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Les & Dann's BIG JTree Adventure
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duskerhu


May 7, 2003, 7:22 AM
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Les & Dann's BIG JTree Adventure
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Well yes, Les/fo_d and I/duskerhu are home at last... We had a BLAST in Joshua Tree and are surely better for the experience (hopefully climbing-wise).

Before I go anywhere with this "report" I need to throw out a few props to those that helped us where needed; without which, our trip would have surely been less of a success.

First I must thank Les. For it was originally his idea to take this trip and who hooked me up with an affordable airfare and routes to climb and follow. You're the BEST! fo_d...

Next, we are indeed indebted to jtme... A Joshua Tree, CA resident, he came out at 10pm Wednesday night and loaned us his collection of JTree climbing guide books and gave us ideas for Thursday. Met us Thursday evening and gave us the nickel tour of his favorite spots, bouldered with us for a bit and then hung out at the camp fire and told stories past his usual bed time. Climbed with us Friday giving us tips on JTree slab climbing and then invited us back to his home and let us use his shower. Thank You Very Much Richard!

We also must thank JTree regulars and friends/new friends rrradam and i.karen, artm, kohoclimber, and mreardon and his partner (I'm drawing a blank on his name :? ). Adam and Karen fed us a second dinner Saturday evening. Art showed us a couple good routes to climb and supplied lots of beta and encouragement. Mike and his parnter trailed our rope up to the anchors on Double Cross and displayed an irreverence for life and climbing enough to make everyone laugh. Kurk showed us the proper way to lead an "Ultra Classic" JTree hand crack (Double Cross). We all had a good time making a round of the "easy" (my ass :shock: ) HVCG boulder probs and later, telling stories and talking RC.com around the fire at Adam's fire ring Saturday night.

Lastly, we thank addiroids... Thanks for the Tall Guiness Draft's Paul! They were a great addition to the camp fire after a hard day of climbing. Of course, Paul wasn't at JTree with us. And he didn't actually give us the Guiness. Oh they were slated to be his, after he hauled Adams pack up Tahquitz on a recent trip. Ah but alas, he didn't earn them. So Adam gave Les and I the Guiness Drafts Saturday night. UMmmmmm! They were mighty tasty too! :twisted:


OK, the adventure part...
We'd originally planned to get to CA and drive to Josh, find a camp site and get all set up, hopefully before darkness set in Wednesday. Our climbing to start on Thursday morning. Well, things went so well, we had that all done by about 3pm. YES! Bonus climbing time... Just what everyone wants when in one of the worlds climbing mecas.

We took the short drive from Hidden Valley Campground over to the Heminway formation in the Lost Horse area Wednesday late afternoon thinking of doing White Lightning 5.7. Unfortunately someone was already on that route so, without a guide book yet and with Les' previous (but minimal) knowledge of the formation, we decided on a 5.6 route to the right of it. At the time, we didn't know the name of the route or even the exact line but the start looked basic enough and Les decided he'd find his way easy enough.

Poodlesby 5.6 started on a good sized ledge/boulder a bit higher than the routes to the left and did more than go straight up... The first third of the route is pretty straight forward and maybe a little, enlightening for climbers not accustomed to JTree climbing; mostly crack and a bit of friction smearing. What we didn't realize beforehand is that the large roof two-thirds of the way up was kind of the separation point for a number of lines through that area. Ours should've gone off to the right side of the roof where easier ground gets you to the top.

Well, Les went left and after a drag creating cam was removed from beneath the roof, finished the climb on a thin, shallow finger (or less) crack, 20 feet to the top. The problem was, this crack section was part of a much harder line. In typical fo_d style, he puckered-up and pulled the moves to finish it there. Later we found out (via the guys on White Lightning) that that section probably goes at 5.8 or better. :shock: We weren't quite ready for that.

My turn to follow. We'd noticed a few minutes earlier as Les was about to finish the route, that our half-way mark on the 60m rope was going to finish about 12 feet above my belay stance. Well, it was right at the top of a good sized vertical block and I thought at first, we'd be able to rap to and downclimb from the block. Until I got on top of it... When I got up there and looked down, and looked at the moves to get off of it, I thought better of that idea. Down I went and got the second rope so we wouldn't have any probs rapping.

The route was great and I was glad to be on my first JTree climb. Then I got up to the last 20 foot crack section; the one we found out was not part of our route. I looked up and saw a little nob I could probably use, but it was a good two feet past my reach. The crack widened enough to get a couple fingers in but that too was just beyond my reach. I'm not sure how, but I managed to get off my stance and reach that little section and got up to the nob. WHEW! Another 12 feet and I could maybe pull over the top. All I remember is high-stepping about waist high to a thin little micro edge with my left foot and hoisting myself high enough to get my right foot into the crack. The rest was all scraping and clawing over the rounded top to join Les at the anchors.

"My GOD!" I thought, "if that's 5.6, I'm in deep SHE-it!"

On top of that, the sun was on the set and we'd surely be walking back to the car in the dark ('cus we'd left our headlamps back at camp, again...).

As it turned out, the guys that had been on White Lightning (bones) were just finishing another route and offered to let us rap on thier 63m rope so we didn't have to futz with tieing ours together for the rap. Thanks guys!!!

When we got back to the mini van we'd rented we were both pumped and re-awakened... We'd just finished our first Joshua Tree route of the trip (my first ever in JT), yet we would have to quickly "come to our senses" so to speak. If you ever get the chance to climb at Joshua Tree N.P. (and every serious climber should at some point in their climbing life), realize that the ratings are stiff and if you're not used to normally climing this type of rock, you'll need to lower your standards, at least to start with.

We took our trusty rental and headed back to town to pick-up a couple items and hopefully get ahold of some quality beta for tomorrow (Thursday). From the Circle K (the local gas/convenience store in Joshua Tree) we called jtme. He tried to describe a few things but realizing it was tough over the phone, he jumped in his truck and ran down to meet us, bringing with him his guide books (what a resource!) for us to borrow.

Our climbing experiences were about to get better over the next few days...

After our initiation Wednesday evening and talking to jtme, we woke up Thursday in great spirits to an absolutely gorgeous blue sky, bright sunshiney, light breeze day... Richard had recommended more climbing on Heminway over in Lost Horse.

Dung Fu 5.7 * was our first order of business. A beautiful right facing corner up to a cavernous hole like chimney area, followed by a slightly overhanging rib to a slabed out top. From the bottom it looked like you could just climb up the dihedral and walk into the hole and climb up the back of it (pro-less) and finish on the slab.

Les wasn't comfortable with that and when I got to the "cavern" I really couldn't blame him! It was a beautiful route and when you transfer to the left wall from the offwidth cavern entrance and up to the overhanging rib, it would tend to get the average climbers "undies in a BUNCH!" (and it certainly would've mine if I'd been wearing any)

Following Les' wonderful lead, about half way up I started to notice a trail of blood. As I pulled over the top I came upon a chuckling, bleeding partner who remarked...

"How'd jya like that???"

I replied "HOLY! That was wild; and a little scary over that hole dude..." It was fabulous to be on top in the warm sun and breathing heavily.

Our next order of "bidness" was to set up a T-R on Overseer 5.9 *** which was right next door. We decided to belay from the top because of the length of the route (we guessed about 125 ft.). That caused a minor problem after I'd rapped off however... We'd set the rope too far to the left. After another climber helped us set a directional I started up.

Overseer is a flake crack up a slab to a huge roof were you move right to another crack you use to gain the top-out slab. The bottom was where I realized I hadn't climbed much slab up to this point in my climbing life and it was time to pick it up quick! Once I remembered you're supposed to keep your ass over your feet, I made it up to the roof. Taking a brief breather I got ready to pull the roof and finish out. Once you come out the roof, the crack starts at the top of my reach and it's like a vertical slab for your feet until you get a bit higher and the angle lessens to where you walk up to the top.

I think I weighted the rope 3 times on that route... Twice on the lower slab and once at the roof. All I could think about was "what's going on? I don't 'work' 5.9's..."

[indigo]Hey, welcome to JTree...[/indigo]

When Les finished the route, he too remembered it as being "a lot tougher than I remember from my last trip!" I think he said he'd even climbed the 10a "Direct Start" on his first trip without a problem.

After Overseer we decided we'd go back to camp and get some lunch together and wait for jtme who'd been planning on coming out to climb or at least show us some stuff. As it turned out, he had to work later than expected and by the time he got out to Hidden Valley, didn't want to climb that evening. That was fine with us as it gave us time to go around and check out some of Richard's favorite areas.

When we got back from our tour, we decided on an inpromtu bouldering session. :lol: Huh, can you imagine, 3 middle aged "vertical men" jumping on some Josh boulders? Yeah, you guessed it... Pretty funny! In fact, Les completely ripped out the crotch of his favorite climbing trousers as he tried to mantle the finish to the "Warm-up Problem."

rrrrrrrrRRRRRRIIPPPP! :eek: I almost bust-a-gut laughin'... It was hilarious and round out our climbing day.

On our way back to the site we were "serenaded" with the bagpipes of a climber (I think his name was Charlie and he's an rc.commer I think) who'd hiked up to the top of one of the formations in the campground to play for sunset. It was the best! One of the coolest things I've ever wittnessed. Thanks dude! (if he ever sees this)

We'd set up before our trip to meet and climb with Tom/corpse on Friday and Saturday (and maybe Sunday). We woke up Friday wondering if he'd show up. Well, it wasn't too long after breakfast that he rolled up and introduced himself and we were set to go.

After talking with jtme Thursday evening, Les had it in his head to set a top-rope on Clean & Jerk 5.10c **** on the Sports Challenge Rock (I think) over in Real Hidden Valley after Richard had told him, "it's a great route. It climbs like a gym route." I guess somehow Les thought that meant [easier than a regular JTree route] or something 'cus he was sure hell bent on doing it.

Anyway, he'd offered to climb the 5th class approach and set up the top-rope on it so who was I to deny him... Once it was set and Les had come back down, I was up to give it a first shot since he'd done the work to set it up (this is usually his que to me to test it and show him how to do it, or, help him decide he wants no part of it)... :lol: Well, after the fact, I got the beta from artm that the start/first 20 feet is the .10c portion and that the remainder of the climb (the crack that starts 20ft. up and winds it's way to the top) goes at a constant .10a. And he was not joking!

The start is basically a pull-up to a sideways lock-off ('cus there ain't no feet), reach high to the next nob/ledge and then try to get your feet under you and keep going up the ledges 'til you gain the crack. I think I had to re-start twice at the bottom. As soon as you get your feet on something, it's o.k. but balancey up to the crack. Then once you get into the crack, it's not too bad, except that by that time, I was in FULL pump Glory! Had to let go and hang. And unfortunately, with the set-up we had, that swings you out of the crack to the right.

ARGhhh... I hung a couple times and ended up getting half-way up the route before I had to finally give it up and come down. Les was looking sceptical already. I just had to ask, "What were you thinking when you decided we'd warm-up on this dude?" I don't remember if there was a reply. Just that it was now Tom's turn. Tom who'd only climbed outside once before today.

Well, Tom did fabulous. Got WAY further than I'd imagined he would. He hung a few times and got up into the crack but not quite as far as I'd gotten. After watching both Tom and I struggle on this "gym-like route, Les was NOT gonna touch it. He wanted to "save himself for the rest of the day." And I, really couldn't blame him. Besides, it was an easy way to get him to go up and take down the top-rope. :D

Next on our list for the day was Sail Away 5.8 **** which was about a 2 minute hike away. When we got over there, about a half dozen other climbers were hanging around. They already had a top-rope on it and half of them hadn't climbed it yet.

This was good and bad for us. Bad, because we're now waiting in line to climb (which we don't even do at home, but hey, I understand. It's a 4-star classic). Good because, if we can talk these guys into replacing their rope with ours, we don't have to lead this thin old seam (which we were dreading after the last couple days experiences). Anyway, they put our rope up when the last guy finished Sail Away and they moved over to Wild Wind.

Sail Away is a great thin hand/finger crack that moves up from a ledge onto a vertical face. There are a few intersecting horizontals that create great holds for hands and feet and then a good flake at the top to finish out on. Les went first and showed us how its done. He literally "sailed" up to the anchors but again when he came down, remarked "that was harder than I remember it too!"

Tom was next and climbed great. I was really pretty amazed at how well he climbed considering that he's really just a gym climber (who trades computer work for climbing time and gear rentals at his gym) and this was just his 2nd trip outdoors. I went last and really enjoyed the route. Les had told me that it's a 5.9 start if you use just the face at the very bottom (in the hole between boulders) up to the ledge; kind of a bouldery start. I finished the route, cleaned our gear at the top and rapped off of the rap rings.

We'd originally wanted to do Wild Wind too but because Tom's parents needed to have his vehicle back by 5pm, we had pre-set our departure time so we'd have time to follow Tom back to Yucca Valley and get back to the park and meet Richard at the Boy Scout Trailhead by 4:30pm.

duskerhu

(to be continued...)


Partner sauron


May 7, 2003, 7:28 AM
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... and this is precisely why I fell in love with Joshua Tree...

- d.


duskerhu


May 7, 2003, 7:29 AM
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Alright, sorry it's taken me so long to get this finished. I've had a busy week at work and with my kids starting baseball and Mothers Day this weekend (I remember now why I hate baseball; ever watched grass grow???).

We'd set up before our trip to meet and climb with Tom/corpse on Friday and Saturday (and maybe Sunday). We woke up Friday wondering if he'd show up. Well, it wasn't too long after breakfast that he rolled up and introduced himself and we were set to go.

After talking with jtme Thursday evening, Les had it in his head to set a top-rope on Clean & Jerk 5.10c **** on the Sports Challenge Rock (I think) over in Real Hidden Valley after Richard had told him, "it's a great route. It climbs like a gym route." I guess somehow Les thought that meant [easier than a regular JTree route] or something 'cus he was sure hell bent on doing it.

Anyway, he'd offered to climb the 5th class approach and set up the top-rope on it so who was I to deny him... Once it was set and Les had come back down, I was up to give it a first shot since he'd done the work to set it up (this is usually his que to me to test it and show him how to do it, or, help him decide he wants no part of it)... :lol: Well, after the fact, I got the beta from artm that the start/first 20 feet is the .10c portion and that the remainder of the climb (the crack that starts 20ft. up and winds it's way to the top) goes at a constant .10a. And he was not joking!

The start is basically a pull-up to a sideways lock-off ('cus there ain't no feet), reach high to the next nob/ledge and then try to get your feet under you and keep going up the ledges 'til you gain the crack. I think I had to re-start twice at the bottom. As soon as you get your feet on something, it's o.k. but balancey up to the crack. Then once you get into the crack, it's not too bad, except that by that time, I was in FULL pump Glory! Had to let go and hang. And unfortunately, with the set-up we had, that swings you out of the crack to the right.

ARGhhh... I hung a couple times and ended up getting half-way up the route before I had to finally give it up and come down. Les was looking sceptical already. I just had to ask, "What were you thinking when you decided we'd warm-up on this dude?" I don't remember if there was a reply. Just that it was now Tom's turn. Tom who'd only climbed outside once before today.

Well, Tom did fabulous. Got WAY further than I'd imagined he would. He hung a few times and got up into the crack but not quite as far as I'd gotten. After watching both Tom and I struggle on this "gym-like route, Les was NOT gonna touch it. He wanted to "save himself for the rest of the day." And I, really couldn't blame him. Besides, it was an easy way to get him to go up and take down the top-rope. :D

Next on our list for the day was Sail Away 5.8 **** which was about a 2 minute hike away. When we got over there, about a half dozen other climbers were hanging around. They already had a top-rope on it and half of them hadn't climbed it yet.

This was good and bad for us. Bad, because we're now waiting in line to climb (which we don't even do at home, but hey, I understand. It's a 4-star classic). Good because, if we can talk these guys into replacing their rope with ours, we don't have to lead this thin old seam (which we were dreading after the last couple days experiences). Anyway, they put our rope up when the last guy finished Sail Away and they moved over to Wild Wind.

Sail Away is a great thin hand/finger crack that moves up from a ledge onto a vertical face. There are a few intersecting horizontals that create great holds for hands and feet and then a good flake at the top to finish out on. Les went first and showed us how its done. He literally "sailed" up to the anchors but again when he came down, remarked "that was harder than I remember it too!"

Tom was next and climbed great. I was really pretty amazed at how well he climbed considering that he's really just a gym climber (who trades computer work for climbing time and gear rentals at his gym) and this was just his 2nd trip outdoors. I went last and really enjoyed the route. Les had told me that it's a 5.9 start if you use just the face at the very bottom (in the hole between boulders) up to the ledge; kind of a bouldery start. I finished the route, cleaned our gear at the top and rapped off of the rap rings.

We'd originally wanted to do Wild Wind too but because Tom's parents needed to have his vehicle back by 5pm, we had pre-set our departure time so we'd have time to follow Tom back to Yucca Valley and get back to the park and meet Richard at the Boy Scout Trailhead by 4:30pm.

more coming soon...


fo_d


May 7, 2003, 10:24 AM
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:D :D I dont even have anything to add to that, you covered it perfectly. (and thanks for leaving out th part about the whining and complaining that went on at the crux) :D :D

Les


el_capitan


May 7, 2003, 1:40 PM
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Glad you guys had fun. Its stiff though isn't it? If you ever want to return, I would be interested.


jtme


May 8, 2003, 3:04 PM
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You're Welcome!!!! Glad to have met you two................and Corpse as well!!!

Keep on writing that TR Dann..........I can't wait to hear what you two did Saturday and Sunday. We were able to squeeze in a few short routes at Red Rocks, on Sunday, before we headed back home!!

And Les............I had the unfortunate luck to be below you when the pant's blew.............I'm in therapy to erase the image from my head!!!

-r-


corpse


May 8, 2003, 9:49 PM
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I'm finally home, now I can chime in.

Thanks Dan and Les for letting me tag along for a few days. They were patient to have a new guy around and showed me some great stuff.

Thanks to richard for the cheif fun and hospitality.
Thanks for dirk for lettin me follow on some fun crack.

Here's the pics I got on my cheapo digi-camera; I did NOT crop or shrink the files, as they are the originals, and maybe the others want to do as they wish with them http://www.langerperformance.com/jtreeclimbing1/

oh yeah, thanks to karen (ikaren?) for the great pics of me in action (if thats what you can call it, hehe)


fo_d


May 8, 2003, 10:29 PM
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Thanks for the pics Tom, I'm still fighting home networking problems and havent downloaded mine yet or taken my film in to develope but my digitals dont look al tha good, I'll post some this weekend.

Les


fo_d


May 9, 2003, 9:46 PM
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Ok I know Dan has his hands full so while we wait for the rest of the trip report I'll tell about my favorite day of the trip, that would be Sun.

Sat. night at rrradam and i.karen's campfire (while we enjoyed addiroids Tall Guiness Draft) artm was tring to help us decide what to climb the next day, after finding out that I had climbed "Sail Away" twice on TR he told me I had to go back and lead it or I would kick myself in the a$$ after I left. So Sun. morning we make a b-line for Hidden tower and unfortunatly there was no one else there, no long line of climbers waiting their turn, no excuss to get me out of leading this route. So I lead the route without much trouble, I used all stoppers. I think Dan cleaned and then Tom (corpse) TR'ed then we all TR'ed "Wild Wind"

Then jtme had reccomended "Fote Hog" (a 2 pitch 5.6) and artm agreed so after some stalling and goofing around we headed over to Sentinel Rock where rrradam and his gang was playing on Ball Bearing. I lead the 1st pitch with much whining and complaining about the exposure and rrradam urging me on telling me to enjoy the exposure :D then Dan followed trailing a rope for Tom. It was a little crowded on the ledge so as soon as Tom was secured and I re-racked I headed up the 2ed, I forgot to unclip from the ancore and secure my shoes so after Dan unclipped me I continued on the 2ed pitch. on the next ledge the climbing got a little funky but after some complaining I went on and the rest of the route was a lot of fun, the walk off was pretty easy but by the time we got back to our packs we had had enough and we headed into Yucca and Tom bought at "The Rib Co." BTW the weather was perfect Sun. must have been low 70's sunny and light winds.

Thats my version of what happened, don't believe anything Dan says about wimpering or crying :oops:


:D Les :D


apollodorus


May 10, 2003, 1:34 AM
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In reply to:
Thanks for the pics Tom, I'm still fighting home networking problems and havent downloaded mine yet or taken my film in to develope but my digitals dont look al tha good, I'll post some this weekend.

Les


I liked reading your great TR. Posting those photos would be killer. Keep it up.


fo_d


May 10, 2003, 4:56 AM
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I havent even taken in the 35mm yet but here's what I salvaged from the digital:

http://www.rockclimbing.com/photos.php?Action=Show&PhotoID=13755

http://www.rockclimbing.com/photos.php?Action=Show&PhotoID=13756

http://www.rockclimbing.com/photos.php?Action=Show&PhotoID=13753

http://www.rockclimbing.com/photos.php?Action=Show&PhotoID=13752

:D Les :D


Partner rrrADAM


May 10, 2003, 10:46 AM
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It's always great to climb with you Les, you are good people, and have a great attitude.

Sorry I forgot to leave my number on your car when we left... Karen and I realized we forgot after we left the park.


i.karen
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May 10, 2003, 11:35 AM
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It was a great weekend just a little windy though!!!!

Don't worry Les because Adam blew a big hole in his pants too!!! It must of been all that gas he had!!!!!!!

Karen

PS It didn't smell like roses either!!!!


Partner rrrADAM


May 21, 2003, 12:15 PM
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Pics from this J-Tree trip...

http://www.rockclimbing.com/photos.php?Action=Show&PhotoID=14008

http://www.rockclimbing.com/photos.php?Action=Show&PhotoID=14005

http://www.rockclimbing.com/photos.php?Action=Show&PhotoID=14006

http://www.rockclimbing.com/photos.php?Action=Show&PhotoID=14007


fo_d


May 30, 2003, 8:46 PM
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Here are a few more pics from the trip, I have more but these were the only ones that seemed worth posting, I would like to post "Ladybug booty call" :shock: :shock: but I dont think I'll get it past the photo editors



http://www.rockclimbing.com/photos.php?Action=Show&PhotoID=14382

http://www.rockclimbing.com/photos.php?Action=Show&PhotoID=14381

http://www.rockclimbing.com/photos.php?Action=Show&PhotoID=14384

Les


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