Lots of things are blooming at Joshua Tree NP now and it’s pretty amazing just to walk around there. Ann & I warmed up at Quail Springs on the Poubelle (Trashcan Rock) on Tip Toe (5.7) and a few of the easy cracks there. We watch a little girl climb Tip Toe after we put it up, going straight up the 1″ dike like a little ladder. Had to do it again properly after seeing that. Then I attempted a lead of Profundity (5.10c), a short but sweet slab route, and fell once at the crux.
We moved to the Saddle Rocks to try Right On (5.5) for some multipitch practice, but another couple was just starting it. Instead I decided to take a whack at The Landlord (5.10d), another slab route but longer this time (it has 11 bolts). The approach was gorgeous, if confusing and bouldery. I had to work the crux of that route for quite a while – but through no fault of my own. I had only brought along my big comfortable shoes for an easy multipitch, you see, which, when added with the hot, chossy rock conditions, raised the difficulty to probably 5.16 or more, so it’s really a small miracle that I made it up at all. (Much more likely than the possibility that I’m just a dog climbing out of my gym bag, right?).
After all that there wasn’t time anymore for Right On, but Ann wanted to try one more crack climb. I had fond memories of Sail Away (5.8 ) on the Hidden Tower, so we went in search of that. Again there was a couple on the climb, but almost done, so we waited. Still, it messed up our momentum, and Ann wound up climbing frustrated and pumped in the dark.
Sunday we hiked the Real Hidden Valley nature loop and did a 2 pitch 5.6 called Fote Hog. It has a little finger crack, some face climbing, a parallel crack stem, and a classic lieback. Ann didn’t like the face part, but had a great time on the rest of it. That left only the toughest move of the outing: leaving.