Sunday, April 1, 2018

Feeling Young Climbing "The Old Woman" in Joshua Tree

It was a crisp December day and winter break had just started for me.  Christmas was just two days away and I was looking most forward to spending time with my family this year.  We planned no trips, so that we could be ready to do anything on a moment's notice.  So... when my sister suggested rock climbing in Joshua Tree the day after my brother's return from Mississippi, we were all up for it.

Alas, my brother's flight ended up arriving at 2:15 AM due to a delay and we were planning on leaving at 7:00 that day.  We didn't let that stop us, though.  Despite having only slept three or four hours each, we all dragged ourselves out the door and two hours down the highway bright and early.  We were probably all delirious from lack of sleep, but it was so worth it.  I thought that it was lots of fun clambering over boulders and watching the pros scale these huge cliff faces... until I put a helmet on my head and clipped into a harness.  I didn't think that I'd make it very far, but we were all surprised that I actually inched myself all the way up to the top of "The Old Woman."  It was a grueling slog up a long, vertical crack, involving fist and hand jamming and a LOT of deep breathing.  The official name of this route is called the Double Cross, and I can proudly say that I conquered it on my first outdoor climb ever!

Wes wasn't able to try climbing, but he avidly documented the day's events in these photos.  We stayed out until the sun set and really had a good time with my sister's friends, who were all like monkeys on these walls.  I am so grateful that she invited us along and so in awe of what climbers can do when they are released outdoors.  I am also grateful for the perspective that I gained from this climb--literally (it was a grand view from up there!) and figuratively.