JOSHUA Tree March 2014

the Joshua Tree

  1. -name sake of the park

  2. -named by Mormon pioneers

  3. -not a “tree” by scientific standards

  4. -plant is a fruit bearing lily

The Joshua Tree Geologic Story

The modern geologic story of Joshua tree began one hundred million years ago when magma cooled beneath the earth’s surface creating an igneous rock called granite.  This granite was squeezed together and metamorphosed around joints in the rock creating gneiss.  Water gradually eroded rectangular stones and smoothed out the rock into amazing structures. (the reason J-Tree is a world destination for rock climbers) There are over one hundred faults, or cracks, in the rock at Joshua Tree National park.  These faults are created from the movement of the rocks; one of these is the San Andreas Fault, that can be seen on the south side of the park.  Many visitors to J-Tree report feeling small earthquakes while visiting the park.

G4S J-Tree Team

Audra Lehrke

Health/PE Teacher

CW Middle School

Justin Ratzlaff

Bike Shop Owner


Why Joshua Tree?

Go4theSummit is changing gears a bit and not only exploring a new destination, but a new style of climbing.  We are heading into the world of technical climbing in a place called Joshua Tree.  Joshua Tree is an icon within the American climbing scene and a “MUST GO” destination for any well-rounded climber. 

Joshua Tree National park, located in south central California, is a world-class climbing destination that offers 400+ climbing formations that have over 8,000 designated climbing routes to explore.  These routes are not the typical “mountaineering” routes (multi day treks) that Go4theSummit is used to, but a place full of short technical climbing challenges. Technical Rock Climbing? Yep, this trip will have the guys (and gal) hanging off of sheer rock faces by ropes, the more “Stereotypical” rock climbing seen in the movies and on magazine covers.

During our time at the Tree, our G4S team will be testing our climbing skills on two different types of routes, Sport and Trad.  Both Sport and Trad climbing involves highly specific equipment and knowledge, in order to protect the climbers from falling.  The J-Tree team has spent the past two years practicing weekly at a local indoor climbing gym and on a variety of outdoor MN crags.  This trip is our first BIG TIME technical climbing adventure, with many more sure to follow.

Louis Patton

Business Analyst

Target Corp.

Christian Gilbert

Geography Teacher

CW Middle School

Joshua Tree National Park

What is Traditional Climbing?

TRAD (Traditional) climbing is basically “kickin in old school” in the world of climbing.  In this form of rock climbing, the climber places gear to protect from a fall.  It all started with using “pitons” hammered into the rock as anchors.  “Nuts” from old machinery and train tracks were then added to the gear list.  By anchoring them in cracks and between rocks, they are able to hold the rope and the climber during a fall.  These tools have evolved into climbing gear that is safer, lighter and more versatile.  With many sizes of nuts and adjustable protection called “cams,” climbers are able to further the boundaries of human exploration.


Technical: a climbing route that requires use of a rope to protect the climber from falling

Protection: pieces of hardware (cams, nuts, chalks) that are placed in rock cracks to hold the climbing rope to the wall

What is Sport Climbing?

Sport climbing is “new school” and has grown in popularity since the mid-1980s.  Sport climbing involves climbing routes that have permanent bolts on the rock face that follow the climb’s route.  The climber follows these bolts, anchoring the rope to the bolt with a piece of gear called a quick-draw. 


Quick-draws: a technical climbing tool that uses basically a piece of webbing between 2 carabineers

Nuts (passive pro)

non-Locking Carabiner

Locking Carabiner

Cams (active pro)


Sport Climb “Bolt”

Bolt with Quickdraw

FYI - “pro” = protection

Belay Device (ATC)

Alpine Draw

“dynamic” Climbing Rope

Tools of the Trade...

All Shot of Team were taken at Vertical Endeavors Climbing Facility in Minneapolis