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Itai Axelrad

J Tree Farewell

Bad weather has never deterred us, (though perhaps it should) so Cody and I decided to roll the dice and venture out to Joshua Tree despite the stormy forecast. Thankfully, after a slight morning mist/sprinkle, the clouds around Intersection Rock began to clear. Isaac and Alexandra, who were destined to leave California behind for the 'Rado within days, arrived at the parking lot just minutes behind us. This was sadly their last chance to shred some gnar gnar and skin on the oh so sharp J Tree crystals before moving. Wait, what’s a crystal?

The Bong in all its glory.

After getting our tranquil warm-up sesh dude-man-bro bombed by a large group of climbers, we knew our only option was to pretend we could feel our fingers and hop on the Joshua Tree crimp test-piece, Bittersweet.

Itai, on a padless send of Bittersweet (V9). Just kidding, this was a photo op.

The gang made quick work of the bottom crimpers but encountered some trouble at the lip. After scoping out and chalking up the damp top out holds, I was able to press out the mantle and finish the climb, though not without giving my spotters, Isaac and Cody a mini panic attack. Next, Isaac, who has been determined to improve his finger strength, continued his crimpscapade by flashing the classic Thin Lizzy. Bravo!

Isaac, locking things down on Thin Lizzy (V8).
Cody, discovering a new problem just around the corner.

To finish off the day, we hiked out to the elusive Scorpion Roof, where Isaac demonstrated his horizontal climbing skillz, though once again the top out caused some nerves. It was getting too cold and too dark for any more burns, plus we had all earned ourselves a burger and beer back in town.

I’m glad we squeezed in that last farewell trip. Best of luck to Isaac and Alexandra in their new adventures! California will certainly miss those lightning bolt IP routes.

- Itai