tldr; we posed. And it snowed.

We left Palm Springs on Saturday morning, January 23, and headed up to Joshua Tree, our third national park. We were so excited to visit Joshua Tree because we would get to do some more climbing and also meet Christina and Jeremiah, another van-dwelling couple who we had booked as our wedding photographers before COVID-19 changed our plans.

We arrived at the park around 10AM and found Christina and Jeremiah in their van, a cute, super high-roofed, converted Dodge Ram. They welcomed us into their little home and made us a cup of tea before we hopped back into Mr. Smee and caravanned into Joshua Tree.

Following Christina and Jeremiah in their van

As we drove into the park, we saw more and more of the iconic Joshua Trees and huge and interesting rock formations rising up on either side of the road and out into the distance.

Part of the reason we met up with Christina and Jeremiah was to finally get to do our several-times-rescheduled “engagement” photoshoot that we had originally planned for the fall. Instead of a typical, dressed-up, posed engagement shoot, we had a blast exploring Joshua Tree while they snapped some photos of us in our element.

We spent quite a bit of time just wandering around but also got to hop on some fun climbs like Betty Jo Yablonski, a highball V0 (the easiest grade of bouldering) and Gunsmoke, a ~75ft long traverse that tests the endurance of your forearms and fingers.

In the middle of one of my attempts of Gunsmoke, it started snowing fat, fluffy snowflakes! We took that as our cue to head back to our vans and get some dinner. Christina was so kind to make us a delicious meal which we all enjoyed together, cozied up in Mr. Smee.

Our first guests in the van!

We had an amazing day in Joshua Tree with Christina and Jeremiah and are so excited to spend more time exploring this huge and beautiful national park.

We spent the night at a new campsite about an hour from Joshua Tree and woke the next morning, ready to head back to the park and climb more. On our drive, we discovered that the mountains in the distance were capped with snow. We wondered if Joshua Tree had gotten more snow too and hoped that we’d still be able to climb.

Snowcapped mountains and Choi’s bedhead are equally impressive

We drove into Joshua Tree and found ourselves in a winter wonderland! Choi, usually a bit of a grinch, even let me put on some Christmas music that fit the scenery! We had no idea if we’d get to climb at all that day but the trip was already well worth the drive.

So much snow!

Once we got to the parking lot, we saw that some other climbers were getting geared up so we figured there must be some climbs relatively untouched by the blanket of snow. We grabbed our crash pads (those rectangular mattress-like backpacks that you see us wearing in a lot of the photos) and headed off to find some climbs.

As expected, most of the climbs were very snowy, cold, and / or wet. However, as the day went on, it began to warm up and we got to try out some fun classics like False Hueco, Yabba Dabba Don’t, and Stem Gem.

Yabba Dabba Don’t (V3)

After a long day of climbing in the snow we headed back to our campsite, exhausted but happy. We’ll be in Joshua Tree for another week or two so we’ll have plenty of time to try climb and explore more of the huge park. For now, we’ll let our scraped skin heal and rest up for a week of work ahead.

Until later this week, Joshua Tree!

Categories: Travels

1 Comment

Meredith Davis · February 2, 2021 at 5:38 pm

Awesome update and pics, loved the side by side video of Yabba Dabba Don’t (and that name!!) And the pics Christina and Jeremiah took are SO good, they capture ya’ll perfectly, I’d take those over fancy schmancy any day!!

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