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.

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***********




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



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.


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).


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.


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.



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!!!!!



Rover Diva Grace Goes Rock Climbing for the First Time by Grace


Izabella, Sydney, and I went

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rock climbing the first weekend in August. At Mt. Lemon, Windy point, near Tucson. Izabella and Sydney have been climbing for a couple of years. Izabella is amazing. She is so good. Their parents have been climbing for a long time.



Here I am getting into gear. I had to wear a harness, helmet, chock bag and special shoes. Linda, Sydney and Izabella’s, mom taught me how to put the rope on the harness.


Rock climbing is tough, but it is fun!


I have climbed a rock wall 20ft. before, but then I only climbed halfway. This time I climbed a 70ft. piece of rock. That’s taller than the five story building my Dad works in!
Izabella and I look tiny on the top of the rock. It was so cool to be on top of a hug rock.
Their was a little cove where we played Indians in it. It was a great day!!!
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