Last week I was in Joshua Tree. I never expected to end up there, but I’m glad I did. During that trip I was good and humbled, and made first attempts to separate vacation climbing from climbing to see progress.
Before this trip, I had never climbed on granite. Talk about friction. The first climb I did was a 5.7 hand crack. It was a lot of crappy hand jams and trusting non-existent feet, leaving me a bit timid. Next I hopped on the hardest 5.6 of my life, and then moved on to get shut down by a 5.8. I cried.
Talk about embarrassing!
Talk about humbling.
My partner didn’t understand why I was so upset about failing on one route. After all, this route was a difficult one, and we were there to have fun. Typically I am a very goal-oriented person, but this week goals would need to be set aside. Granite was new, and to be honest, I don’t really know how to climb cracks either. This was a trip to enjoy learning.
By the end of day one, my fingertips felt raw. I had learned that a little friction goes a long way. My partner and I went for a walk around the Hidden Valley Loop to finish out our day. We learned a bit about the local foliage and tested the friction between our sneakers and the rough surface of the granite boulders. I found myself jumping between rocks that I would normally never trust myself with, but my feet always stuck well enough.
The sun set early but we were plenty tired, as we would be by the end of each day.