A few months back, my friend from b-school (Alex M.) emailed me and let me know that he had a camping site reserved at Joshua Tree for thanksgiving weekend. Although I rarely climb anymore, Joshua Tree still ranks as one of my favorite places in the universe. Love it.

Kim and I celebrated a very nice thanksgiving day with her family, and stayed up late talking and playing games. Although some of the family got up silly early (actually, never went to bed) to hit the black friday sales, Kim and I overslept and got a late start driving to Joshua Tree. With a few stops for provisions, we made it to Indian Cove early afternoon, and quickly suited up to climb. We ended up doing a route with 2 short pitches. Fun, but nothing to write home about. Still, it did feel good to be moving over rock. Back to camp, cook dinner, chat and settle in. We were joining Alex, Mara and Bryant, and enjoyed their company a lot.

Saturday we woke to some ominous looking clouds. Went to Crossroads for breakfast, then headed into the park. I started to try and lead F8, but realized I was way to weak, and downclimbed. Oh well. we all had fun trying it on toprope. We also ran into our old friends from the Costa Mesa Rockreation, Jeff and Sandy. (That’s the gym where Kim and I met!). Fun to catch up with them.

It was getting colder, and stormier, but we headed over to a second climb. Alex did a great job leading a 5.8, and dropped a toprope on a 10 (b/c?) next to it. We each took our turns on the 5.8, and Alex and Kim both styled the 5.10. I was cleaning the anchors when I felt the first drops of rain/frozen rain/snow. I sent Kim ahead to the car, and Alex and I packed the gear and enjoyed a stormy hike out. We saw multiple parties still on the rock, which looked unpleasant.

Once in the car, we headed over to Keyes View. Not much of a view, but it was fun to see the snow in the desert. Fun. We decided it was too cold and wet to cook and camp, so we headed to Edchada’s in 29 palms. We’re soft like that. After dinner we went back to camp, and enjoyed a campfire on a crisp, clear (by now) night. Gorgeous.

Sunday we woke to rain. Cold, wet rain. Packed camp and headed out. Fun weekend, even if short on actual climbing.

I didn’t take many photos, so some (the night ones) of these are from Bryant Burkhardt.  Check out his cool website at:

http://paddlecalifornia.blogspot.com/2009/11/paddling-in-desert.html