Splitter weather
Splitter Weather on Yasmine Bleeth (5.9)

In rock climbing, the word “splitter” is used to describe a perfect, clean crack.  A splitter crack usually means great climbing.  Climbers also use the word to describe all things awesome.  Blake and I just finished a 6 day trip to Joshua Tree National Park that was splitter in just about every way.

Splitter weather!  On our last trip to JTree in January we spent a lot of time shivering at belays due to cold temps and high winds.  This time we had no wind, highs in the 60’s, and cloudless skies.  It’s pretty nice to climb in a t-shirt in December.

Splitter accommodations!  We usually stay in a (cheap) motel on climbing trips but this time we rented a small house located just outside the park entrance.  It was a cool modern/industrial design with a gourmet kitchen and hot tub.  Sunset was around 5pm each day, so it was nice to have a comfortable place to hang out in the evenings.

Our Home for the Week


Small and Simple

Splitter food!  Joshua Tree is what some folks would call a “granola” community.  As Blake says, the hippies at Jtree make other hippies look like yuppies.  One of the benefits of this is that most of the restaurants serve fantastic healthy (and mostly vegan/organic) food.  Within a half mile of our house were several great restaurants and a natural food market.  Our favorite is Natural Sisters Cafe – we stopped there every day after climbing to get the Rock Climber Smoothie.  There is also a great pizza joint called Pie for the People.  Their gluten free veggie pizza might be the best I’ve had anywhere.

Sandwich from Natural Sisters Cafe

Veggie Sandwich from Natural Sisters Cafe


You can’t buy this at Tom Thumb!  My New Favorite Cereal (and it lives up to its name).

Splitter climbing!  With over 7000 routes, there is enough climbing at JTree for a lifetime.  We stuck to the “mega-classics” – three and four star routes.  That meant we had to move around a lot, so our daily pitch count wasn’t very high but we made up for it in quality (and difficulty).  JTree is notorious for sandbagged ratings and runout slab climbing.  5.7’s will keep your attention and 5.10 slab climbing feels desperate and scary.  My main objective for the trip was Illusion Dweller, a long, beautiful crack on The Sentinel.  Blake and I both onsighted it and I got a great video of Blake fighting through the overhanging finish.  We joked that it was the first ascent of the route by an offensive lineman.  My other favorites were Sail Away, Ace of Spades, Ball Bearing, and Bird of Fire.  The only downside to the climbing at Jtree is that the routes are short – almost all single pitch under 100 feet.  I prefer long multi-pitch routes, but in the winter JTree is one of the only reliable climbing options.

photo 4

Blake on P1 of the Stellar Route Ball Bearing

Our tick list:


4 thoughts on “Splitter

  1. Pingback: SoCal Road Triplet | Finding Balance

  2. Pingback: Blown Away at Red Rocks | Finding Balance

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