Climber’s Gathering in Joshua Tree Kicks off the Season September 30

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Friends of Joshua Tree will host the 9th annual Climb Smart gathering at Indian Cove group campgrounds from September 30 through October 2, 2005. This is the largest gathering of Southern California’s climbing community, featuring intensive clinics, gear raffles, food and top notch entertainment over the weekend. This year’s event features climbing legend Ron Kauk, along with rock stars Brittany Griffith and Eric Decaria bringing their skills and multimedia presentations to the fore. A revised format includes an open toprope circuit for those who just want to crank all day, then party. Once again, presenting sponsors Adventure 16, Patagonia, Black Diamond and Wilderness Outings are stepping up to provide an abundance of quality gear, guides and excitement.

Joshua Tree Search and Rescue is also a primary beneficiary of the event, and JOSAR member and FOJT board member Phil Spinelli says “ Team members volunteer over 11,000 hours a year on rescues and educational programs in the Park and surrounding communities. We couldn’t do it without the generous financial support from Friends of Joshua Tree and the thousands of climbers who have participated in their fund raising events. The Climb Smart program has helped decrease the number and severity of injuries in the Park by encouraging and teaching safe climbing techniques and ethics”.

The profound beauty of Joshua Tree, coupled with the unique climbing experience it offers, makes this the perfect location to hold an event that celebrates climbing and helps bring awareness to the local issues. According to Friends of Joshua Tree President Kenji Haroutunian, “JTree is the country’s most popular climbing area; it benefits climbers and the Park when we gather in force and show our strengths, including our history of stewardship. In 16 years of active participation in protecting climbing, the Friends have been able to influence park policy at the NPS level, which is being reflected across the country as climbing management plans are instituted. This is the best opportunity for climbers to give back to the land and community we love.”

Access Fund regional coordinator Dave Kennedy is helping to plan and promote the event. “I may be from San Diego, but Josh was once like a second home to me, and I’m happy to give a little back. It’s a great pleasure to work with a dedicated group of volunteers. We have a lot of fun.” The Access Fund is also a funding recipient and supporter of Climb Smart 2005.

The cost of Climb Smart 2005 is reduced for this year, only $70 for the full weekend experience for those who register by September 12. Camping space is included but is limited to the first 100 registrants. Don’t miss out on the chance to help kick of the Joshua Tree climbing season, hone some skills, take home some gear, and support your climbing community. For more information visit www.friendsofjosh.org.