My Cardboard Box

It’s Rock Climbing Season

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It’s that time of year .  The Rock-Climbers are back.

There are lots of places in The Park to climb: 400 climbing formations and 8,000 climbing routes.  Many more have been closed off due to environmental factors.  There’s tethered climbing, freestyle,  bouldering, and slacklining.   Two miles from my house are the training grounds for international free-climbing competitions. The locals drive up on the weekends to watch the climbers. Cheap entertainment. Occasionally there’s a gasp as a climber, one hand holding grasping a projection about a hundred feet from the ground, reaches back for her towel.

There’s maybe six to eight weeks to the season (warm days, cool nights) and it’s made the most of.  Some thirty-plus years ago (when I had four fully-functioning limbs and no sense of mortality.), I got talked into learning to climb here and spent a few weekends up here when the ship was in San Diego or Long Beach. There were only a handful of visitors back then and Joshua Tree was a handful of buildings.  Now, hundreds come every weekend to climb.  Joshua Tree has graduated to ‘a wider spot in the road’.  And the rock-climbers stop in and spend, coming and going to The Park.

There were about a dozen of them, all out-goers,  at the Laundromat at the Center of the Universe. The license plates were from Michigan, Kentucky, South Carolina,  Oregon, Arizona.  They entered in dribs and drabs,  greeting each other and gathering in one area, apart from the locals.  All of them in their early twenties, fit, glowing with health,  and all looking and smelling in a we’ve-not-showered-for-a-week way. Not horrible, just a very primal odor.  In fact, they smelled better than some of the locals.  One young woman, with the legs, arms and shoulders of an expert free-hand climber,  dumped her clothes in a machine, announced she was “going for a quick run” and loped off.  If you could bottle that energy…

Judging by the bits of quiet conversation, these were the expert climbers. No business for the hospital and the rescue teams with this tribe. The crews have been busy, with a least two fatalities this month,  plus a lot of injuries. It seems the casualties these days are from the Los Angeles area, or Germany, or visitors during the music festival.

The others are the peyote-heads, but that seems to happen during Spring Break.


Written by PappyBro

October 14, 2012 at 14:05

Posted in Musings, The Mojave

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