Learning How to Build Top Rope Anchors in Joshua Tree National Park

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Top rope climbing in Joshua Tree National Park

Alex and I spent last weekend learning how to build top rope anchors in Joshua Tree National Park.


And I have the sunburns to prove it.


What this means is: Alex and I hired a guide to take us into the park and show us how to build different types of anchors for top rope climbing (the kind of rock climbing you do where the rope is at a fixed point above you as you climb…like what you see on cruise ships or at your local rock climbing gym) and to climb a bit. We were paired up with another young climber from the LA area, and the three of us had a blast getting to know each other while also learning a million different kinds of knots. Millions.


I think I love climbing and learning to build these anchors because it’s like a giant puzzle…and because it’s kind of like a grown-up version of Legends of the Hidden Temple…mostly the second one. Placing the gear into cracks you would normally overlook to construct a way to hold some ropes that will keep me safe should I fall sounds super scary (and it is!) but it is also a really incredible feeling knowing that you are able to do something with the gear and make good/safe choices!


Kam goes to Joshua Tree National Park


Not only did we practice making anchors, we learned how to go from the top of wherever we built our anchor to the bottom where the rope hits the ground! I’ve done some rappelling in the past, but this  was way cool because we had to move from one rope to another safely…again, a freaking awesome puzzle. I tried to find a video that would explain what we did, but I can’t…I’ll keep looking.


Crossroads Cafe - Joshua Tree, CA


And what’s a weekend away without eating? We stopped at our favorite Joshua Tree restaurant, Crossroads Cafe, after our first day of class (class went from 8 – 4ish on both Saturday and Sunday) where Alex had the Hell Tacos (spicy Seitan tacos) and a cold beer and I had a BLT with an added chicken breast inside with a side of mac n cheese and some juice. Doesn’t food always taste more amazing after you’ve been outside all day?


We also stopped at a new-to-us place across the street from Crossroads Cafe: Natural Sisters Cafe. Both locations offer vegetarian options, but Natural Sisters has more vegan options and even locally-made Kombucha. They have great juices, smoothies, sandwiches  and an awesome spinach and cheese breakfast burrito. If you’re looking for vegetarian options while in this area of the desert, we highly suggest these two locations!


I can’t wait to get back out to Joshua Tree to do some more climbing, but it’ll be too hot until later this year. I’m hoping Alex and I can get up to Big Bear to do some climbing and maybe a few other mini-trips so we can get more experience and meet more climbers.


Have you been to Joshua Tree National Park?
When was the last time you took a weekend to dedicate to learning something new?

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Adventure Climbing National Park Weekend

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Adina | Gluten Free Travelette May 22, 2013, 8:05 am

    You may have just swayed me slightly more to the world of outdoor climbing with that Legends of the Hidden Temple parallel.

    • Kam May 23, 2013, 10:37 pm

      Red Jaguars!

  • amy t schubert May 22, 2013, 10:18 am

    I can’t believe I’ve never been to Joshua Tree. Putting it on the list

    • Kam May 23, 2013, 10:37 pm

      WE’RE GOING AND YOU CAN’T SAY OTHERWISE. Girls weekend. We’ll spend a day there and then go to Palm Springs!

  • robin camille May 23, 2013, 2:53 pm

    Seriously impressed with your badassery. And your upper arms.

    Also, I’ve been reading your site in an RSS aggregator, so this may be overdue, but I love your new blog layout!!

    • Kam May 23, 2013, 10:38 pm

      You are adorable.

  • Kevin Wong May 28, 2013, 1:16 pm

    Take a look at the educational offerings at the Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park. For over 14 years we have offered weekend classes in Natural Sciences, Cultural History, Hikes with a Naturalist, Survival Skills, Family Programs and Art in the Park.

    • Kam May 30, 2013, 8:24 am

      Thanks for the info.


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