Indian Cove, Joshua Tree

We wake up slowly in our tent, groggy from the late night drive. It’s good to be back at Indian Cove, though, for the first time since our wedding. We are in campsite #7 with Ann’s parents, right below Dark Shadows Rock, so after breakfast I wander up and rig a toprope on it. We play on Forgotten Variation (5.9+) and Nail ‘N Gravel (5.10d). Both have thin, fun lieback starts. Nail ‘N Gravel has a slab topout with three bolts that have been chopped. That part has a move that throws me once – one of those classic JTree tenuous steep friction moves. I wonder what prompted the demise of the bolts.


After lunch Ann’s parents have visitors who bring their three boys. I decide to lead a moderate climb they can play on. Swishbah (5.7) is the nearest candidate. Everybody watches, having fun commenting when I get symied at the crux – a steep, thin, tilted crack. I get a tiny #1 stopper in, then go up and down a few times trying to get something more substantial in, to the entertainment of all. I try not to take too much satisfaction when no one can follow that section. A cold wind at the belay helps me resist too much smugness. Ann manages to lower and clean it, declaring that my tiny stopper would have held a school bus. James, Mark, and Daniel all enjoy climbing and lowering, and even give me a bag of delectable oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in thanks (with encouragement from Mom & Dad).

6 responses to “Indian Cove, Joshua Tree”

  1. A couple nit picky comments… it was campsite number 6, not 7, and I said it would have held an ELEPHANT, not a school bus. Smug? Yeah you deserved to be smug. That section made me MAD and I’m gonna do it some day!!!! On the other hand I never teased or commented about you lacing that section up. Maybe somebody else did…

  2. Yeah, on one hand it seems to me like it should be good sport to tease someone having trouble on a supposedly easy lead. On the other, you don’t want them to hurt themselves. I just imagined you were all giving me grief down there, while I steadfastly insisted on getting more pro in…

  3. ashamed? i didn’t even want to do it!
    if it’s a 5.7 at Joshua Tree, you KNOW (at least you should by now) there’s gonna a section that is confounding.

    i’m curious, did the ‘confounding’ move involve some sort of “crack” move (jam, cam, lock.. etc)?
    seems that’s the case, at least in my experience. at some point on a JTree moderate crack, you actually have to “crack climb” to keep the grade at the posted grade.

  4. Sort of – the confounding part was really protecting it. There are a few moves on steep, possibly even gently overhanging face. The crack is too thin to use for holds, but I got a good 2-KN wire in. The holds don’t get any bigger right away tho, and I didn’t like the idea of a lead fall on that piece. I had to try a few things before getting the green alien in above it.

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