Friends Of Joshua Tree staged the best Climb Smart event to date, gathering over 300 climbers for a weekend of education, stewardship, comraderie and plain old fun both in Joshua Tree National Park as well as the Joshua Tree Lake Campground. Sponsors really stepped up this year led by Presenting Brands adidas Terrex, Gramicci, Sterling, Black Diamond and Gear Coop. Over 30 pro instructors anchored the climbing skills clinics, designed to help introduce and brush-up skills, from entry level to advanced multi-pitch and self-rescue techniques. 

The Joshua Tree Video Astronomy Theater once again proved an excellent evening venue for athlete presentations, dazzling shows and the monster raffle and auction that the event is known for. This event is the singular fund-raiser of the year for FOJT, and we truly and deeply appreciate the contributions large and small that power an entire year of advocacy for the climbing community in and around Joshua Tree. The beneficiary organizations for FOJT this year are

  • Joshua Tree Search & Rescue (JOSAR)
  • Joshua Tree Climber Stewards Program
  • Hardware Anchor Replacement Program (HARP)
  • Climbers Coffee 
  • Access Fund

and numerous other small programs, volunteer projects, presentations to/in the Park, communications and outreach to represent a growing and passionate climbing community. 

The special Stewardship Project of Climb Smart 2017 drew nearly 40 volunteers out to ‘re-bloom’ the Park near Echo Tee, where social trails had formed and collapsed the cryptobiotic soils that support plant and animal life in the area. 

Among the highlights of the evening sessions in the open-air theater under the stars were presentations like Brad Gobright’s film ‘Safety Third’ (who came down the hill from Yosemite to join us!), Jon Cardwell’s expose on successfully climbing the ludicrously steep and blank 5.15a ‘Biographie’ in Ceuse, France, and a funny ‘Read It Like Largo’ contest featuring the legendary John Long (an original Stonemaster) and his new book ‘Stories From The Dirt’. 

Overall the weekend was a great way to introduce new and visiting climbers to the wonders of the Park, learn about techniques and tips for being gentle on the flora and fauna of the Park, and steep oneself in the trad climbing scene and unique culture of Joshua Tree. Mark your calendars NOW for October 12-14, 2018; registration will open in June, so make a note there too… or better yet, sign up for our occasional newsletter and get all the updates from Joshua Tree. 

Stay tuned for more news.