- First, it was totally great and worth it to finally go and see all those cool and beautiful places in the US, the variety of landscapes, cities and climate we had was just crazy!
- Second, I need to go back Joshua Tree, as soon as possible.
- Third, I need to go to back to Yosemite, even sooner!!
In the past years, my bigger trips abroad have always been revolving around climbing. It was usually about finding the right spot with the right conditions at that time and go for it. And it was great! Our passion is climbing and what's better than travelling to a foreign country to do so! On another hand, those trips never left room for anything else than the sport though, which also can be a bit of a pity sometimes when I look back. Mostly, I would be stuck in one place only - the crag and the town (or village) you would stay or buy your groceries from. There have always been good intentions in the forefront of the trip, of what cool things you could go see on your rest days! Or even cut down some of the climbing days at the beginning/end to travel somewhere close, not for climbing! But in the end it never actually happened... On rest days you're always too tired and lazy to do any other than chill out and take care of your skin. And you won't be cutting the climbing days because there is no way to leave with unfinished business! All this means for example, that I have been to the US five times already, but haven't seen more than El Paso, Boulder and Bishop, besides all the great climbing of course. I've driven to a cave somewhere in Texas but that's it. So I figured I would really love to see more of the States. The idea emerged of doing a trip in summer, but this time focusing on actually seeing as much of the country and it's iconic places and cities as possible. Bloody sightseeing to name it. But of course this could at least involve checking out some of the crags along the way too -just to trick my brain a bit - and see if they would be worth another visit when the temps are cooler... You could call it 'crag - sightseeing'! [caption id="attachment_16360" align="aligncenter" width="750"] View from the Empire State Building, NYC.[/caption] First stop was NYC. We flew in at the end of July, the city was packed and hot! New Yorkers everywhere, seemingly even more tourists everywhere! But it was great to finally experience the big apple, after seeing so many photos, movies, narrations of friends... And there was a climbing treat of course! After two days of city-action we headed to central park. There is some bouldering there, in the middle of one of the biggest cities on the planet and I found it to be surprisingly appealing to me! The texture of the rock is great and some of the lines you find are so too! And the setting is definitely unique.... Boulders and Skyscrapers. [caption id="attachment_16363" align="aligncenter" width="564"] Bouldering in Central Park, NYC.[/caption] Second stop was a solo mission to the eastern Sierra. My girl stayed in NY a couple more days with a friend and I flew out to Vegas. The original plans of checking out the classic limestone cliffs of Mount Charleston vanished after stepping out the plane and almost blacking out because of the heat. I decided it would be the best idea to try to get some cool air and be as high up in the mountains as possible. So I drove to eastern Sierra to get my first 4000m experience, which I did by hiking/scrambling up on University Peak (4142m). The landscape there was mind-blowing! [caption id="attachment_16373" align="aligncenter" width="565"] University Peak, 4142m[/caption] [caption id="attachment_16374" align="aligncenter" width="850"] On top of University Peak at 4142m, looking back to where I came from along the lakes.[/caption] Back in Vegas, I picked up my girl and we started the road tripping to our third stop, the Grand Canyon. The drive there itself was amazing, it took us along some parts of the historic Route 66. And the Canyon is a blast, you can't describe the scale of it in words. We had a sun downer and sunrise the next day there... [caption id="attachment_16365" align="aligncenter" width="850"] Grand Canyon Sunset Panorama[/caption] [caption id="attachment_16366" align="aligncenter" width="850"] Grand Canyon.[/caption] Our fourth stop was Joshua Tree. Such a historic place of the climbing world, I was excited! We got quite an overview of the park on our short time there and loved it. The heat was just too immense though, we had 45 degrees Celsius... I did try to climb but it didn't feel like a good idea at all, it was just too hot. Joshua Tree really appealed to me, both in terms of the climbing I saw but also just the magic of the place... [caption id="attachment_16367" align="aligncenter" width="565"] Bouldering in the heat at Joshua Tree[/caption] Our fifth stop was the West Coast. We started down in L.A. and made our way up to San Francisco, via Malibu, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz. Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Baywatch, Surfing.... Lots of Californian impressions! San Francisco topped it all out though... What a cool town. We really enjoyed it there. [caption id="attachment_16370" align="aligncenter" width="850"] Urban training session, but where?[/caption] Our sixth and last stop was Yosemite National Park. We only had three days to explore as much of it as possible, so we decided to take some hikes, which gave us a good overview of the place. And again, after having been in the jungle of New York, the heights of the Sierra Nevada, the Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, the West Coast and it's iconic Cities, yet again we were speechless and full of awe of this place... So much Rock! I did a little bit of bouldering up in Tuolumne because the temps were moderate up there, the valley had 35 degrees... But staring at the walls and boulders down in the valley, such as the iconic Midnight Lightning, I was feeling a massive itching in my fingers! [caption id="attachment_16375" align="aligncenter" width="850"] The Valley[/caption] [caption id="attachment_16372" align="aligncenter" width="850"] Double Dyno Sit V? at Toloumne Meadows[/caption] Looking back at this almost non-climbing trip now, I have to say that there is mainly three things I learned from the experience:
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