Trip Report
Back in the TR Saddle (The Ol 45 Club Hits the Desert, Gets Lost, Then Found Again)
Monday April 30, 2018 4:18pm
Its 286.8 miles and three alpine zones from my driveway to Lone Pine, California. I haven't written a TR for a while but this trip just begged to be written up. It was Macronut's birthday and he wanted to get away from it all and head to the desert. By Thursday afternoon we had the truck packed with chips, salsa, dirtbikes, climbing gear and firewood. What more do a bunch of dudes in their mid 40's need?
#junkshow
#junkshow
Credit: micronut

It's dark as we make the left turn at Mojave and blast north on 395, the stars above swirling overhead on an inky black backdrop.
Not my photo....but this is what it felt like.
Not my photo....but this is what it felt like.
Credit: the internets

We are back in the road-trip saddle and it feels good.

We make good time and rumble into a flat sandy wash off Movie Road by eleven hundred hours.
Credit: micronut

We fall asleep to a blanket of stars overhead. The cool night smells of desert sage and the promise of adventure.

Morning comes slowly and we awake to a vast panorama of sand and stone and blue.
Credit: micronut
There is no better coffee in the world than a Mark Hudon pour over whi...
There is no better coffee in the world than a Mark Hudon pour over while you sit in your sleeping bag.
Credit: micronut
Buenos Dias Eastsiiiiiiide!
Buenos Dias Eastsiiiiiiide!
Credit: micronut

The posse gathers around strong coffee and the guidebook. Davey, Adam, Pauly, Mike, and I were all born in 1973. Five of us are either 45 years old or turning 45 years old. We dub ourselves the "Ol 45 Club and we are here to get away from it all, car camp, climb some stuff and celebrate birthdays and eat good food in the dirt. We all bring something to the table, and being a rad climber is not one of those things. Joe is a kid. He's way strong and leads anything we put him on so we let him hang out with us. Mark is over 60...but we let him into the club because he's climbed El Cap more than any of us ever will combined. And he brings great coffee.

Credit: micronut

We waste no time in moving the camp to a more secluded spot and start throwing ourselves short but fun routes right near the truck.
Credit: micronut
Joe cranks.
Joe cranks.
Credit: micronut
No Mark.  We will not be hauling today.  Or bounce testing.  Or humpin...
No Mark. We will not be hauling today. Or bounce testing. Or humping loads other than our breakfast burritos from one climb to another.
Credit: micronut
Pual makin' it look easy before breakfast.
Pual makin' it look easy before breakfast.
Credit: micronut

Mike gets all paparazzi on things and knows his way around a lens. He gets some nice shots from the weekend. So do I.
#glamourshots
#glamourshots
Credit: micronut

After a warm up we quest all the way over to the DXM wall. About 40 yards total. I bring chips and salsa and six draws. It's 10:43 am.

Credit: micronut

Davey steels his nerves and gets ready for the first lead of the day. His Tyvek "jacket" suit will guard him against.....not much actually....but it looks super cool.
Credit: micronut

Davey Leans over a sould destroying void, yards up onto the wall, clips the first bolt and its on like Donkey Kong.
Credit: micronut

We Team Sesh the bejeebus out of the DMX Wall. Toprope toughguys slaying the gnar. Blue skies threaten to send us running back to the vehicles for breakfast burritos and country boy skillets full of hashbrowns sausage and belpeppers, but we persevere and send the nearly vertical 5.8-5.9 terrain above us, undaunted by the exposure and the risk of mild sunburn.
Credit: micronut
Joe on Boodgie Boy 5.9
Joe on Boodgie Boy 5.9
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
Micronut....running it out on toprope.
Micronut....running it out on toprope.
Credit: micronut

Mark and Adam squeeze down into a narrow slot and find this little beauty. It looks spicy, so I stay and take photos rather than make myself look bad.
Credit: micronut

Mark is not a tall man. He pretty much did the splits, Bruce Lee style...
Mark is not a tall man. He pretty much did the splits, Bruce Lee style, to make this move.
Credit: micronut



Pretty soon the desire for pipin' hot breakfast overcomes my desire to send another moderate 70 foot 5.8 face so I hump it back to the campsite and get the ol Coleman fired up.
"So I match the sidepull, bump to the rail, match then dab, then gasto...
"So I match the sidepull, bump to the rail, match then dab, then gaston to a gnarcling. Sooooooo Siiiiiick."
Credit: micronut





After a gut bomb breakfast burrito or two, Macronut looks at me with that gleam in his eye that can only mean one thing.....

When this bag of goodies unzips, you know what's about to happen....
When this bag of goodies unzips, you know what's about to happen....
Credit: micronut

BIRTHDAY RIIIIIIIIIIIDE!!!!!
Gladiators gearing up for desert war.
Gladiators gearing up for desert war.
Credit: micronut

The desert silence is shattered by the sound of 450cc's of blood curdling, heart pounding, knee weakening pure testosterone.

Credit: micronut

We pull out of camp and rip down Movie Road, the wind in our hair, the backdrop of the mighty rampart above, beconing us with her wanton desire for all things wild, lifting above the desert caldera with all the hope and promise of a day burgeoning under the weight of unchecked possibility.
I wonder if we can reach Upper Boyscout lake on dirtbike....rangers wo...
I wonder if we can reach Upper Boyscout lake on dirtbike....rangers won't be a problem this early in the season will they?
Credit: micronut

We pound pavement into town to fuel up on the bare necessities.
Credit: micronut
Little know fact, Dove Bars are one of the 10 Essentials.
Little know fact, Dove Bars are one of the 10 Essentials.
Credit: micronut

Then its "go west young men....go west."
We are back on the four stroke saddle and it feels like being a 10 year old on Christmas eve.
Shot with iphone 7.  While behind him doing 40mph with a gloved hand.....
Shot with iphone 7. While behind him doing 40mph with a gloved hand...not easy to do.
Credit: micronut

The landscape is magnificent. The blue sky above meets the summit of Whitney which plunges to meet the scrappy hills below which tumble down to meet the very pavement under our tires. We are connected to the place in a deep and meaningful way.....so we stop often and take selfies.
Credit: micronut

But soon we are stopped by "The Man."
WINTER STORMS?  Really?  It's like 86 out today Bro.
WINTER STORMS? Really? It's like 86 out today Bro.
Credit: micronut

So we turn heel and blow outta there, hanging a left down the first dirt road we can muster. And soon we are exactly where we'd like to be. Lost.

Credit: micronut
Hmmmmm...we are this little road here...town is here...we took a right...
Hmmmmm...we are this little road here...town is here...we took a right back there....where does this dashed line go?
Credit: micronut
Ghost town, Bro...keep your head on a swivel...strange things are afoo...
Ghost town, Bro...keep your head on a swivel...strange things are afoot.
Credit: micronut
Spot me bro...I wanna look inside and this thing is V6 in these boots.
Spot me bro...I wanna look inside and this thing is V6 in these boots.
Credit: micronut
Relics of hard men and hard times.
Relics of hard men and hard times.
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
The land has hardened its creatures to not only live, but to excel in ...
The land has hardened its creatures to not only live, but to excel in this harshest of landscapes.
Credit: micronut
No touchy.
No touchy.
Credit: micronut

We are adrift in a sea of sand, stone, sky and prickly things.
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut

We press on, eastward toward what we think may be civilization, but our trusty metallic steeds carry us only deeper into the unknown folds of the earth.

Credit: micronut

Whoa....lookie here...What is this? It says BEWARE. STAY OUT.
Credit: micronut


So in we go.....
Credit: micronut

Yo Macronut...this feels like a really bad idea...
Credit: micronut

We wander until a fork in the tunnel leads to absolute darkness and probably the pit of hell itself....a loose stone kicked into the void falls for eternity before answering back with a faint, hollow clicketty clack. We quickly head for daylight.
Credit: micronut

We hightail it back to camp, happy to be alive and happy that Happy Hour is starting in ten minutes.

Happy Hour.  Fresh Gouda and Jalapeno stuffed olives.  #roughingit
Happy Hour. Fresh Gouda and Jalapeno stuffed olives. #roughingit
Credit: micronut

We sit and enjoy watching Mark cruise "Hanged Man" 5.10b on The Pillar of Thoth. I think about walking over there for a TR burn...but the gravity of my lawn chair is too strong. I'm 45 years old now and it takes a lot for me to get motivated when I'm near the ice-chest and hors de'oeuvres.
Mark stylin up that cool arête on the pillar to the left.
Mark stylin up that cool arÍte on the pillar to the left.
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut

But it's Macronut's birthday and he wants to climb something. Pfftt. You're killin' me Smalls.

"Yo Micronut?"
"Yeah Macronut?"
"How bout we scramble up that there gully yonder and watch the sunset?"
"I'm yer Huckleberry....how bout you just try an keep up. Old Man."

We throw a headlamp, some gloves and our steely courage into the daypack and strike up the gully, into the unknown.
Credit: micronut
Dirtbike gloves....better than anything made by Marmot or Pattagucci.
Dirtbike gloves....better than anything made by Marmot or Pattagucci.
Credit: micronut

Soon we are lost in a labyrinth of bottomless drops, dark corridors and third class shenanigans. Moving over the complicated terrain is refreshing to the soul and we dash madly upward, seeking who-knows-what at every bend, clawing aimlessly at the stone in front of us, running from something and toward something at the very same time.
Credit: micronut

Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
The gully is alive with things large and things small that make me smi...
The gully is alive with things large and things small that make me smile inside as I pass quietly by.
Credit: micronut

We are back in the alpine saddle and it feels like falling in love all over again.

Gettin' climbey.
Gettin' climbey.
Credit: micronut
High above camp.  Floating over stone. Sunset eminent. The best of tim...
High above camp. Floating over stone. Sunset eminent. The best of times.
Credit: micronut


Eventually our legs tire and the sun begins to melt in the western sky. We stop short of the "summit" and stand there and just suck it all in. Man I love the desert.

Credit: micronut



The way down goes fast. Too fast. We follow the smell of sage and creosote and propane stoves hissing for dinner down the gully.
Credit: micronut
The gully gets gnarly at some point but we send.
The gully gets gnarly at some point but we send.
Credit: micronut



Dinner is on by the time we make it back to camp.

We arrive to see that DaveyTree from Supertopo has started cooking tacos made from goose and duck meat. He fondles the meat gingerly, kneeding in spices and peppers and onions and all kinds of love.
Credit: micronut
Mmmmm....duck meat.  Did you wash yer hands Pardner?
Mmmmm....duck meat. Did you wash yer hands Pardner?
Credit: micronut

And when the tortillas have been warmed, the lemons sliced, the cilantro chopped and the Sriracha mayo oozled over the masterpiece, it is truly a thing of beauty. I eat eight of them. and I want more.
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut

We spend the evening among the company of good friends, by the fire, stars overhead. We tell tall tales, slander each-other, talk of things meaningless and waste away the night just enjoying the hugeness of the place and the time together. We come to the conclusion that 45 is the new 20 and that we need to do this until we are really, really really to old to do it any more.
Credit: micronut

I fall asleep again under a sky so full of stars that I do not want to close my eyes lest I miss another moment to be under the weight of such enormity.
Credit: micronut

We will go home tomorrow. Back to our loving wives, our kids, our jobs and all the things that make great trips like this possible. But for tonight I will just lay here, soaking up the beauty, marveling at God's creation, and as I drift into peaceful desert-in-the-back-of-my-truck-in-a-down-sleeping-bag sleep, I'm already planning to return again.


Thanks for tuning in Supertopo.

Micronut,

Out.





  Trip Report Views: 1,546
micronut
About the Author
micronut is a trad climber from fresno, ca.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
Tom Patterson

Trad climber
Seattle
  Apr 30, 2018 - 04:32pm PT
Fantastic, Micronut! I was right there with you...
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
  Apr 30, 2018 - 04:39pm PT
I am so tempted to respond to your question: "What more do a bunch of dudes in their mid 40s need?"

But really, who has that much time to keyboard?

Very nice report. One of my very best friends and climbing partners shares the dirt-biking passion (he and I write guidebooks together too). I'll make sure he also sees your antics.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Apr 30, 2018 - 04:39pm PT
Nice!
TFPU
Tad
L

climber
Just livin' the dream
  Apr 30, 2018 - 04:57pm PT
Toprope toughguys slaying the gnar.

So happy to see you back in the TR posting mode, Micro, and with such a beautiful and warm-n-guzzly offering. Stellar!

Many thanks for the starry nights...

splitclimber

climber
Sonoma County
  Apr 30, 2018 - 06:38pm PT
Hells Yeah. That's why the hills are so great.

You're making Hudon soft. First a scramble up Conness now this!!! Oh the humanity.
kingtut

climber
Jingus Newroutaineer
  Apr 30, 2018 - 06:47pm PT
Did not suck!

Stoked for your stoke.

Whippersnappers! 45??? pffft.

:)
MH2

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
  Apr 30, 2018 - 07:46pm PT
A full-of-stoke extravaganza, excellently illustrated.
7SacredPools

Trad climber
Ontario, Canada
  Apr 30, 2018 - 08:21pm PT
Good times! TFPU
I crashed a few dirt bikes when I was young so I quit and took up climbing instead. Wonder if I'm old enough to stay upright...
phylp

Trad climber
Upland, CA
  Apr 30, 2018 - 08:48pm PT
Great TR. so glad you got out there. I love the desert too.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  May 1, 2018 - 03:45am PT
Nice reflections Micro 👍👍
Slym

climber
Merced, CA
  May 1, 2018 - 08:16am PT
Man I can't wait to get old.
skywalker1

Trad climber
co
  May 1, 2018 - 08:29am PT
Super fun! Just got here in San Diego from Colorado. Just paid off my V-strom. Time to get me a 450 and head toward the Mojave with climbing shoes if its not too hot yet!

Cheers!
S....
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  May 1, 2018 - 09:59am PT
Fun tr as usual. The gravity from your camp chair at age 45 can seem overwhelming. Hmmm...I vaguely recall that at that age dudettes still had a way at getting me out of my chair....ah youth, where did it go?
Inner City

Trad climber
Portland, OR
  May 1, 2018 - 10:27am PT
Another great TR Micro...we have never met, but I feel like I know you a little bit. Just gettin' packed up for a solid 3 weeks in the UT desert, ooh boy....57 is the new 30? The desert abides..

Thanks!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
  May 1, 2018 - 10:36am PT
Single malt scotch untainted by added coloring, surreal starscape with all of the colors of the universe and everything that happens in between.
Well done!
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
  May 1, 2018 - 10:35am PT
Cheers

DMT
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Author's Reply  May 1, 2018 - 12:08pm PT
Thanks for all the comments yall. It makes writing these things more fun. I have another one in the hopper getting ready to drop. Stay tuned.

Scott
DaveyTree

Trad climber
Fresno
  May 1, 2018 - 01:36pm PT
Great report brother. Hopefully the crew can get a few more pics of the days after you left including your big bang theory. Classic line, "There's no going back now" as your running away....hahahaha.

My phone died so I lost it all. Good time though.
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
  May 1, 2018 - 02:16pm PT
Out-freaking-standing! Dirt bikes and rock shoes, the new biathlon.
I just love that stuff.
Thanks for taking us along for the ride - most enjoyable.
Phil_B

Social climber
CHC, en zed
  May 1, 2018 - 03:17pm PT
I do so love to read your TRs. Makes me want to get out and provide some fodder for myself.

Thanks!
Myles Moser

climber
Lone Pine, Ca
  May 1, 2018 - 06:31pm PT
Loved it!
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  May 1, 2018 - 07:04pm PT
Looks like some good ol' soul rejuveration right there. I too am from 1973.
WyoRockMan

climber
Grizzlyville, WY
  May 1, 2018 - 07:23pm PT
I'm a '72 model, but I felt this.

TFPU
hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
  May 2, 2018 - 04:52am PT
for what you've accomplished given simple gas grit and grub,
all i can sing is that old gospel tune "you should be released"
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
  May 3, 2018 - 12:03am PT
Now that's a quality group of old farts, looks like a great trip!

Next time get in a little fishing to round out the experience.

T
F
P
U
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
  May 3, 2018 - 01:29am PT
hey there, say. micronut... wow!! lots of nice stuff here...

have to come back, to see it all... but, i will...

thanks for sharing... :)
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  May 3, 2018 - 04:12pm PT
Micro - yeah baby! This looks about perfect. Here's a detail I enjoyed:

Credit: le_bruce

You and Macro seem to be moving from the "Could be brothers" phase into the "Must be identical twins" phase. That's what turning 45 together will do to close friends.
David D.

Trad climber
California
  May 4, 2018 - 11:08pm PT
I was missing those Micronut TRs. You really are a great writer, Micro.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  May 5, 2018 - 06:58am PT
What a hoot. Loved everything about this report but...mayo on a taco?!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  May 5, 2018 - 12:25pm PT
Well reported intrepid journalist!

"Toprope toughguys slaying the gnar." Just to be clear, I've filed for trademark on this as of today. ;)

Daveytree, backups! Ya gotta run backups!

#klim for klimming!
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