The fourth spot on our hit list is Joe’s Valley. After now having climbed there for the first time, I find it near-sacrilege that we’ve lived in the west for over a decade (with the majority of that time bouldering exclusively) and never been. It’s awesome!
We arrived late day and spent the early evening driving around, jumping out of the van and running up to the boulders we’d picked out from the guide and/or videos. Conveniently, most were right near the road so it was easy to scope everything and decide which to attack the following day. As usual we had something like 8 different areas we wanted to squeeze into one day (and we typically average 4 per day…and that’s only if they’re fairly close to one another).
The following day we of course got sucked into some goodies that took longer than planned to send. One in particular that I DIDN’T send after sacrificing two (or was that THREE??!!!) precious hours on, Kill By Number, V5. And then on our way to our planned climbs we’d of course see something else that we’d want to get on. And then the more we looked at the guide the more we wanted to get on too. So we pretty much finished up our one “Joe’s Day” with even more climbs on our wish list than when we started.
But only one climb in particular stood out that was enough to make us extend our Joe’s Valley stay another day; extending it another day such that we’re going to have no choice but to eliminate one of our other destinations later in the trip. The climb was just THAT GOOD: Vertical Ice, v6.
Early morning at our campsite at the Joe’s Valley reservoir. We were the only campers there. Beloved solitude once again.
Welcome to Joe’s Valley. Warming up at the Riverside boulders in the Left Fork.
Paul ticks off Kelly’s Arete, v5 at Riverside. One of those “not in the game plan” problems.
..and then ticks off Big Joe, v7 across the road. Another “not in the game plan” climb. See how easily we get off track? So many good boulders to climb!
Ok, so this one was on the original hit list: The classic Wills of Fire, v6. I’m going to brag about Paul just a tad here. The prior weekend’s state-wide torrential downpour pretty much obliterated Joe’s Valley. The canyon hillsides were mudslides. The edges of the road washed away in a few spots. And unfortunately, a lot of the boulders were covered in mud and sand. This one included. I took one look at it and it’s already high and slopey topout and immediately declined even attempting it. Paul however wasn’t phased. He climbed right up, sandy slopey high topout and all.
Moving on down the Left Fork to the Mine Cart boulders
My first nemesis of the trip: Kill By Number, V5. This is the thing we spent waaaay tooo long at as I fell off the grovely heel-hooky slopey topout at least a half-dozen times. Hey?! I’m a Hueco climber! I need actual topout holds okay?! (This move shown here in the pic was rad, btw)
Back at camp, where the decision has been made to spend another day just so we can climb the problem Vertical Ice, v6 since we couldn’t fit it in today
The next morning near the approach to Vertical Ice. Now, this climb wasn’t it our book. It’s a climb I saw on uTube that I just had to check out and I was able to gather enough clues on the web to get us there. It’s located way up the Right Fork, way beyond all the other areas. So far up the canyon that it actually snowed on us while we were there. Here is where we parked.
And here we are hiking in
Or shall I say, up?
A handful of boulders on the approach make for a nice warm-up
Paul snags a send of Baldwin Bash, v7, another climb I saw on uTube
And there it is, the Vertical Ice boulder. Was I not kidding that this is a beauty of a climb?!
The opening moves of Vertical Ice, v6. The striking line, the fall colors, the little snowflakes in the air, can this day be any more perfect?
Oh yes it can. My send of Vertical Ice, v6
Fueled with motivation from the morning’s alpine feats, we decide to squeeze in a few more that day before saying good bye to Joe’s. We first made a quick stop at Pimper’s Paradise, v5. The boulder was on a hillside so steep though it wasn’t very kid friendly so Paul sent first try, I tried it maybe twice and then we moved on to the Buoux Area. Paul shown here atop the four-star Buoux Problem, v3
…followed by me.
And then The Bowling Ball, v4 to finish it off
We’ll be back Joe’s Valley!
posted by arr
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