Cyclops & Rock Garden, Joshua Tree

In the morning we took Dana to The Eye (1), thinking it would be a great beginner’s route. It turned out to be a sandbag, I thought, and she didn’t make it up. We promised to take her to a climb she can do someday.


In the afternoon we went out with Matt and Sophie, a couple from Sheffield, England. In the Rock Garden valley we found shade and a variety of entertaining routes. I made my first ever true onsight lead, a new bolted route that wasn’t in the book. I was impressed by how different the climbing was not knowing the rating. I started up slabby knobs to a pair of seams that ran over a bulge. Every move was mysterious, I had no idea whether after the next bolt I would hit terrain far beyond my ability. In the end I think it was probably only 5.8 by Joshua Tree standards, but a very memorable 5.8. Matt led it also, then we TR’d two of the nearby cracks: Bolivian Freeze Job (9) and Barn Door Right (10a). Good liebacking (laybacking?) on both. The climbing was fun, but I felt sorry that I couldn’t get Matt & Sophie on a more classic JTree route. We shared dinner and beers afterward, and decided to remedy the situation by climbing Double Cross (7+) in the morning.

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