First up on the trip, we headed south from Salt Lake City via Red Rocks to try a beautiful looking crack line called The Red Roof, 5.13. I’d heard that it was one of those cracks that actually climbs like a face climb, but nevertheless, it seemed such a pure line, that it would be worthwhile. Funnily enough, it turned out to be a fairly unpleasant bit of climbing – and I don’t like to say this normally – which after a bit of exploration, Mary and I decided wasn’t worth sticking with. I felt like I was being a bit negative at the time, but then I remembered that this trip was all about classics, so we said “who cares, let’s move on and go for 100% enjoyment!”
Another long drive later, we’d hit the jackpot. The weather showed Joshua Tree over in California to be perfect weather and arriving in the park confronted by blue skies, funky cacti and weird shaped granite domes we knew we’d made a good choice. Each day we drifted from one amazing route to another, joined by various climbers from around the campsite at different stages of the day. One evening, we’d become so psyched with the quality of routes, that darkness had simply resulted in us putting headtorches on and we’d continued on into the night! Quite fittingly, the route we topped out at about 9pm was “The Heart of Darkness.”
On another day, we drove into desert to climb Equinox, which is a perfect splitter finger crack that eats protection and also spits out a bit of skin loss! The climbing was so incredible though, and having the spare margin of performance in my physical capacity meant I could enjoy every step of the way. It definitely reminded me that only climbing at your limit can blur the lines of what true enjoyment you’re getting out of the moment – it’s as if that’s deferred to the post-success reflection. As we walked out from the crag, we were left with half an hour of insane sunset scenes, which resulted in us getting deck chairs out, putting some Lana del Ray on and drinking a nice brew. Perfection!