Castle Rock, Joshua Tree

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Anabel meets us at the Crossroads Cafe, where breakfast is always good, and we return to camp for some climbing. It’s still a little cold so I look on the south side of the rock for sunny routes. There’s a new bolted line going up a finger on the left that looks OK, so I try it. It’s chossy with hollow spots. Anabel gets to see how most climbing time is spent as I futz with building an anchor. When I finish the rope snags as I lower, and at Ann’s behest I give up on toproping the thing and move the anchor to an area I know is good on the north side.

We play on Diagnostics, a great 5.6 crack with a challenging start, and the face to its right. Anabel zips right up her first climb on big face holds, topping out with a big grin. She follows with a harder face climb, and a good attempt at the start of Diagnostics. An hour earlier she thought we would actually be climbing the rope, and when she watched someone on another route exclaimed, “Oh! You actually use your hands on the rock!” Fun to see someone step outside their familiar world like that.

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