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Joshua Tree

Part One

Joshua Tree has held a fascination in my mind and soul since I began climbing at the age of sixteen.  It matches

perfectly with the ideal climbing destination I have in the imaginary world inside my head.  Imagine a climber’s playground: a landscape awash with golden monzonite granite, always dry and warm in the winter months when you are most dreary, bathed in blonde sunlight, blanketed in a deep azure sky and surrounded by fleecy white capped mountains. 


Joshua Tree panorama

foto by© Andrew Burgoon


Picture boulders and rock formations that appear as if the hand of the creator just haphazardly poured pebbles out of the bottom of a clasped hand into untidy little mounds and chaotic mazes.  Envision these boulders- from 3 to 100 meters high- cracked and fissured, patina’d, and polished down into holdless faces.  Now in your mind's eye see peppered among these rock constellations a plethora- a Pandora’s box if you will-  of sport, trad, and bouldering routes to fill a lifetime’s worth of climbing. 


Camp

photo by © Andrew Burgoon


I first visited Josh on a family vacation for just two days when I was about 17.  I had heard all the great stories about the climbing around Hidden Valley Campground from my friends and mentors at the local gym in my hometown in Pennsylvania.  Until this point I had only bouldered outside, but these routes struck me as so beautiful, I itched to climb them in there entirety.  You see, to me, Josh routes are like an extension of the aesthetic value in bouldering- the line is clear and beautiful.  Usually less than 20 meters in length, they pack a lot of climbing into every meter.  Indeed, Josh is a popular solo circuit where people have been known to climb up to 200 routes sans rope in a day.  That speaks as a testament to the density and beauty of the climbing in Josh that such feats are not only enticing, but also achievable.


Rusty wall 

photo by © Andrew Burgoon


My first return to Josh was not so fruitful.  I had dreamed big, but had not yet ripened for the experience.  I marched around the formations with fear and trepidation- a fear of heights and of falling on gear kept me from my dreams and frustrated my partner.  My trad experience was limited, but this trip did nothing but give me a closer look at the reality of my dreams.  It only whetted my appetite. 


Double Cross

photo by © Andrew Burgoon


Several years passed since my first visit, I learned the art of placing trad gear- gained more experience on rock in other such dream areas such as Yosemite, Tuolumne, Lovers Leap, Donner's Summit, etc.  I was spending my third year of university in Reno, NV during my winter break it came to pass that I again returned to that dreamscape which is Josh.  With my eye on some of the lines I had scoped with trepidation on the previous trip I returned with an ace up my sleeve- my good friend and inspiration Drew.  Drew is by far the best all around climber whom I know, and the confidence he has gained by climbing hard in all genres of the sport is infectious.  What’s more is that he is not beyond the realm of mere mortals, indeed he was the first person I saw firsthand really pushing it on trad gear and falling. 

On that trip I managed to break through some barriers and come more into being who I wanted to be in relation to the landscape around me.  I still could not fully break the laziness, the complacency that is giving into being comfortable rather than pushing your limits in such a beautiful place after several days there.  I had so many dreams there left unrealized…


Mikes Books 

photo by © Andrew Burgoon


When I graduated from University I had many choices, many dreams to follow which were mutually exclusive.  I had an overriding passion to live out my dreams on the cliffs and domes of Yosemite, Tuolumne, and Josh among other places.  But I had spent my time in these places already, and I felt it was time for something new.  I always wanted to live in another part of the world, to feel what it is like to be a citizen of the world, not just my own country. 

It was in the Czech Republic that this story begins to turn full circle.  It was here, climbing with my many friend I have made here that I learned the one facet of rock climbing I had always neglected- sport climbing.  On the craggy outcrops of Roviste overlooking the Vltava I was first inspired to climb such lines.  In the deep forests of the Frankenjura I honed my craft (Link to Art).  I learned a great deal about training and mental preparation from climbing at Ruznye with Standa after work, and was inspired by watching Jirka and Jana climb such hard and committing lines as The Dance Alone on the weekends. 

I learned to go all out on a rope, to commit to climbing until either my will or gravity wins out.  I re-learned the first and best piece of advice I had ever received about climbing: fall trying.  That’s not so wise an adage when learning to trad climb (perhaps ‘the leader should never fall’ is better fior this stage).  But I was past that point, and it was well time to return to my original mantra in order to achieve my potential.  With the fear of falling out of the way, I pushed further and pursued onsight climbing to keep the edge alive, to keep myself mentally alert. 

A handful of times I was privileged to get out to traditional Czech climbing areas, where I learned to combine the metal fortitude from my trad experience with sport climbing difficulty.  These routes make onsight climbing and down climbing essential.  I learned to commit to my skill and judgment, knowing that falling simply was not an option.  These experiences opened up a door in my mind- I was now ready to take on some of my dream climbs.  All I had to do was place myself in the position to do them.


Stem gem

photo by © Andrew Burgoon


In my rather large, empty, shared Prague flat I began dreaming of the areas I had dreamed of before I moved to the Czech.  On days that work was slow, which was more and more frequent, I began to formulate a plan.  With plans of graduate school in the near future, I new that my chances of catching these dreams narrowed by the day.  It was time for me to return to beginning. 


SNL 

photo by © Andrew Burgoon



Several months later, and 3000 miles of driving under my belt, I arrived at last.  Once again I had a trump card- I was meeting my ever more accomplished friend Drew in Josh once again.  In the days that followed my dreams began to take form, I ticked many of the coveted classics I was once scared of: now I was onsighting them.  I managed to climb a route, Wangerbanger (8), which had inspired me since I had seen a picture of it in the very first issue of Climbing I bought.  Second try.  My life goal of climbing 8+ trad by the age of 40 was now an emanate possibility at the age of 23 with a hopeful send of Leave It to Beaver, 12a, in the near future.


Left Ski Track 

photo by © Andrew Burgoon





Sunrise 

photo by © Andrew Burgoon




Stay tuned…







Joshua Tree



For a first-time visitor the desert may appear bleak and drab. Viewed from the road, the desert only hints at its vitality. Closer examination reveals a fascinating variety of plants and animals. A rich cultural history and surreal geologic features add to the attraction of this place.
Two deserts, two large ecosystems whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation, come together at Joshua Tree National Park. Below 3,000 feet, the Colorado Desert encompasses the eastern part of the park and features natural gardens of creosote bush, ocotillo, and cholla cactus. The higher, moister, and slightly cooler Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the Joshua tree. In addition to Joshua tree forests, the western part of the park also includes some of the most interesting geologic displays found in California’s deserts. Five fan palm oases also dot the park, indicating those few areas where water occurs naturally and wildlife abounds.

Getting There 



Car 
Joshua Tree National Park lies 140 miles east of Los Angeles. You can approach it from the west via Interstate 10 and Hwy 62 (Twentynine Palms Highway). The north entrances to the park are located at Joshua Tree Village and the city of Twentynine Palms. The south entrance at Cottonwood Spring, which lies 25 miles east of Indio, can be approached from the east or west, also via Interstate 10.




Detailed map of the area:
 Josh_Tree_Map - Joshua_Tree_Detailed_Map


Source:

From web concerning Joshua Tree Official Joshua Webpage

Andrew Burgoon   [edit] 21:24 01.02.2006Print 

Reklama:


Related stories:

Commentaries

     
...new commentsNew comment 

 Hej buddy22:18:05 01.02.2006
It's cool, I like the story.
JirkaSreply 

 very beautiful21:53:32 04.02.2006
I'm enjoying your story . I want to visit there. My dream :)
Mikireply 

 Hi Andy, more than story13:47:54 05.02.2006
It is more than a nice story, it is a personal confession, ecpecialy for me (when I am starring in it a little bit :). I feel to be in deep touche and am looking forward the series will be continuing and I hope that we will meet soon in another climbing ...
 Standareply 

 Nice19:54:07 06.02.2006
Hey buddy, nice story. Wish I could have gone. I like the pics.
Carlreply 

 200 routes a day10:28:05 12.02.2006
200 routes without rope in a day is outright climbing. I wanna do that.
Stefanreply 

 But...19:15:07 22.02.2006
That's all well and good, but you still got no game when it comes down to some serious cookie
The Masterreply 
 Re: But...22:24:59 07.04.2006
Did someone mention cookie? Andy tries to lose on purpose!!!
A. Riesreply 

 Nice article, Andy00:03:18 24.02.2006
It was kinda frustrating but if you're done being a pussy I'll gladly go again.  If I'm not intruding on you and dreamboat Drew...
third spokereply 

 jack london21:33:14 06.03.2006
Jack London would be proud, your narrative of climbing Joshua reads like a diary from the classics of American literature.  Word up....
david onreply 

 Nice Article13:03:27 20.03.2006
I like the article, Joshua Tree is a magical place!  Ever get out to Redrocks much? (outside Vegas).  I currently live in Prague, found this website from this rock gym I joined and said "Hey, this is a small world, that place is all too familiar"....right on
Stephenreply 
 Re: Nice Article19:56:14 20.03.2006
HI,

Actually I am in RR right now, and have been climbing here for a little bit. Be sure that there will be an article in the future. Where are you from?

Andy
Andrewreply 

 Hi Andy10:30:52 22.03.2006
Cool!!!
It’s awesome and inspiring. Thank's buddy.
J. T. Putnareply 

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