Thursday, 16 April 2009

Good news and bad news 16/4/09

The bad news is that we are sitting at San Francisco airport with a five hour wait having been diverted here from Los Angeles where we were expecting to fly home.

The good news is we are in the first class lounge and have first class tickets home plus … $600 each for another flight. We are soooooooo excited because instead of flying home apart we are coming home in luxury.J There was a call while we were waiting for the LA flight asking for people to change flights as the one we were on was overbooked. As we had been told that we would be in economy and NOT sitting together we were at the desk volunteering before the announcement was completed and we only get back to Manchester 5 hours later than we would have anyway. What an adventure! Our seats are 1A and 1J!

Sharon in her first class seat drinking champagne

Last day in California 15/4/09

Last night was a windy one in Joshua Tree National Park and although our last morning was sunny the wind was cold and strong. We were packed and away by 7am and the next campers for Camp 39 were ready to move in as we drove away! Breakfast at Starbucks in Yucca Valley then off to Los Angeles via the Wal-Mart Superstore to purchase American presents for people back at home.

We stayed at Marina Del Rey near Venice Beach. We walked along the beach in really strong winds and celebrated a fantastic holiday with Margueritas. Home tomorrow L

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Pinnacles and faces

Our last day climbing on this trip saw us heading out to Lost Horse Area. A 'must do' according to the guidebook is the solo ascent of the Aiguille of Joshua Tree.

Sharon was first and go to within 6 foot of the top. The drop on the other side is at least 50 foot!

Then Dick had a go

On pitch 3 of a 4 pitch route on Lost Horse Face

The 5.8 crack pitch.

Monday, 13 April 2009

This is what happens if you leave your car in the desert for too long

Walking out into Wonderland of Rocks we found a hire car that had been left there for a while!

Sharon at the top of Laughter Dome after completing a route. The jumble of rocks in the distance is Wonderland of Rocks.

Abseiling off Intersection Rock at the end of the last route as the sun sets

The iconic Joshua Tree at sunset. What a beautiful place J Tree is!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Hall of Horrors and Baskerville Cracks

A good days climbing was had today starting with Lickety Split 5.7 and Diamond Dogs 5.10a at Hall of Horrors. The latter was a bit run out with a boulder problem start as seen in the video below.

After a leisurely lunch we set of to Hound Dome via Afpa Dome where we climbed the first day. After scrambling to the top we asked a guy belaying there if he had seen a camming device? He answered he had found 2! I had left them there three days ago and luckily they were still there!!

Sharon taking it easy at camp 39

Hound Dome - Baskerville Left Crack 5.10a - the guidebook describes it as 'THE BEST route on the crag' (their bold letters). Well with a recommendation like that it had to be done - hard climbing.

Dick on the upper crack of Baskerville.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Pancakes and slabs

In Hidden Valley campsite 39 the day starts, every day starts, with the American breakfast of pancakes, maple syrup and coffee. This sets you up just right for another day of slab and crack climbing.

At the top of Nomad Dome in an area called Wonderland of Rocks. We had just completed a route that required 60m ropes ... ours are 50m!

A typical JT slab route

Cloud building to the north of JT that led to a spectacular thunderstorm in the distance

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Altitude training

Sharon is doing a triathlon on July 12th 2009 at Chester called the Deva Divas (ladies only). She is taking it very seriously and is training in all 3 disciplines, swimming (in a pool at present but in a lake when it gets warmer) cycling and running. She will be looking for sponsors soon as she is doing it to raise money for breakthrough breast cancer research. So, were better to continue the training than by running at 4430' in the desert?

Of course, we have also been climbing

and enjoying the fantastic weather and views.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

We are here again (Joshua Tree visit #6) 8/4/09

After a gap of 17 months we have returned to the magical place called J0shua Tree. It is just the same as the last time we were here (November 2007) save for a cold wind, but still blue skies and sun.

After camping at Ryan campground for the first night as Hidden Valley was full. Campsites in the national park are taken on a first come basis and we found a spot in Hidden Valley at 9am on the next day. We set up camp and the hammock that Ben gave us for Christmas in Australia.

By the way the date is 8th April ... Happy 22nd Birthday Matt!