Rock Climbing, at Joshua Tree National Park, CA

By: Izabella

Joshua Tree National Monument is located in California.  It was established in 1936 by Franklin Roosevelt.  In 1994 it became a national park.  The park is around 800,000 acres.  The East side of the park is the Colorado desert.  The west side is the Mojave desert.  Each has its own special plants and animals. The Joshua Tree that the park is named after is actually in the Agave family.  For a long time people thought is was part of the Lily family.  The Joshua tree is found in the Mojave desert, in the Sonoran desert and also in  the San Bernadino Mountains.
The park is huge, we stayed in the center of the park where the big granite rock formations are.  Joshua Tree is a popular rock climbing location.  Climbers from all around the world come here every year.  The winter is the most popular, because it is almost perfect weather.  The large boulders look like they exploded out of the desert floor, and scattered for miles.  Some boulders are only ten feet or less, others are 100 feet or more. Some boulders are bigger then a jumbo jet. The granite is shaped by weathering. This creates the seams, cracks, crevices, caves and windows that I like climbing and bouldering on.

TRIP DATA
Dates: Nov. 3 – 7, 2010
Travel time from Tucson:  7 hours

Divas: Izabella and Sydney and 1 Toyota tot : Ella
Land Rovers: 1 disco
Diva dogs: Jäger
Animals seen, heard, or foot prints: Coyotes,Gopher snake, road runner
Meals: pasta, Bison burrito, beef stew, ravioli

Desserts: MEGA Marshmallows, Chocolate birthday cake for Joel
*****Important Info:  Dogs not allowed on hiking trails, and more then 100 feet from road***********

HIDDEN VALLEY CAMPGROUND

 

 

The campers before us had left behind their signs.  It looks like they had planned to use them as firewood.
The signs were “WOW”,”HUG ME”, and “PAMPERED CAMPERZ”!   Sydney, Ella and I put these signs around the campsite.
This is the view of our camp site with the big boulders behind it.  We loved scrambling around on  them every single day.

It  was a big playground made by nature.  The granite was super grippy and you could walk up steep areas with your bare feet.  We found a little cave on the backside of  a boulder.  I imagined using this a shelter in an emergency.

DAY 1  

Today we did a little climbing in the morning at ECHO ROCK.  There are some sport climbing routes there.  This is the type of climbing I know the best.  Sport climbing uses fixed anchors which are usually bolts placed into the rock.
The climbs were slab granite, and I had to use my feet alot, and balance.  When it got warmer outside, and the sun heated the rock, my shoes got slicker, and it made it hard to climb.

 

Climb:  Cherry Bomb,  Rating:  5.10c
Climb:  Stitcher Quits   Rating:  5.7

 

LATER ON IN THE DAY……… 

Here Sydney and I are goofing around, dancing, and playing on the boulders behind our campsite. .  It was alot of fun!!!! I love being in my bare feet, besides my toes were sore from climbing earlier in the day.

DAY 2

Friday morning we went bouldering.  Bouldering is alot like climbing, without the rope.  It is a good way to practice difficult climbing moves, without falling too far.  It is like climbing, but you have to get used to letting your body fall to the crash pad. Our little friend Ella, likes to call it a “Smash pad”.  It is only a few feet off the ground, but can be scary at times.  You should always use a spotter to help break your fall.

This is part of our J.Tree group (Me, Mommy, Sydney, Ella, Daddy,and Jäger).
Boulder Area:   THE ASTEROID BELT

 

This is me bouldering a hard corner  in the morning. This is where I had to let go and move fast and quick and catch the next hold.   The longer you hang, the quicker your arm muscles burn out.  The rock was so sharp, I lost some skin on my fingers, and they were red and puffy.

LATE IN THE AFTERNOON………………………………….more climbing!!!

CLIMB: THE FLUE, 5.8 trad climb,  where:  Hidden Valley, chimney rock.

This is Joel (Ella’s dad ) leading the trad route.  Trad climbing uses cams and nuts placed into cracks for protection.  It does not have fixed anchors like sport climbing.  It is different.  Most of Joshua Tree is Trad climbing.  I have started leading sport routes, but it will be a long time before I can lead trad routes.

cam

On this climb, I was second, I was tied in with a butterfly knot because I was in the middle. This climb had many different moves, thin cracks with finger jams, laybacks and sidepulls.  I had to stop at each cam or nut (protection used in trad climbing), and unclip and reclip to pass. I am learning different climbing skills and getting more comfortable with using them.

This is me climbing in the middle of the route. Again, clipping and unclipping. It  was alot of fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Someday  I will learn to lead trad.  Especially if I want to climb at Joshua Tree when I am older.

After the climb, my dad lowered me down the route.  I was way too tired to repel.

3RD Day 

Climbing area:   CYCLOPS ROCK, “The Eye”, 5.4,
Easy and lots of fun, I had to climb it twice.

 

This is an awesome route! It is around 110 feet tall, and ends in a room/cave with a window at the back you can walk through.  This route is a walk off, which means we had to scramble down some large boulders to the bottom.  The route has many hand and foot holds, which makes it a 5.4 rating, and not much chalk is needed.  It is also a popular climb, and you may have to wait your turn.

Can you see me?? Hopefully my Orange Helmet helps!        Here I have to “chimney” up to the belay where Joel is waiting for me.

 

SECOND TIME, Next Day

Today my dad led the route.

Finishing up the Chimney!!

This is how my dad was belaying us!

 

Here I am coiling the first rope.  We used two ropes since we had 5 climbers today!
This rope is 70 meters, and is still a little big for me. My dad and Joel put them on their backs when we scrambled down the back of Cyclops boulder.

This is the group that climbed today Daddy,Mommy, Laurie, Joel, and ME!!! (daddy is taking the picture)

Today, jager and I are both tuckered out!!!

THE END!!!!!

 

 

Monument Valley Backcountry By: Izabella, Grace & Sydney

This is the first blog post we have all written together.  So, each Diva is writing in a different color.  Grace is in Blue, Izabella is in Orange, and Sydney is in Pink. What we write together is in Green.
Trip Data
Date: Aug. 27-19, 2010 3days Friday,Saturday,and Sunday
Location: Monument Valley, AZ/UT
Divas: Grace, Sydney, and Izabella
Diva Dogs: Jäger
Vehicles: 2 Dormobiles, 1 LR3, 4 Discos, and 1 Range Rover
Weather: Windy, Just Right, Cloudy, Warm, 72 º F
Activities: Uno, 4wd, playing in the hogans, running with the horses, playing with the dogs, running on the sand dunes.
Meals: Marsh-mellows, Izabella and Sydney:  Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, Enchilada casserole.  All were in the dutch oven.  Grace:  Chili Mac, and Tacos
Animals Spotted/Animal Tracks:  Horses, Beetles, Lizards, Dogs

 

A Little History on The Navajo

 

The Navajo Nation is the biggest reservation in the United States.  It is 16,000,000 acres and mostly in Arizona.
The Navajo People call themselves “Dine” (Di-nay), which means “The People”.  The Navajo came to the southwest around 1400 AD.  They may have originally came across the land bridge that used to exist between Russia and Alaska, around 1200 BC.  When they reached the southwest the Anasazi  or Pueblo people taught them to farm corn and beans.  Spanish settlers later brought sheep (around the 1600’s).  They got wool from the sheep to make clothing, blankets and rugs.  They also used the meat from the lamb and mutton.  They used all the products from the sheep to trade for other goods.  Today they still harvest corn and beans, and raise sheep.  At the Cameron Trading Post you can see a woman making a very large rug on a loom.  We talked to the lady, she said it takes one year to make one large rug.



Our Wonderful Guides

 

 

These are our guides.  They were awesome!  We could not have asked for more. Valerie Dee grew up in Monument Valley and she arranged for us to stay at her family’s place in Monument Valley at the Hub.  Her Mom and Dad were our guides around the valley.

Day 1
The trip was at least 9 hours from Tucson, AZ to Monument Valley. As we were driving, the desert started to change.  It started by getting sandier, rockier(sandstone), then the color of our surroundings became a deep red rust color.  There was lots and lots of red sand on the ground.  There were a few trees and bushes scattered about, and finally we saw our first Monument it was sooooo pretty!!!!

From a distance the buttes and monuments looked purple but as we got closer they turned out to be red, orange, brown, and rust!  When we first got there we were still on the main loop when we stopped to get some awesome pictures of the divas at the 2 mittens!  Like always if Jäger is in a picture it is mighty adorable!

The Three Sisters – This is on the way to the campsite.
The Campsite was at the Hub.
We had two female hogans, one male hogan, and a sweatlodge and spectacular views on all side! 

When we first got to the campground we saw 3 Hogans 2 large ones and 1 medium and a tiny one!!!  We were all going to sleep in the largest one, the one in the middle, but we were all to tired, so we decided to sleep with our parents instead.

This is our group from the AZLRO

Hogans are made of wood, bark and mud.  The hogan has log wood walls and a dome ceiling.  They cover the wood with mud.  It makes the Hogan look round.  The hogans have dirt floors, and only one room.  The door to the Hogan face east, so they can get sun in the morning, and help them wake up.  There is a woman’s hogan and a man’s hogan.  The woman’s Hogan is bigger and more decorated then the man’s hogan.

Female Hogan


Male Hogan

 

Sweatlodge or Dog Hogan?

Here we are playing at the campsite!
Three Divas on the Dormobile at camp


Izabella and Sydney’s Pop-up camper at camp
Sydney and Grace went to bed earlier than I did so they did not get a chance to see the moon come out. I had to stay up late so that I could work on my moon journal, how cool is that?!!!  The moon looked as if it was going to be huge from the size of it’s glare, but it was just normal size.  We had marshmallows but no skewers so I took a fork and knife and put them together with a hair tie.  I broke off the two middle spikes,too.  The marshmallows were delicious!!!! Then I had finished up about 4-5 marshmallows.   It was time for bed!!!

 

 

A  Little Geology

 

Monument Valley used to be a 100 foot piece of sandstone.  Most of the sandstone has eroded away but some still stands, and is beautiful.
An arch is formed in four steps:
1. It starts as a sandstone block.
2. Then some of  the stone erodes away from rain.
3. The wind blows the rock.
4. The wind breaks the rock and you have a arch.
Monument Valley is great for this because there is a lot of wind.

 

Day 2 

In the morning we saw the free roaming horses. They were so close that they could hear us whistle. When we whistled they perked up their heads.

After we saw the horses, the rover divas went to the middle Hogan and played UNO for a little while. Then all of a sudden in the middle of our game my mom called me out to  see the horses, again. They were so close to our campsite.  I almost got to pet the foal, but didn’t since he  was too mouthy like Jäger. The mother was a dark brown with a black mane and tail; the father(stallion)was white with a white mane and tail.  His mane and tail were actually  orange because of the red dirt in monument valley. The foal was a red roan (a red/orange color)with a orange mane and tail. They were the perfect family!!!!! We finished up our UNO game quickly and then we set off with the group to go on a 4wd trip to see more of Monument Valley.

On day 2 we bought from inside the hogan.  Valerie’s Family sells to tourists they have made.


Hogan Repair Shop in the morning of Day 2


Then we drove around one of the buttes and saw a flowing river, approximately a foot deep, and muddy.  It was so muddy that our leader got stuck so we had to go a different way.



We drove some more to a rock with a large window called “Ear of the Wind”.

Ear of the Wind Arch

I tried to make a sand angel, but I just got dirty!!

Sand dunes are steep, but lots of fun to run down!

 

This is the Big Hogan!

 

Aren’t we cute!!
Day 3
Mystery Valley
Two Divas at the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park sign

 

We stopped at a ruin in Mystery Valley, and my dad and I climbed up the steep, steep rock hill.  On top was 3 pools of water.  The water was from rain and was very clean.  I touched the water and it was too cold to swim.  Maybe it could be used to take a bath in the summer.  We did not stay on top too long, it was way too windy.  I felt like I would blow away!

 

Anasazi Ruins in Mystery Valley
Checking out shards of pottery and we found some old corn cobs.
Bighorn Petroglyph
Divas in arch
This is in the arch and there are two circular rooms.  Probably for storage in the old’n days.  There was a bunch of packrat evidence.
Girls with Pictographs
Free roaming horses galloping through the canyon.  Awesome!!
On the way home we had fun playing Uno in the car.
Sydney cleaning up the red dirt!

 


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