Desert Deluge

Joshua Tree is, of course, wonderful as always. Jeanna and I have been here for a few days, all of which have been gorgeous. Today, however, the rain came as promised by satellite imagery and forecaster discussions from the National Weather Service. Rain is always beautiful here, however, and we were still able to get out and look around. We hiked out to Equinox which was shrouded in mist until we were almost right beneath it, but a sun break parted the clouds long enough for Jeanna to get a glimpse of the stunning climb. I've done it once in the past, but I think we'll most likely be making another sojourn out there for her to try it. I almost managed to get our quaint little Kia Rio stuck in loose, wet sand on the Geology Tour Road, but not quite; the thing has some spunk after all!

The climbing has also been excellent. My goal this trip is to do (at least) one new pitch every day; so far, so good. A few favorites have been: Hidden Arch in Real Hidden Valley. Wow! The thing taught me how to rock climb again; a 5.11- slab thing on the Wart Wall (Compound W? Preparation H?); Electric Blue, a cool face climb on the Little Hunk behind Echo Rock; Trespassers Will Be Violated, a 5.10 on which I almost lost my lunch and my cool. Of the latter, the guidebook states: "Formerly a scary climb with 3 bolts, now bolts on Gun Shy can be clipped, reducing the fear factor a little". The verdict: Now a scary climb with 3 1/2 bolts, since one extra bolt can be clipped and since an old, misdrilled, rusty button head original to the route doesn't fully count! A perfect reintroduction to frightening slab climbing and a lot of fun to boot.

Well, that's about it for now. Hopefully some of our meagre photographical efforts will pay off and I'll be able to post some goodies. For now, adieu.


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