Another weekend and another last minute camping trip. This time my friend Taylor invited Katya and I out to New jack City to camp and learn to rock climb. I’d climbed  a little bit in college but i didn’t really remember much, and Katya had never tried before, so we were both nervous but excited to give it a try.

I got home on Friday before Katya so I loaded up my car with everything we’d need for two nights in the desert. We packed up some clothes, hit the grocery store, then REI to get climbing harnesses. The drive from Rancho to New Jack City takes you up the 15, which on a Friday can be dicey. We hit a great deal of Vegas traffic, adding another thirty minutes, not too bad. The hardest part was finding the actually turn off for New Jack City, just looking for the correct mile marker and turning onto a dirt road. After a brief phone call with Taylor we found his campsite sometime after 9pm, glad to get out the car and get to camping. The campgrounds themselves were seriously packed. Taylor said he’s been here a lot and had never seen this many people here before. Luckily he snagged an nice spot, away from the rest of the campgrounds on the backslide of a large rocky outcrop, quiet and isolated. This was a good call for two reasons, one, we didn’t have to worry about loud neighbors, and two, we had three little kids with us, so they wont annoy any neighbors. We had a few beers by the fire, just enjoying the great weather, before heading to bed.

We rose early, the morning cold, the sun still low behind the mountains. We whipped up some breakfast, grabbed our gear, and headed out to find a good beginner’s spot. We hiked to a spot Taylor thought would work, and we gave it a try. It was a little more challenging then Taylor felt we could handle, so we walked around the area seeing if we bumped into anything. We ended up going by to our campsite and setting up rope there. Taylor showed us the basics of climbing and belaying, then had us climb a few feet then belay down. It took a bit to get the hang of it, but we had a blast, even if we only climbed less then 10 feet.

The day went by fast, filled with climbing, scrambling, tandem-unicycling, and hanging out with great people. Both Katya and I agree that climbing is something we’d love to start getting into. It’s both fun and challenging, plus it’s just another excuse to get outside and explore new places.

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