Friends of Joshua Tree will host the 11th annual Climb Smart gathering at Indian Cove group campgrounds from October 24 through October 26, 2008. 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 Mark Wilford, along with rock stars Majka Burhardt and Katie Rutherford 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, Lead 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.” One of the best examples of this partnership is the current development of a Memorandum of Understanding that is being finalized between Joshua Tree National Park and the Friends of Joshua Tree, formalizing the relationship. The MOU will be one of the only agreements of it’s kind between a federal land manager and a stewardship organization anywhere in the country.
The cost of Climb Smart 2008 is still a great value: $70 for earlybird registration (before September 26), then increases to $85 through the start of the event. Camping is included in registration for the first 100 registrants, with an additional parking fee of $30 per vehicle. Registration, camping and parking space is limited! 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.