It all began with a dreary midnight drive through the nothingness of rural Utah. We arrived in Joe’s Valley after a brief stint in Moe’s Valley that left us eager for cooler temperatures and a landscape with more than just blistering sand. It was dark when we pulled up to camp, so I was elated to wake up on the first morning surrounded by tall pine trees, snow patches, and a gushing river that snakes through the left fork of the valley.
I didn’t do much sending during the first week due to my tweaky tendon, but just getting to explore the incredible valley was enough to keep my spirits lifted. Our old housemate Bo was with us for the first few days, and another Tally Rock Gym-er, Bryan Cox, drove out from his new home in Salt Lake City to join us during that first week as well. Even better than the climbing was getting to watch all the fellas reunite.
We broke up our three weeks in Joe’s Valley with a weekend in Salt Lake City, and a quick escape to Moe’s Valley for two days while the temperature dropped down to single digit wind chills in Joe’s – but every time we left for a bit, we felt a persistent urge to return to the valley. So, we kept coming back.
There were many highlights for the crew during our long climbing sessions at Joe’s Valley, including a very successful Easter Sunday where Niko sent his first V10, and I climbed V6, 5, and 4 all within two or three attempts. Our lady friend Emily sent her first V7, and many more projects were ticked off all our lists. I also had an awesome experience flashing a V5 for the first time, which I totally did not expect to happen. Here are a few of the highlight shots from the past few weeks:
And a few more..
My favorite climbs at Joe’s Valley were two V5s that offer a style of climbing not often encountered at this climbing destination full of face and mostly vertical climbs. The first send, Self Service, is a beautiful line in the New Joe’s area that follows big holds through big movements up to a committing top-out. I’d call it a bit soft for the grade, but a blast nonetheless.
I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to send Self Service when I first hopped on it – one of the first moves is a left-hand reach up to a crimpy edge, and my tendon was still aching like crazy, plus my still-sprained ankle was NOT happy with the heel hook beta I originally tried. Eventually, I found my own beta, muscled up a bit, and pulled off the send.
The second favored send was possibly my hardest personal triumph in climbing thus far. The problem, Kill By Numbers, is an outstandingly burly V5 with gnarly heel hooks, strong arête slopers, and a big first move that required some serious lady beta for me. I spent days working it, with two days of many attempts, followed by two days of “oh man my butt hurts,” and one “today is the day” attitude that led to a send on the first go during a fresh day. I think it may just be my proudest send of all time – it feels even more earned because of all the work I had to put into it.
Thus far, we’ve spent the majority of our time at Joe’s Valley in the company of our friends Zach, Emily, and Angus – two of which had to return home to Minnesota, and one who headed out to the Red Rock Rendevouz in Nevada. We ended up spending a total of 30 days traveling with Zach and Emily, from Hueco Tanks to Red Rocks to Moe’s and Joe’s Valleys. It was an incredible experience meeting them and becoming a little family on the road together. As for Angus, well, the kid can crush, as you’ll see in this awesome Joe’s Valley bouldering video he recently posted (and he’s as sweet as he is strong).
It was a sad moment when we all parted ways. The crew spent our last evening together huddled around a campfire, roasting marshmallows and drinking the only full-proof beer we could get our hands on in this little Utah town. In the morning, we all scattered to our respective “final projects” in the valley, and bid our final farewells.
After a few days on our own in the valley, we met Spenser and Vikki from The RV Project, and have been camping, climbing, shooting footage, and hangin’ ever since. Meeting them has totally reinvigorated our stoke on climbing at Joe’s Valley. We were originally planning on leaving Joe’s Valley to check out other areas, but have decided to come back to the area for a bit after we do a little bit of sport climbing in Moab this week.
Come back tomorrow to read more about why we’re coming back, and Niko’s V7 first ascent!
And, since I’m in such a sharing mood, check out this still we pulled of Niko climbing Resident Evil (V10). We’ll have an awesome video coming out sometime this week, featuring some of my favorite Joe’s Valley climbs, with a few bonus sends from Moe’s Valley and Red Rocks!