Intersection Rock BBQ 2009

23 11 2009

After spending most of last fall projecting Equinox in J-Tree Lizzy and I have not been back in a while  and have mainly climbed in other places. However when a bunch of climbers are going to party in the desert it is hard to say no.

Back in October was the 4th annual Intersection Rock BBQ. A few of my friends, Jamie, Hartley, Whitney and Jake, came down from Santa Barbara and met up with the already large San Diego crew.

Getting all dressed up for the BBQ!

Shay is king of the party with his Roller Skates.

People are still heading up as night falls on Hidden Valley

The weekend plan was to do a bit of climbing, but most importantly have a raging BBQ on top of Intersection Rock. The logistics for this is pretty impressive and I hand it to the guys at Pullharder for pulling it off yet again.  Hartley brought some amazing steak and I grilled a ton of burgers and sausages. There were haulbags full of beer and ice and costumes a plenty. The party was a success and everyone got down safely!

Jamie on his way way up Left Ski Track

In what seems to be a tradition from the year before I followed Left Ski Track so Jamie could get the onsight of his first 5.11 at Joshua Tree. This was an impressive send since he had to downclimb the first crux to retrieve an essential piece of gear. I still think Left Ski Track is pretty hard for the grade and it felt cruxy even though I’ve lead it clean and followed it before.

Luke starts up Hidden Arch.  Photo thanks to Scotty

Jamie with a casual TR flash of Hidden Arch!

Earlier in the day I worked on and sent Hidden Arch a cool mixed climb that has some tough face moves a noticeable distance above two small but bomber nuts. True to it’s name  the crack arches to the left and a fall from the crux could have you hitting a large chock stone. Konstantin, a friend who worked the route, had brought out a pad to cover this block on some of his attempts. I had a spotter to keep me off the block but still couldn’t figure out the moves my first try on lead.  After the failed onsight I lowered from my gear and walked around to set a TR.  I tried the crux moves a few times with the comfort of the top rope and then I went for the lead again even though I had never linking all of the crux moves. On my second lead attempt I committed to the cryptic moves, crimped, stemmed and pressed my way to the finish. Having not done the last 50 feet yet, I slowly worked to the anchor, making sure not to blow the send.

Whitney, our weekend photographer.

Hartley enjoying a bit of the shade by Satanic Mechanic.

The next day I was pretty spent mentally from Hidden Arch so Jamie and I decided on some sport climbing. Despite being a mainly trad area there are a few high quality vertical to overhanging sport routes in Joshua Tree. I had heard things about climbs such as Bebop Tango, Father Figure, Desert Shield and Satanic Mechanic but had never tried them. On our first morning we had warmed up on the classic Loose Lady but despite all the bolts I think of it as a sporty slab and not a true sport climb. Our plan was to warm up a bit and hopefully do Satanic and if we felt good work on to Desert Shield.

Jamie gets ready for some intense belay action…

Luke goes big on Satanic Mechanic.

I got about half way up Satanic before I was confronted with the first crux, a long reach in the photo above. I  just barely latched the hold unable to figure out another sequence. Later on Hartley found some beta using a higher right hold that made this reach more manageable. A few moves later I was at another crux and after many takes and falls couldn’t figure it out. Jamie booted up and tried his hand at the moves but was foiled as well. Up went the stick clip and Jamie made his way to the top working out a few more difficult sequences on the way. Hartley made fast work of the various cruxes using cool beta that Jamie and I hadn’t seen. A few falls later he was at the top, nice work dude! I wanted to try the line on TR and made good progress but couldn’t do the last crux before the final bolt. A combination of heat and bad skin meant that I would have to return on another trip.

Jamie makes good progress on Stem Gem

Before moving on to some more roped climbing Hartley insisted that we try Stem Gem. Hart had mastered this problem a few years before but Jamie and I had yet to send this crazy smearing test piece. Whitney had a great fish eye lens and you can see dramatic appearance it added to the photo above of the crazy shape of the starting scoop. For the first time I figured out how to get on the wall and Jamie, after a few close attempts made it to the top!

Ho Man, this route is fun!

We finally left the Real Hidden Valley and made our way to Barker Dam to catch some shade at Dissolution Rock .  Hartley lead the splitter Life’s A Bitch And Then You Marry One which was very fun for 5.7 though a bit on the short side. I lead Martial Sin which was a bit more exciting than I expected. While the moves were not too hard I thought there would be  more crack climbing than thin edging and had to commit to tricky moves well above gear. It was a good experience and I pulled it off.  We exchanged top ropes, which Jamie, In the photo above, clearly enjoyed.

Luke is psyched to be pulling down

While I was moving the rope around to set up another TR Jamie figured out a cool boulder problem on a small arete. We both sent this climb using some cool bear hug moves and way too much body tension and opposition. You can tell I was excited to grab a downward facing hold in the photo above.

I forget exactly what happened next but I think I was being pushy about getting a belay or had started up the route without a belay. Regardless Jamie taught me a lesson with a wondrous 60 feet of wedgies. Each time I would move up the route Jamie would jump and take in the rope, often hauling me up the climb. My balance was totally off and my feet were useless. We all couldn’t stop laughing as seen in the photo below…

Luke has a blast despite the extreme tension in the rope.

The weekend was a blast and eventually we had to part ways to drive to our respective homes. I’m still a bit behind on trip reports and hopefully should be publishing about Free Rider after thanksgiving break and Lizzy will be doing a post about the #jtreetweetup.

All photos taken by Whitney Freedman except where otherwise noted.





3 responses

23 11 2009

Aren’t you supposed to be climbing in Indian Creek right now? Did you guys bring internet access with you?

25 11 2009

Luke auto-posted this blog 🙂

15 12 2009

Hey ya’ll ! Check out, for the latest on this event! Come one, come all on March 19, 20, 21, 2010 up on Woodson!

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