Hemingway Buttress, Joshua Tree

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For me, returning to Joshua Tree on the labor day weekend brought back echoes of my trip with Ted a year ago. That trip felt like my coming-of-age as a climber, with my first onsight 5.10 slab lead, and schooling on some of JT’s classic cracks. This year I came feeling stronger but less ambitious, returning with my wife to the site of our marriage a month ago. I didn’t shoot for the high numbers this time, but settled some scores that left me very satisfied. First on my list was White Lightning (7+), a crack that harrowed me mercilessly last year. This time I started it with determination, still got nervous and over-protected it a bit, but made my redpoint. As a reward I TR’ed Poodles Are People Too (10b) next to it, which spit me off a couple of times but was an absolute blast with all sorts of tricky, balancy moves, fingerlocks, even a little roof. Ann made it up to the crux, and continually amazes me with her innovative footwork. Our friend Dana also tried White Lightning as her first ever climb, and chimneyed her way right up to the crux! It was great to watch.

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