Climbing Journal for January

I’ve done quite a bit of climbing this past month. Well, maybe not for some people’s standards, but for my standards… it’s more than I’ve done in the past. Since I first started going to the climbing gym regularly in September, it has been 5 months of mostly indoor climbing. I visited Big Bear in October to do a day of climbing, but other than that, I’ve been rather grounded until January came along. Climbing is slowly becoming more and more of an all consuming sport. I love it. The only thing is… I have to write a thesis. Boo. I’m trying to think of a reasonable amount of time and effort I should be putting into climbing, given my thesis situation. It will be hard to cut back if I need to, but I can always pick it up again as soon as summer comes along. 
I’ve gone to Mt. Woodson a handful of times this past month. Woodson is a great local place to go, because it’s about 30 minutes from my house in Escondido (I take the Romona route). You take the 78 to the 67 and park on the side of the highway by the fire station sign at the Mt Woodson CDF Fire Station, 16310 California 67, Ramona, CA 92065. The hiking path is pretty obvious from the fire station sign, through some trees, to the paved road, then up the mountain. 
Mt. Woodson is essentially a hill with a ton of granite boulders all over it. There is a closed off, paved road that curves up the hill. It’s a steap, short hike to the top and there are a ton of little dirt paths leading away from the road to all of the most popular boulders.  I am constantly amazed by how my friends know the names to every boulder climb on Woodson.  There are plenty of websites like and that will give you pictures, ratings, directions and all sorts of stuff for just about every climb on Woodson. 
I’ve attempted night climbing there, which was quite fun. With a head lamp it’s pretty much like climbing during the day. I have a feeling this will come in handy during the hot summer. The night we went night climbing it was a full moon and super foggy. As we climbed up the road we rose above the fog and it seemed like we were looking down on a sea of clouds. The mountains in the distance looked like the mountains above Santa Barbara rising from the sea. Absolutely beautiful! I’ve also attempted a ton of crack climbs, which seem to be abundant! I also bouldered for the first (real) time this past Sunday. It was a crack that went off to the left and I made it half way up and got scared because it was over 3 feet off the ground… I know, lame. I really have to boulder more to get over my fear of falling on the crash pad. I also need to work on my fist jams, I never feel like they are as solid as other jams. I’m beginning to learn how to build anchors for top-roping, but probably far from building them on my own. I look forward to spending time in Woodson, getting to know every rock and enjoying the amazing sunsets, views and full moons! 
Mt. Woodson:

We did a short trip to Joshua Tree for the weekend. It was a cold night of camping, but well worth it. I’m sure it will eventually get too hot to climb there when my schedule frees up more. Based on the weather, it seems like Joshua Tree is a good place to climb during the Fall and Spring. We tried to avoid climbing in the shade at all costs, but didn’t always succeed. I climbed a 5.10a crack for the very first time! The Exorcist. I was so stoked and I think everyone that was there was surprised I did it too. I’m realizing that cracks are my friends.  
Joshua Tree: 
Next stop… I was in the area with a friend so we decided to check out Mormon Rocks to see if there was anything worth climbing there. Mormon Rocks are these strange looking rocks jetting out diagonally from the ground. They are very crumbly sandstone, so not the best for climbing. Searching the interweb, I found two major climbs there, both on watermarks made in the sandstone. “The Unknown” we climbed was a 5.6, so nothing spectacular as far as climbs go, but it was really cool to be out there next to the train tracks and see the really long trains go by. It’s also fun because you have to drive a short distance on a dirt road to get to the climb, so it felt a little back alley-ish. The rocks themselves are cool to see up close and climb around on. We were with a group of people who had never climbed before, so they had fun doing the climb and it was fun to introduce them to climbing. 
On that same trip, we made a stop by the Riverside Quarry on the way home. We met some friends there and climbed for a few hours. It was my first time there and I fell in love. It’s a huge granite wall that’s been blasted and bolted. It’s got a ton of routes and most of them are 5.10 and above. It’s a sketchy neighborhood you have to park in and the hike to the wall is treacherous only because you have to avoid used needles and old tires, but once you are at the wall, it’s awesome. Seriously though, don’t leave anything in your car. Rumor has it that there is usually glass lining the street from all the car windows that have been smashed in. I attempted three climbs and didn’t make it up a single one, but they were all very challenging and I felt good getting a good way up them.
Riverside Quarry: 
Happy Trails!

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