May Group Sites: $35-50/night (depending on site capacity, reservations required) Hidden Valley Campground Cost: $15/night Amenities: pit toilets  Ryan Campground Cost: $15/night Amenities: pit toilets Sheep Pass Group Campground Cost: $35-50/night (depending on site capacity, reservations required) Amenities: pit toilets Jumbo Rocks Campground Cost: $15/night Amenities: pit toilets Belle Campground Cost: $15/night Amenities: pit toilets White Tank Campground Cost: $15/night Amenities: pit toilets Cottonwood Campground Cost: $20/night Amenities: flush toilets, water, dump station Group …

Goodbye Old Man Winter

Adam and I are celebrating – celebrating the beginning of February, which means that the worst of winter is behind us (hopefully). This winter in the van has been particularly challenging. From enduring the biting cold of 10 degree nights in Bishop, to a week straight of snow and rain in Red Rock, to a weekend of 50 mph winds and flooding in Joshua Tree, we just couldn’t seem to escape the frosty clutch of winter. Ice covered windshields and snow covered landscapes followed us from one desert to the next. Every day tasks -cooking, getting dressed, going to the bathroom – were a struggle. I wore the same pair of long johns under all my layers for over a week because it was solely too cold to even consider exposing my bare skin to the raw air. The constant cold numbed us. My motivation to climb dwindled. My motivation to run disappeared. I found no pleasure being outside. I simply wanted to feel warm again. And then, the other morning, Adam and I woke up to …

A Road Warrior’s Guide to Red Rock

About Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Fees/Park Passes Daily Car Fee: $7.00 Daily Motorcycle, Bicycle, Pedestrian Fee: $3.00 Scenic Drive Annual Pass: $30.00  American the Beautiful Pass (an inter-agency pass honored by the National Park Service, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management & Fish and Wildlife Service): $80.00 Scenic Drive Hours  The scenic drive loop is the main driving road that circles through Red Rock. It is a one way road, meaning, once you pass the Visitor’s Center you must drive the entire 13 mile loop to exit. In an effort to prevent vandalizing and other issues (as a result of its close proximity to Vegas) driving access closes each night. The road is open every day with times changing slightly according to the season. October: 6:00 AM – 7:00 PM  November – February: 6:00 AM – 5:00 PM March: 6:00 AM – 7:00 PM April – September: 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM Late Exit/Overnight Permits If you’re climbing a long route (or if there’s any chance at all you might not make it back to your car by closing time) you can request a late exit permit. They are free of charge and …