NOTES ON BACK
There’s always time to try something new and the best way to do that is to travel solo sometimes. I love a healthy balance of travelling on my own because it forces me to meet people and force myself to Jtree, for the most part has no cell phone signal. So be prepared when heading out there, especially if you’re hoping to rendezvous with people.
There’s something nostalgic about this message board. It brings me back to a time when people would value the words written on a piece of paper. When people said “See you at 8,” they meant it and they would be there.
It’s common local knowledge to always hit up the info boards in Hidden Valley and check on the backs for messages (there’s 2 boards). This is where people leave notes to meet up, lost and found items or where one goes to seek a partner.
The night I arrived I made sure to post my message:
“Climbing Partner. Have sport rack and crash pad. Site #31”
The next morning, since I’m a super early riser I decided to head into town to pick up somegroceries and get a coffee while I waited for the rest of the climbers to wake up. By the time I made it back to the campsite to check the board and see if I received a response, it was around 09:00hrs. No luck. Guess I’m on my own today.
As I started to pack my lunch, water and crash pad for the day a gentleman with a very distinct UK accent approaches me. He asks if I was looking for a partner and I told him I was ready to go whenever he was.
Within a few minutes, my new friend Karl and I set off into the desert together to see what boulders we could conquer.
To be honest, I got my butt kicked. I haven’t climbed much this season so my finger strength and confidence isn’t at it’s peak. However, that doesn’t stop me from having an awesome time watching Karl get his climb on and giving him a spot.
Karl is a retired principal from a special needs school and since retiring his schedule is now freed up so he can pursue his life passion: climbing. Karl, is fitter than 95% of the people I know and it’s been such a treat spending time with him. It’s so refreshing to meet someone, that is not only witty but shares similar beliefs and values. He has rich family values and prioritizes things in life that make you rich, and not the monetary kind. He’s taken 10 weeks off to travel from New Castle, UK to climb in the USA. I want to be like Karl when I grow up.
We bouldered in the morning around the John Bachar Memorial Boulder and started working on the JBMFP (V5.) I saw it in the Wolverine guide book and it caught my eye immediately. We both had a few attempts at it and we figured out the “beta” for the start a.k.a the key/ the info/ the 411 on the climb. We didn’t progress much so we decided to leave it for another day.