the largest annual gathering of climbers come to Joshua Tree to kick off the climbing season with education at its core… and stewardship as it’s aim.
It was a packed affair, Climb Smart 2019 in Joshua Tree, CA… over 300 climbers from not only around the southland, but from across the country came to partake in the education, stewardship, and community as mid-October delivered splitter high desert weather (as opposed to the 2018 event, which was a bit wet with some roads washed out). Along with attendees, nearly 100 volunteers supported the event and 22 sponsoring brands brought their wares to share in the Vendor Village. Clinics taught by professional guides sharpened skills for hundreds of climbers new and experienced, and the crowd was treated to high quality food, drink and entertainment each night in the Joshua Tree Astronomy Arts Theater, a state-of-the-art outdoor amphitheater equipped for stunning night-sky viewing and multimedia presentations.
Several new elements were added this year, to build on the climber education theme of Climb Smart and to connect better with the local tribes who have long history in the area we now call Joshua Tree. The Cahuilla, Serrano, Mojave and Chemehuevi all call Joshua Tree home and have ancestral roots and sacred spaces in and around the Park. Read More…
Adaptive Climbing clinics were added officially this year, to showcase the unique opportunities climbing offers to all people, regardless of physical abilities. Led by David VanBeek, who works out of Stronghold Climbing Gym in Los Angeles, these all-day clinics showcased techniques for supporting adaptive climbers. Jake Sanchez, a competitive paralympic climber who leads programming at another local gym, stepped up to the main stage Friday night at Climb Smart to share his experience with discovering climbing after a car accident resulted in an amputation of one leg five years ago. His story prefaced the screening of the film ‘Adaptive’, brought by Sterling Rope to Climb Smart and featuring an epic adventure on the LFT (Lotus Flower Tower) in the Cirque Of The Unclimbables.
A new partnership with Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics brought their “Hot Spot” program to Climb Smart, where guides, outfitters and interested could sharpen their knowledge of specific sensitivities the high desert region has, and how to better communicate to those committing infractions or who simply might not know what’s right when it comes to negatively impacting wild places.
If you or those you know might be interested to attend Climb Smart 2020, save the Dates October 16-18, 2020, and sign up for the semi-monthly newsletter from Friends Of Joshua Tree, the non-profit who manages and owns the Climb Smart Festival. It’ll be a unique experience, guaranteed.