Saturday, 28 November 2009


The Food Ranch

Orangeville is the closest town to Joe's Valley. It is the home of the Food Ranch where you could buy food, petrol and guns, it is also where I washed for most of the time I was there and most importantly it was a good place to get a hot drink and sit in the warmth.

Although very much (for want of a better word) a Hick town, it is one of the friendliest places I have ever been. Every single person was incredibly welcoming and always keen to chat. They were continually amazed at all these climbers coming from far and wide to visit their small town and play on rocks.

One very cold and snowy Friday we took shelter in the one and only pub in the county called Chicks Rock and Roost. We initially went to get warm and play some pool but ended up staying for about 7 hours and having a very pleasant time being bought lots of drinks by the locals. An excellent time was had. Many would not have survived the amount of alcohol consumed were it not for the 3.2% Utah beer. I however was quite chirpy due to the tequilla and sprite!

We also took shelter for much of our rest days in the local library where you could chill out all day use the internet and the bathrooms for free. Awesome!

Dining area

Spot the Black Diamond poster

Main street Orangeville



Wide streets

Friday, 27 November 2009

So long Utah. Till the next time.

Home, sometimes not so cosy.

Well once again it has been too long since I last updated, but this nomadic lifestyle is just so busy that it is hard to keep up with the demands of modern technology. What have I been doing? Trying to keep warm for the most part as it has been so cold, I think, if my conversions are correct I reckon it has been as cold as -10c some nights and in the shade of the canyons it has felt like that during the day also, and as many of you may be aware I do not deal well with the cold, especially when I am trying to climb. These cold desert conditions have made me realise that a four season tent is really needed, not only to keep the dust out, but to keep you slightly warmer. What else? We think we had a mountain lion snooping around camp on a few nights. We did not actually see the cat but we saw eye reflections in our headlamps and rather large paw prints quite close by in the mornings. I will not lie, I was quite scared and even more scared after people started recalling tales of mountain lion attacks, bear attacks etc around the camp fire. I decided that my best form of defence was a no drinking of any liquids after 8pm approach, in the hope that it reduced my chances of having to get out my tent for a pee in the middle of the night. Apparently you are your most vulnerable in the squatting position! Not good for hydration but reduced the risk of a mauling. Although apparently it is possible with a little practice for women to also use a gatorade or similar wide mouthed bottle in emergencies, so I may give it a try!

I have now left Utah and the amazing boulders of Joe's Valley and am currently living the life of luxury in LA again for some warmth and hopefully a little spot of indoor training before heading to Bishop, California, for some tricky granite rock. I had mixed emotions about leaving Joes, firstly I could not believe that I had been there for nearly 40 days and I think i had hoped that I would achieve so much more in that amount of time, so I suppose I was kind of sad to leave with so many unfinished problems. That being said I had an enormous amount of fun and completed many excellent climbs. The thing that I find hardest when on an extended trip like this is that you do have to rest, even if you do not feel physically tired from the climbing the camping and all that goes with it is tiring in itself. I also found that my skin just could not cope without some time to heal, all of which I found to be quite frustrating. What I do know is that I have unfinished business in Joe's and hope that at some point I will be able to return and kick ass. It is an amazing venue and I wish it was my local area.

Here are a few random photos.

Home in the snow!

A big hack in my thumb. Pretty.

Split tip.

Thin skin.

Sharka the wonder dog.

Michaelangelo (V3). High but groovy.

The down climb, scary.

Wes considering the down climb.

Kelsey on Wills a fire V6. One of my unfinished projects.

All photos by Caroline Harvey

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Skin so S**t

Firstly apologies for the lack of any photos with this post, soon I promise.

I am sadly having to take another rest day today because the skin on my finger tips is getting too thin. I took a day off on Monday, then climbed yesterday and now have to take another day off today. This is frustrating as I do not feel too tired from the climbing it is just that I can not hold on to anything because my skin hurts. It seems to be one of the biggest problems with many climbers who just have soft skin, but there is no real solution to toughening it up. I should probably wait until it is properly healed but at the rate that I heal that would take far too long and time is too precious for that, as I seem to be gathering unfinished boulder problems at quite a rate. Some of these admittedly are due to lack of physical strength, technique, height, reach and a million other excuses rather than skin, but frustrating all the same. I seem to have been here in Joe's a while now and my tick list is not as extensive as I maybe first hoped it would be. i hope that over the next few weeks I can go back and put a few of my "still to finish" list to rest.

All is not lost on these rest days though as tis morning I went for a short run with another climber girl, Kelsey, and then cam into town for a spit and polish in the Food Ranch sink, so now I feel all pretty and cleanish again.

On another subject I had a good weekend as my friend Sarah was in the Valley for the weekend and it was a great surprise to see her. As usual Sarah was super psyched and strong and made swift work of quite a few of the problems that I have been working on and more. Sadly she had to leave on the Sunday evening and is flying back home to the UK on Thursday. Short but sweet visit, but good fun with lots of giggles. Thanks Sarah.

Hopefully I will be able to hold on to some of this excellent sandstone again tomorrow and with any luck send something groovy