Eighteen Hours in Joe’s Valley, Utah!

The plan was to head to Bishop for the second part of our trip to Red Rocks, and when that fell through we needed another option. He had been to Joe’s once before after a conference in Salt Lake City, and raved about it for years after. Since it was only 5 hours away, we rented a car for two days and decided to give it a go. The bouldering in Red Rocks was great, but some new scenery would do us some good.

We arrived late afternoon around 3pm. It was much chillier than Red Rocks, but warmer in the sun. We took our little rental Hyundai Accent up to New Joe’s, nearly ripping off the bottom of our car. Probably not the best choice of vehicle for the terrain – next time we’ll know. The parking lot was full – no compacts in sight. Having been here before, Seb knew exactly what we should get on which really helped us make the best use of our time. We went to the Closet area, and I got on Pimpin’ Jeans V4 and Bad Genes V3. If you’ve ever seen that boulder, you know that there are so many route possibilities, so I decided to climb pretty well every variation on there. I also climbed a few easier problems (V0 – V2) on some other boulders in that area and loved every one of them.

Top left: Pimpin’ Jeans V4 / Top Right: Resident Evil V10 / Bottom left: Kill By Numbers V5 / Bottom right: Worm Turns V11

With the sun about to set, Seb got on Resident Evil V10 and sent it in a few tries! There was a big crowd working it as we got there, but they quickly filed out once we started setting up. It’s a beautiful problem, and it was so cool to see him get it. With just half an hour before losing the sun, he opted to give Black Lung V13 a try with Alex Puccio’s beta loaded on his phone. It’s an ambitious problem with just a few really hard moves. He gave it a good go, but it’ll be a problem worth coming back to in the future. We had a real tough time finding a spot to camp, but ended up finding a nice spot near the fork with no one around us. Score!

Busy place + cool sign marked by lots of visitors!

The next morning we went for Left Fork so we could get on some more hard classics. It was still quite chilly in the morning for my liking so started off with Worm Turns V11 which Seb ended up sending. Big Joe V7 kicked my butt, and I couldn’t commit/didn’t have the strength to pull the cross into the small pocket. But, I still loved working it. Seb did the extended version of Big Joe which turns into Nerve Extension V10. The last move was quite dynamic, even for him, and it was so neat to watch. Just before we left I got on Kill by Numbers V5 and ended up getting it after figuring out some beta. I really enjoyed working that route, and it was the perfect way to end our little visit.

Next time I really want to get back to Big Joe V7 and actually try Planet of the Apes V7. The problems here are so fun to climb – I really didn’t expect to enjoy these problems so much. I can see now why it’s so popular. And in true climbing fashion, it’s in the middle of nowhere.

little car – big boulders!

Highlights of the trip:

  • Nearly running out of gas on the way home and having to coast about 20 miles with the car, radio and AC off.
  • “Bush whacking” through boulders with vague Mountain Project descriptions in search of problems. They really need to re-print the guide book.
  • Free camping so close to the boulders.
  • Talking to so many new people, even some Canadians from the west coast!
  • The 1 minute approach to nearly everything. Gotta love it.

Thanks for the good time, Joe. You’ve got some mighty fine boulders. I’ll definitely be back. 🙂

Climb on xx