Images by Sam Roberts
Over 170 participants, partiers and volunteers showed up at this year’s Climb Smart event in Joshua Tree National Park, where they were treated to an all-star lineup of instructors, multimedia presentations, camping and 5 renovation and planting projects over the October 27 weekend. Attendees got a glimpse of climbing in Siberia from Patagonia ambassador Brittany Griffith, as well as a raucous show-and-tell by climber and MC extraordinaire Timmy O’Neill at Saturday night’s bash at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Joshua Tree. Timmy’s new film ‘First Ascent’ was previewed, and will clearly be a positive tick to his growing lexicon of films. Everyone was treated to an excellent homestyle dinner and a costume contest had several vying for the title of ‘top costume’, including ‘SuperFly Girl’, ‘Chalk Bag’, and ‘Kitty McNaughty’. Friends of Joshua Tree, along with sponsors Adventure 16, Patagonia, Black Diamond and Wilderness Outings, hosted the 10th annual event. “This event reminds me of the pride taken by climbers who consider it important to give back to the natural spaces we use “, said semi-retired instructor and FOJT President Kenji Haroutunian. Aside from the attendees, beneficiaries of the fund-raising done at Climb Smart were JOSAR (Joshua Tree Search & Rescue), Access Fund, and Friends Of Joshua Tree. The park also benefited with many volunteer hands in the nursery, working on erosion control and campground improvements. Past Climb Smart Funds have been used to purchase radios and gear for JOSAR, make and maintain needed website improvements, acquire presentation hardware, support AF initiatives in and around Joshua Tree, and even buy a used rescue vehicle. Scott Fischer, Joshua Tree National Park Service Climbing Ranger, greeted everyone at Saturday night’s gathering and shared some important numbers on visitation and accidents, with an enthused and humorous approach. He said over 50% of accidents in the park involved non-climbers….no surprise to climbers, but important for NPS to recognize. The raffle and silent auction were, as usual, monstrous, and the live auction included weekend and full week vacation getaways in the gateway area to JTNP. Thanks and Congratulations were offered to the winners, who got away with excellent deals on piles of great gear from many top brands of the outdoor industry. If you’re interested in Joshua Tree climbing or getting involved with the Friends Of Joshua Tree for future events, visit http://www.friendsofjosh.org to learn more and see the pics.