Posts Tagged ‘tweetup’

5th Annual JTree Tweetup is Coming Up! (Thank Goodness the Parks Re-Opened)

Monday, October 28th, 2013

jtreetweetup5I can hardly believe it, it’s going to be the FIFTH Annual JTree Tweetup this year!

While the Government shutdown made me miss out on a 7 day trip in Yosemite, I’m so glad we didn’t have to have anyone cancel plane tickets for the JtreeTweetup!

The official dates are November 8-11, 2013 but we have folk arriving as early as November 5th and leaving as late as November 14th. The Jtree Tweetup is a fun event that sprung from an casual conversation on Twitter among #climb members and soon became an annual event with climbers who have come from across the US and even from Canada. You can still sign up on the wiki page here.


In honor of us reaching our 5th year, I can confirm a new sponsor, Goal Zero, makers of excellent solar equipment for the adventurer! They will be providing light and power for base camp via Light-a-Life lights, a solar panel and a battery from which we can charge cell phones, etc. and they have also provided a VIP kit (only 500 of these were made) to be given away at the event! The package contains a Nomad 7, a Switch 8, and a Limited Edition Rock Out 2 speaker!

So, aside from all the fun, climbing and meeting/making old/new friends, that’s another reason to come out to the desert in November, you just might be the lucky winner and win an awesome solar kit!

To keep up to date on more sponsors and trip details, create an account on the climbingtweetup wiki page and add your name to the 5th Annual JtreeTweetup page.

Trip Report – 2nd Annual Jtree Tweetup, Joshua Tree National Park

Thursday, November 18th, 2010
Just some of the gang! Thursday morning

Just some of the gang! Thursday morning

Last year I helped organize something I optimistically called the 1st Annual Jtree Tweetup. Climbers from all over the US and Canada came, we had a great time and I’d call it a success. But to really make it earn its name we had to have a 2nd Annual Jtree Tweetup right?


The plan was similar to last year, in fact scheduling worked out that we chose the same Veteran’s Day week / weekend. I was able to convince a local climbing friend of mine [Michael, who is now on Twitter as @ride395] to come out on Tuesday of that week to help me get some campsites. Fortunately a number of folks were arriving Wednesday as well to help hold down the fort.

So how’d it go? Well here’s a smattering of what I learned:

You don’t have to go to Griffith Park to experience Laserium or to a remote telescope station to view stars, nebulas and detailed views of the moon. Thanks for this discovery goes to Rick (@Jetforme) and his wonderful lasers and telescope and to Dave (@dmasten) for his Pink Floyd loaded iPhone and to both of them plus Aleya (@Blueskeyes207) for their space knowledge.

Patrick (@patrickgensel aka Shoeless Joe) has both good and bad luck. He left his climbing shoes in two different places this trip but got them back. He also left his camerabag with his SLR and phone in it in a car he was hitching a ride in (in the park). It was not recovered while we were in the park but we took him to fill out a form with the rangers and he got a call Monday that the park had it.

The Palm Springs airport is kinda nice.

The Thai place Urban Spoon recommends in Palm Springs is not open anymore.

Royal Siam Thai Food in Joshua Tree is not open on Tuesdays. [of note, at last year’s Jtree Tweetup we learned that Crossroads is not open on Wednesdays].

I’m not bad at this guiding thing but a big group with mixed climbing and Joshua Tree experience can tax the planning brain.

As an event organizer, a chart showing names, approximate arrival times and cars is not too nerdy to have.

Climbing the Manure Pile rock formation (the one the campsites in Ryan Campground are situated around) is fun at night. [Thanks Petzl Tikka Plus 2 and CORE system – review to come!]

Clif Shot flavors with “+ Caffeine” work well for fending off migraines.

I can lead Vorpal Sword with style (once the migraine goes away).

Handwarmers are pretty cool things and I don’t know why I didn’t think about bringing them to Jtree before.

Clif Luna bars with giant matches (provided by nice neighbors who left camp early and gave us stuff) make a cute Birthday Cake for Laurel (@mtsquirrel) [we also said Happy Belated to Adrienne (@adrienneknits)].

You can never have enough firewood in Joshua Tree in November.

Empty boxes of stuff sponsors provided can tide over a fire while someone gets more firewood. Thanks Clif Bar, Action Wipes, Boulder Canyon, Coach’s Oats you kept us from freezing! Thanks also goes to Eastern Mountain Sports but don’t worry, we didn’t burn the hats or stickers 😛

Speaking of sponsors, I learned we should also do plugs for Tweetup goers with our own climbing/outdoors related businesses: Me! (casual clothing, gifts, various water bottles, license plate frames, yoga mats, etc). George (Backclip: a climbing information website ). Aleya (cool climbing nut jewelry, website to come?). Bill (Urbanski Farms, website to come?)

Even if your throat hurts, it’s still worth it to join in on a song you know when it’s being played on the ukelele.

When on the “reach challenged” 1st crux of Gunsmoke do not: 1. Make a comment to strangers about your chalk bag being your “spot of color” after they’ve called you a Ninja. 2. Listen to your friends when they are describing your climbing with animal terms and one of them says “giraffe”. Doing either may result in FOTCL (Falling Off The Climb Laughing).

A cold Sigg water bottle placed on the head makes a decent migraine distraction, though not so much a stylish hat.

I should take my own advice and drink more water and wear more sunscreen.

I should check all the pockets and folds in all my bags that I brought in case the Flip MinoHD I thought I forgot… is actually there.

No two Tweetups are the same but they all have something special.

Climbers who are on Twitter are pretty darn interesting.

I think there is a demand for the 3rd Annual JtreeTweetup…

List of climbing areas visited during the 2nd Annual JtreeTweetup:

  • Ryan Campground
  • Real Hidden Valley
  • Hidden Valley Campground
  • Atlantis Wall
  • Lost Horse
  • Barker Dam (Gunsmoke)
  • Echo Cove

Pics from my cameras (mostly taken by me, those with me in them have the photographer noted in the captions).

Ginger Cracks Video – #RRTweetup Red Rocks, NV 2010

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Just a casual video. Bit of the approach, climb & view.

Bonus points if you can name the music.

Ginger Cracks – Red Rocks Nevada from rockgrrl on Vimeo.

Red Rocks, Nevada #RRtweetup Climbing Trip April 2010

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Checking a guidebookSometimes the weather forecast lies.

I looked at my calendar and the bright red rectangular banner that said “Red Rocks Tweetup Trip” it had changed a bit, gotten longer, gotten shorter, had names added, removed and added again; but it had been there for a while.

I looked at the weather report. Rain it said. Rain in Red Rocks, home of sandstone rocks. Guidebooks and websites said that one should allow 1-2 days of drying time for the rock after a rain, some said 3 days if it was a heavy rain. There was a chance we’d drive 5.5 hours one way and arrive in the rain. A 60% chance according to the forecast. And if it rained hard we could be spending our 3 days in Nevada on the Vegas strip or indoors until leaving on Sunday to drive back home. Our friend Katie (@katiebeth) would be driving even further as after our place she’d still have about 4 hours to go.

We decided to hedge our bets and get some climbing in locally while seeing how the weather panned out. This time the lie was on our side. We got one drop of rain and blue skies. We took that as a good sign that the rain in Nevada would be equally light. Thursday we left for Red Rocks, Nevada with a thoroughly packed car.


What’s a Tweetup? A meeting of folks who use Twitter is a loose interpretation. In the case of the climbing community on Twitter it has come to mean a climbing trip meet up. Our packed car with 3 passengers and a ton of gear of all sorts, was just one car in a small group. We arrived in Red Rocks in the late afternoon/early evening and  looked around the regular campsite for Josh (@joshuamontague) and his girlfriend Sarah. No one in our car load had met them in person but we knew they were there as they had taken the whole week to camp. We failed to find them and also failed at first to find our group campsite.  Eventually we found it, set up, went out for groceries, came back and then folks started arriving (including Josh and Sarah). It was a strange reunion for most of us, we had the feeling of meeting old friends even though many of us had only met in person one other time at the first #climb Tweetup trip. Of the Thursday night group we had only 4 newcomers, Josh, Sarah, Peter (@pwcarey) and Adrienne (@adrienneknits). Tacklehugs flew fast and furious.


Friday we hit the 2nd pullout of Red Rocks. Our objective: Magic Bus. Unfortunately I had left one of my rock shoes back at camp. K and I would have to catch up. Those who are familiar with Red Rocks know that this isn’t just a quick drive back to camp, once you get into the Red Rocks area you are on a 13 mile, one way scenic loop road. We decided to stop at one of the view spots so I could take some shots of the view as I could already tell I’d not get a chance to catch them with the right light the rest of the trip (I was right). So once I grabbed my other shoe we went back to the pull out and hiked in. About halfway in K realized he’d left his shoes in the car. I stayed with his heavy backpack (he’d brought the trad rack as well as sport rack) and he ran back for them.

Needless to say, we didn’t catch up to the group until they were nearly done with the climbs at Magic Bus. I was there in time to see Katie do her hardest sport lead yet though (go girl!). I got one lead, one onsight and some topropes in. Unfortunately we had both photographers climbing at the same time, so no pics of me on the sharp end. After K and I finished with Magic Bus we headed out to Stonewall, where we’d been told everyone else had been heading.

We found it after some scrambling and saw Josh  and Sarah there, they asked us where the rest of the gang was. “We thought they were with you?” They were also leaving since Stonewall was in the shade and they had gotten cold. Kelly and I went up there to find a party of three just coming off of a 10d sport route and transitioning over to a 10c. We noticed they were all bundled up and one of them had gone off on top of a ramp to sit in the sun. Kelly set out to onsight the 10d with me belaying. It was cold in the shade and the little breezes were getting more frequent and colder as the sun headed down. We didn’t stay long.

We checked in at camp and found folks had already eaten, we set out to get dinner groceries and more water but ended up eating at an Islands restaurant. Great burgers. Sometimes it’s nice to have a camping area really close to a city. After burgers it was back to camp for campfire time.


K and I had discussed doing a multipitch route while at Red Rocks, since that’s what the place is really known for. However ones we had our eyes on were described as being in the shade. Fortunately Katie had run into a climber while we were at the super market on Thursday who suggested Ginger Cracks as a sunny, 5.9 multipitch trad route. We had checked it out in the guidebook Friday night between campfire hilarity and it seemed doable. Yet, Saturday morning we still weren’t committed as there was a question of who was going. In the end we went as a party of 3, K, Chad (@chadcat) and myself. Chad had arrived by himself in the wee hours of the night and was raring to go (he had multipitch experience).

On the ride to the parking area I checked the weather forecast, a high of 71 was predicted. It sounded like it was going to be nice! I also called the Red Rocks late exit number to leave our relevant information in case we weren’t out of the park by 8:00 PM. This option is only available for folks doing multi-pitch climbs (with some additional restrictions) and if you don’t do this you will get a parking ticket.

Ginger Cracks

The approach according to the guidebook was to be one hour. We started off in great weather, first downhill then on a flat sandy trail, then crossing a stream with croaking frogs before heading up hill again. It was warm and beautiful out. The trail kept going though and soon we had to pay close attention to cairns and footholds as we scrambled on small boulders and loose trail. Nearing the base of our climb we noticed a party of two on it, about a pitch up. Unfortunately we also heard voices coming from our left, possibly heading for Ginger Cracks as well. I decided to put on some steam and scrambled up a rock ramp and then up a steep hill to the base to claim it for our group. There wasn’t much need it seemed as the other group seemed to have veered off.

There was a slight problem though, the approach had taken us longer than an hour, so time was not on our side. We guessed that the hour estimation may have been for wherever that other party had started. It had taken us at least an hour and a half. In the interest of speed K proposed that he lead the first pitch instead of myself as I had been getting ready to do. I agreed though thought perhaps I could lead later.

The pitches were long. The first included hand sized cracks but also a strange person-swallowing crevice and a sharp flake. It was a pleasure to feel the soft sandstone with a hand jam. The belay had anchor bolts, something I hadn’t expected.

We were all climbing well but it was evident that we were going to be pressed to beat the clock. Unfortunately it was also soon evident that the climb was NOT going to get any sun on it. The rock was finger numbingly cold. And though, as the middle climber I ended up constantly in motion (either belaying or climbing and cleaning with a rope tail attached to me) I still shivered and thought longingly of my down jacket at the base of the climb. At least I had a Windstopper jacket and light wool shirt though.

The second pitch had what was described as a “step across” to get on another face. I made a mental note to not lead this climb unless I had a tall person with me, or perhaps a shorter 5.12 climber.

K ended up running parts of the third and 4th pitch together which included the 5.9 section of the climb.
The result was a very fun but long and tiring “pitch”. As a group we decided to bail from the top of the 4th pitch as we still had much to go and also because all we had left to climb was a 5.6 pitch, a 4th class section and a 5.8 pitch described as having something like “less than stellar rock”.

At that point I was relieved K had suggested going back, I had started to have uncomfortable flash backs to our East Face of Mt. Whitney climb. Apparently he had too and even brought up that he had said he didn’t want to cut it that close again. We were hardly in the same situation (and thousands of feet lower in elevation) but it was still the right move. We had all done the hardest pitches of the climb, and had a lot of fun doing it. The climbing had been varied, long and interesting. Aside from the parts I already described, there had also been a layback / chimney section and a face section which I liked.

We set off to rappel. Of course the very first rap, one of our ropes got stuck. We got it out and then continued down. It was a reminder though, that Red Rocks is known for problematic raps. At the base of the climb we had one last stuck rope but fortunately it came out with an additional tug.

We managed to do the most difficult parts of the hike out while there was still light, but did the easier parts by headlamp light. We got to the car just in the nick of time though,  as the wind had started to really howl.

The temperature never did reach 71.

Easter Sunday

Sunday I had thought maybe we could get more climbs in. I was interested in more sport climbs, maybe getting more onsights in. The morning consisted of breaking down camp though. K and I had opted to sleep in the car as our tent was full of dust and the wind was fierce enough to collapse Chad’s tent. Then the camping group all went to Denny’s for brunch. After that it was time for us to head home in order to beat some traffic and get Katie back to our place in time for her to drive her own leg of the journey home and arrive at a reasonable hour.

I wished I had more time to climb and also hang out with everyone. I didn’t get to take nearly as many pictures as I wanted, give out as many hugs or pull on as much rock. However the winds picked up after we left making climbing conditions harsh enough that the remaining folks only got one climb in, so I guess our little car group did pretty darn good, weather conditions considering.

To all who went, it was fun to see you again and I wish I could’ve talked/climbed with each of you more! I also want to specifically say it was great meeting Greg, Christine, Josh, Sarah, Adrienne and Peter for the first time. I hope you guys become part of the “regulars” now. And to other #climb Twitter folks out there, I hope to see you in this list next time!

Link to my #rrtweetup photos on rockgrrl

Video from the Ginger Cracks day still to come.

Random quotes:

“We don’t really need shoes for this climb” – K
“While the other kids climbed the streets pretending to be He-Man, I saw myself as Captain Bacon!” – The Group (via Denny’s Madlibs)
“I’m not bringing my down jacket up. I hope this isn’t the scene with the forshadowing music” – Me
“Click!” – Katie

EDIT: Added slideshow

Get the flash player here:

#JTreeTweetup – Joshua Tree Tweetup 2009

Thursday, November 19th, 2009
#jtreetweetup folks on Stitcher Quits and Double Dip

#jtreetweetup folks on Stitcher Quits and Double Dip

Oh boy. How am I gonna start this?

Well first I’ll say, “We pulled it off!” We got 20+ folks in Joshua Tree National Park, many who had never been to it before and we didn’t lose, injure or maim anyone. Some may have left with an indelible impression but that can’t be helped.

Setting up the event was interesting, at first what seemed like a small group that might consist of  perhaps 4 more climbers just joining in with my usual climber crowd, soon ballooned into an interstate affair and then an international one. I was obviously going to do a little bit more campsite wrangling than on my usual trips.

At some point during the Tweetup I also decided that I’d try to get some sponsors. If folks were going to spend hours on planes and in cars to go to an unknown campground and spend time with strangers, I thought every little convenience would help and that it would be a unique opportunity for companies to reach climbers from all over. In the end Clif Bar sent us a big box with a variety of their products, from Clif Shot Bloks and Luna goodies, to their newest product, Clif Shot Roks. Martha of Action Wipes was also generous, sending a bunch of individually packaged (and reuseable) wipes. Lastly, and out of the blue, Matthew Walker of Inner Passage contacted me to send along Joshua Tree Products (and also Mountain Khaki deal cards which I surprised everyone with at the big campfire).

As far as Twitter attendance goes it went nearly exactly as folks had RSVPd. We had folks from Southern, Central and Northern California; from the Seattle, Washington area; from Philadelphia, PA; and from Vancouver, Canada and Montreal, Canada. Most of us had never met before in person but we each had at least a small sense of the others in the group due to our interactions on Twitter and because of blog posts.

My JTreeTweetup FlyerStill, even though I “knew” each of the attendees (though not their Significant Others or friends they were bringing) I was still nervous. I wanted everyone to have a good time and to hopefully show Joshua Tree in a good light to the newcomers.

My reward in the end was seeing people’s reactions to Joshua Tree and the Tweetup itself… and still seeing them reeling from the experience. To me my first Joshua Tree trip was what cemented climbing as part of my life. I’m glad to have shared a little bit of it with new found friends.

Day Summaries

Wednesday, November 11th – 1st Full Day of Climbing. Showed the early birds “Sail Away” and “Wild Wind” and also took them to Thin Wall to get them used to Joshua Tree rock without having to do Old School grades.  Two of my regular climbing group friends also joined us at both of these spots. Afterwards I needed to update the JTreeTweetup Hotline I’d set up so we all went into town where we tried to go to Crossroads but learned that they close on Wednesdays. We ended up at Sam’s Pizza AND Indian food, much to the amusement of many. A grocery run happened shortly afterwards.

Thursday, November 12th – Day 2. After being woken up by a two coyote chorus alarm, I took the now bigger group to Headstone Rock since we were all camped at Ryan Campground. Then folks split into groups but, quite remarkably, I was still able to see each of our parties due to a unique vantage point. I could see folks on “The Bong”, people on “Hobbit Roof”, and also folks on “Super Roof” even though they were in Steve’s Canyon. We climbed into the darkness that night. Afterwards everyone went to Crossroads where we got the patio (and a heater) to ourselves.

Friday, November 13th – Day 3. Hemingway Wall with the group, some led or followed, others bouldered near enough to the wall that we all erupted in cheers when we saw someone send a problem. I took two car loads of folks to Chimney Rock and showed them how to get into the “Space Station” via a chimney climb and a short friction down climb.

#jtreetweetup climbers all over Hemingway

#jtreetweetup climbers all over Hemingway

Saturday, November 14th – Day 4. The group went to the Barker Dam area, some climbing near Echo and others elsewhere. “Stitcher Quits”, “Double Dip”, “Touch and Go”, “Pope’s Crack”, some unknown 10b, “Heart and Sole”, “Face of Tammy Faye” and more were climbed. Some took a short trip to Gunsmoke.  We had the big bonfire at night with much sharing of various treats. Since the Seattle and Vancouver crew had to leave for a very early flight Sunday morning, this was the last time we’d all be together as a group in JTree. I said a few words and thanked our sponsors (and this is when I passed out the discount cards) and then I brought out the s’more supplies [I got the “surprise s’mores” idea from Kim Reynolds at Chicks Rock, thanks Kim!]. I also tried to herd the cats once more for a group picture. Results were mixed 😉 (see video)

Group Photo Outtakes – JTreeTweetup from rockgrrl on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 15th – Day 5. Early group bouldering at Gunsmoke then on to Atlantis Wall for some and an unknown climb in Hidden Valley campground for others. While at Gunsmoke we ran into a climbing ranger who had posted on the JTreeTweetup wiki page. She and another ranger were impressed with our group and we weren’t even all at Gunsmoke right then. After climbing, everyone had various run-ins with each other at Crossroads as this was the default food stop before folks got on the road (and for the Philly crew who were staying one more night, this was their dinner spot). I even saw some friends of mine there who had invited me out to Indian Creek this week, they had done a few routes there but retreated to Joshua Tree after getting snowed on.

Wrap Up

I don’t feel right yet writing a true “wrap up”. I don’t feel like I’m quite “back” from the trip yet. In fact, on Tuesday I climbed with David, our Quebec, Canada representative. He was still in Southern California visiting his sister so we met up at Malibu Creek State Park and did a few routes there (it was much warmer than at Joshua Tree).

And so I look at my pictures and the videos I shot and/or edited and feel I haven’t quite digested it all yet. I am a veteran now of meeting folks I’ve only known through online interactions, but I still rejoice that it can be done. And this wasn’t just a lunch or a cozy hotel convention, but camping out in a place with no water or food. Not only did these “strangers” spend their own time and money to fly and/or drive many hours to meet but they put their trust in someone who didn’t have a group campsite for them at first [I checked months ago but all group sites were booked up, by the way]. I had a plan, but really, if you haven’t been to JTree before how can you know things will work out?

So again to all who attended, I say, “Thank you for coming!”. And to Nina, Katie, Liz, and Kelly I say thank you for all your help with the event and site management! And additional thanks to Katie and Melinda (@unredacted) for getting the conversation going in the first place and pulling me in. Thanks as well to Luke and Lizzy for the great climbing beta (and thanks Luke for printing out my flyer design when my printer ran out of ink). To those of you in the Twitter #climb community who didn’t make it this time, rest assured you were spoken of fondly and we all hope you can make the next one!

List of JTreeTweetup Attendees, Roughly in Order of Appearance

I’ll do a separate post with more photos and videos.

Joshua Tree Tweet Up in November

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009


We’re doing it folks! Plans are made, flights are booked.

When: November 13 – 15th, 2009. (Though some are coming early)

Where: Joshua Tree National Park, California. Hidden Valley Campground is where we’ll be aiming for.

Who: Mainly members of the climbing community on Twitter but also some friends and family. Climbers of different interests and ability will be there.

What: Climbing, camping, talking, having fun!

Why: C L I M B (and community)

How: Any way we can. Because this began as a Twitter conversation between @katiebeth @unredacted and myself (@rockgrrl) it has been in the very informal stages for awhile, however @eleddy soon joined in and really stepped up to make a wiki and you can see more of the “How” there.

Everyone is responsible for their own gear however carpooling can be arranged via the wiki and the early birds will try to hold some campsites for the group.

If any companies would like to participate/sponsor, feel free to contact me, we have a great group going and this is a great chance to connect.