Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Joshua Tree II - 1/16/10

So we liked Joshua Tree so much over New Years that we decided to go back for MLK weekend!

It was a super trip. We did a little more scrambling than might have been hoped for, but it was good class IV practice, and we got to explore and mental map some new areas of the park.

Thomas did his first trad lead (on a 5.4 - super easy), and Patrick did a burly hand-over-hand climb up the full length of our rope after we misjudged the length of a route and didn't quite (by 30 ft.) reach the deck with our line (it was safe, Mom, 'cause he had a metal contraption on his harness that would have kept him from falling even if he'd let go or something)!

We also both did our first night rappel which felt totally ninja.

Here's Patrick at base camp on the BLM land on Friday night:

Screamer (the van's name) and tent the next morning:

Here's a section of Lake Elsimere in Wonderland of Rocks. It's hard to get a sense of how big the rocks are...

Until you see someone standing on them! Say hello to a tiny Patrick:

View from somewhere in Wonderland of Rocks. Muchose Joshua Trees. The white-capped peak in the background is San Gorgonio:

Patrick during the scramble up:

Top of Lake Elsimere area:

We decided we weren't really feeling Hidden Tower when we finally got there (it was shaded, windy, and cold) so we headed over to Outward Bound Wall instead and set up an anchor on this little finger crack. Here's Patrick rappelling off:

The crack. It looks innocent enough, but due to the small size of the crack was like 6 minutes of crushing, shallow toe jams, and knuckle-scraping, forearm-burning finger jams. There was a horn about 3/4 of the way up the provided the only salvation:

"Bring it on finger crack!"

Thomas after ascent #2. I think the crack won that round:

Beautiful sunset taken on the walk back:

Zoom in on San Grogonio:

Patrick during the hike back from Outward Bound wall:

The biggest Joshua Tree we saw:

Campfire + dudes = must make torch:

Torch art:

We're not really sure why our tent has this little hatch. Kitty door?

After waaaay too much scrambling and fighting through thorny bushes (through Dodge City Canyon...we went the wrong way) we emerged into the gentle wash of Rattlesnake Canyon:

The 50 yards of gravel trail we got to walk on were a welcome relief...then we had to turn left and start boulder hopping again:

Thomas mid-scramble. This was during the approach to a 5.8 route that looked cool called 200 Motels on Rattlesnake Buttress:

My water bottle fell out of my pack and bounced down into a little natural cistern in the rock. I was upset and responded with a vulgar hand gesture (I showed that rock!). After much grunting and poking with sticks I got the bottle back.

I was a little tired after we got down from the buttress:

Here I am, two hours later...in the same spot.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christmas 2009

Christmas 2009 was a great one. Everyone was home. No one got in any fights. And we never saw Mookie once.

Human obelisk!

Mom...I can't remember what she was doing. We'll say fixing breakfast:

Jack kind of looks like he's in the middle of a "What's the deal with..." joke.

In this photo we learn how to exude Christmas spirit:

"What the hell is it?" "You chop stuff with it...c'mon!" [Turned out to be a great chopper actually]:

Blue brothers hat: check. Upside-down camera: check.

Dad posing with the fly swatter;

Dad REALLY posing with the flyswatter:

Oh no! Future ninja!


Here's a candidate for the No Fly list:

A Christmas miracle! An angel in the tomato:

The *official* Meaney family photo of 2009!

Joshua Tree

Patrick and I went to Joshua Tree for New Years weekend and had a blast. We did two solid days of climbing, hitting the park at 9am, and climbing until we had to use headlamps to take down our anchor. Unfortunately, my camera died fairly early on, but I thought I'd put up the few pictures I do have, that show us at camp in a dried lake bed managed by the BLM.

I took a couple long exposure (6 - 8 s.) shots that turned out pretty cool. Our shadows are really sharp because of the full moon.

Here's the first one, taken facing NNW:

This one's a longer exposure, taken facing SW with a campfire and the town of Joshua Tree in the background. The white peak behind Patrick's head is San Jacinto.

You can see the texture of the lake bed a little bit here (and the van's chipped paint):

Same view of JT, but without Patrick and me:

Patrick tries to get comfortable:

Same shot, but totally reminiscent of one of my favorite Anselm Kiefer paintings:

The painting:

It kept getting colder, and we kept putting on more clothes:

"Sweet New Years party!"

Base camp:

Thomas tries not to freeze his lips off, enjoying a new years toast: