On Wednesday, March 20th, ten St. Albans and National Cathedral School students and three instructors embarked on a 9-day rock climbing expedition to Joshua Tree National Park in southeastern California. At the convergence of the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, Joshua Tree is a climber’s paradise. Most of “JTree” or “Josh” to the locals, is made up of quartz monzonite, a very rough, granitic rock. While it takes its toll on hand and fingers, it also creates so much friction that just about anything will stick to it, especially climbing shoes!
Day one of the journey can be summed up as follows…bus, plane, vans, In N’ Out, grocery shop, back in the vans, gear pick-up, more van time, search for open campsites, search a little more for open campsites, find a nearly perfect spot at Jumbo Rocks, sleeping bags, and rest. It began at 1:00pm EDT and ended at roughly 2:00am PDT.
From then on it was a daily routine of waking up with the sun, sharing a gourmet breakfast, heading to the crag(s) of the day, climbing as much as possible with lunch on the rocks, another gourmet meal back at camp, some group downtime, early to bed, and repeat. As a group, we climbed at Split Rocks, Cap Rock, Belle Campground, the Atlantis Wall, Indian Cove, the Thin Wall, Locomotion Rock, and Echo Cove Rocks. In between all of this, we also managed a few other adventures; watching the moon set over Palm Springs and then the sun rise from Key View, a half day trip to the 49 Palms Oasis, a beautiful, sunset drive through the southern end of the park, and an impromptu stop at the Pacific Ocean on our journey back to the airport.
Reflecting back, the trip was absolutely fantastic. The weather was incredible, the climbing was great, the food outstanding, and minus a few patches of skin on our hands, the group had a blast!
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