HIGH TIMES: The government shutdown has left many national parks off limits, much to sadness of nature lovers everywhere. Many mountain trails and desert paths remain untouched until policy issues can be resolved. The Friends of Joshua Tree National Park have been left undeterred, however, and are continuing to host their 15th annual Climb Smart rock climbing event Oct. 17 - 20.
CRACKS AND ANCHORS: Acting as a liaison between the climbing community and Joshua Tree National Park, the Friends of Joshua Tree is a non-profit organization that advocates for ethical and practical climbing practices. To this end, they host Climb Smart, featuring instructional clinics related to the skills required for safe and enjoyable rock climbing. Classes cover everything from foundational basics such as knot tying to more advanced topics like face and slab climbing techniques. While some classes are observational only, many are participatory, including a tour of "Secret Secret" climbing tunnels in the area.
New this year is the inclusion of the Reel Rock 8 Tour on Friday, which rolls out a popular collection of contemporary and vintage footage from rock climbing expeditions.
MOVING ON UP: While Joshua Tree National Park is currently closed and may be closed at the time of the event, staff have promised to identify areas outside of the park that offer the same climbing and clinical experiences. Cost to participate in the weekend event is $80 per person, and the minimum age to participate is 12 years of age (with a parent). The clinic schedule for the event can be found here, and more information on the event can be found at their Eventbrite site and their blog.