Climbers, though they are typically focused and disciplined individuals, they also have a finesse for naming climbing routes – not to mention a hilarious sense of humour. Today my new friend Karl and I, climbed the Loose Lady 10a at Houser Buttress in Joshua Tree National Park.
For a view from the top of Loose Lady click: Joshua Tree Loose Lady
As a climber it’s ESSENTIAL to develop and verbalize levels of comfort and communications cues with your partner especially if it’s someone you’re not used to climbing with. I’ve climbed with people from all different parts of the world and cues vary from country to country, region to region.
I’ve had enough experience to know that ultimately its your own responsibility to determine if you feel confident and comfortable with a new partner. And if you DON’T it’s OKAY to say no and back out of a climb. When I was younger I made the mistake of thinking a climber that climbed for 10 years, had more experience than me. It turned out in that particular situation, they simply just managed to not hurt anybody for 10 years… until me. So years and big talk don’t often equate to skill and experience.
Good climbers will ALWAYS respect your safety cues and always be open to good communication.
There are various different types of climbing, on this particular day, Karl and I were sport climbing. Bouldering is a sport that sometimes requires a good spotter and an extra pair of hands to guide you to the crash pad, but it’s also a sport that many people can do alone. Sport climbing however, you need a partner.
Sport climbing is when there’s bolts already placed into the rock by a local climber or climbing association. These are generally mapped into a local climbing guidebook with difficulty ratings and descriptions of a climb. Loose Lady had a short 10 minute flat approach and then a little bit of a scramble to get to the base of the climb.
It was a a beautiful face climb, just my style! It was my first Jtree sport climb in a long time and it may not have been as graceful as I would have liked but all in all… what a fantastic climb. No wonder they gave it 4 stars.
If you have an interest in seeing what climbing is about check out your local adventure outfitter or climbing gym. Remember no matter what your experience is there’s always an opportunity to try something new, you just have to have the courage to take that first step and ask.