I had heard about the lavish cottage and condo owned by Rick’s family in Palm Springs, CA but it is only in winter 2021 that I got to experience its comfort. After a rigorous fall season of masters and doctorate classes, research, work, and eager sprawls at Smith Rock during late afternoons, we decided to take a vacation at Palm Springs which included saturating our bodies with adrenaline and unintentional deprivation of sufficient vegan protein, with wine for fuel. The following is an ensemble of stories of all the pitches we did at JTree.
Day 5 Double Cross (5.7+), Route 499 (5.11b), Rubicon (5.10c), The Flake (5.8)
Day 6 Mike’s Book (5.6), Toe Jam (5.7), Orphan (5.9)
Day 7 Rest Day
Day 8 Lazy Day (5.7), Cactus flower (5.12), Nurn’s Romp (5.8), The Exorcist (5.10a)
Day 9 Dolphin (5.7), Bird of Fire (5.10a), Hobbit Roof (5.10b), Sail Away (5.8-)
Day 10 Catching a falling star (5.8), Coarse and Buggy (5.11a/b), Hobbit Roof (5.10b)
At the climbing shop “Nomad Adventures” we were warned to climb below our grade because grades are sandbagged, and climbing is mentally challenging. So we parked the car in the first climbing area i.e. Hemmingway Buttress as you enter from the Western Entrance and climbed the White Lightning. Slick and awkward at first 7 feet but it eases up above and it felt like a 5.7. Little did we know that the unprotected approach to crack with chopped bolts, finicky gear and heady sections are going to be our new normal at JTree.
I chose Leaping Learner as my first lead because it’s only a 5.6 in book and I had not read any mountain project (MP) comments. I realized that the Guide Book totally omitted talking about the first half of the pitch, which has marginal pro in three pods and a chance to deck if you screw up. The approach to the crack is the crux. MP discusses various options for the start and mentions the right approaches bumps up the grade to 5.8+. Ha! so much for a 5.6. Double Cross is definitely a better intro. Rick TRed the Grain Dance which shares the same anchor and loved it.
Rick TRed Route 499 which shares the same anchor as double cross and was humbled by the steep 5.11 slab moves. If the angle is 80 degrees and above but below 90 degrees, should we accept it as a slab?