Hot! Friends of Josh Say “Climb Smart”

Last year Josh and I wandered into Adventure 16, San Diego’s local sports store, and found out about Climb Smart – an annual climber’s gathering in Joshua Tree National Park. As Josh jokes the park is named for him, it was something we wanted to do, but the timing didn’t work out. This year, we had it on the calendar and made the trek in the X.

Conditions were near perfect. It was a warm Halloween weekend and the full moon lit up the sky for night exploring. While we had seen the smoke from San Diego’s fires hovering over Palm Springs, we were buffered from it at our campground on the north.

Climb Smart brings climbers of all skill levels together for clinics, presentations, costume parties, epic raffles and fundraising for Friends of Josh and Joshua Tree Search and Rescue. Josh’s goals for the weekend: win schwag, meet people, drink and climb. Mine: meet the pro athletes, win stuff, climb and drink. While Josh checked everything off his list, I accomplished only three out of four.

We met many new climbers at the campsites and at the festive costume party on Saturday night. Josh came as a flapper. I was a Black Diamond waitress. The athletes were just part of the group. Brittany Griffith and Mark Wilford from Patagonia gave interesting presentations, and then joined everyone at the bar. I unwittingly introduced myself to Chris Schulte thinking he was a Black Diamond sales rep. No, he climbs for them.

During the day we attended clinics from Wilderness Outings guides and took some time to boulder and climb the routes they set up. We were confined to the Indian Cove campground area, so we never got deep into the park. Unfortunately, the late night socializing and checking “drink” off our lists kept us from the trail improvement project on Sunday.

Getting schwag was the only thing out of my control. Josh started winning stuff the day we arrived walking out with an anchoring book the first night, a Patagonia fleece and chalk pot the second night, and a Mad Rock schwag bag the final day. Each time, every ticket around mine were called and I walked away empty handed. In the final moments, my number was up and I was handed a baby sized Nalgene. I passed it on to Josh.

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