The Joshua Tree Traditional Climbing Interim
had its debut this winter. BJ Sbarra had been crafting the interim for a few years, wanting to fill a gap in the school’s climbing program. Student’s who go through the CRMS climbing program
gain strength, technique, competency in belaying, and even learn how to lead sport
climbs. The Joshua Tree Interim introduced placing traditional gear, building traditional anchors and rappelling off of the top of a climb. Most of the students on the trip were experienced climbers, preparing to leave CRMS for college or other adventures next year. The knowledge they gained on this interim will give them a leg up in their climbing careers once they leave the guidance of the climbing staff at CRMS. Additionally, it provided them with the ability to be more scrupulous and aware when climbing with new partners.
Students spent the week practicing placing passive and active gear while mock leading, as well as constructing a variety of anchors. Having three instructors, CRMS staff members BJ Sbarra and Jess Worley, as well as Joshua Tree Guide and CRMS alumnus Mike Donaldson '06, insured that each student received substantial individual attention and had many opportunities to have their gear placements and anchors evaluated.
Joshua Tree was a fantastic environment for a group of new trad climbers. Our group felt welcomed into the park and supported by the rangers and climbing stewards. On our last day, we got the chance to give back by doing a service project in the park. The students impressed the park rangers with their work ethic while lining a climbing trail with rocks to keep climbers and hikers from trampling plants outside the designated trail.
Overall the Joshua Tree Trip was a blast and a great learning experience. We look forward to building upon it for years to come!