Spontaneous Black Mountain Climbing Trip

Updated: Dec 21, 2019


Black Mountain, Idyllwild | California


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I've always thought of myself as a pretty spontaneous person. Whether that's because I don't like nailing down plans or coincidentally that some of my best experiences have been built on the phrase "let's wing it"...whatever the case, my brother constantly challenges that.

There isn't a trophy for being the most spontaneous or having the best time combined delicately with a lack of planning, but there is absolutely something to be said about setting aside excuses (and often sleep) to do the things you want to do.


"Tomorrow" is the easiest escape and it rarely turns into "now"


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Setting the scene:

I worked until about 9pm that Friday evening. Ditching my car in a familiar parking lot, I was whisked away by my husband + brother for a day trip to Black Mountain.

(It should be noted that an overnight "day" trip is nothing but common to the climber community, but regardless it's out of my norm.)


Pre-packed:

- a single change of clothes (never worn)

- headlamps

- a hammock

- a crashpad

- no-cook food + coffee


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We pulled into Boulder Basin around 1:00 am, threw our hammocks in some nearby trees, grabbed our headlamps and headed off into the woods.

Wandering through blackness + boulders for hours, I felt all of my day to day life melt away.

I used to hate the idea of night climbing...how are you supposed to see where you're going?? How do you see the holds??

Instead of hating it, as I'd assumed I would...I was enamored by it. Your entire world focuses into no more than a two-three foot circle. Crisp air + quiet darkness...that's the way to climb.

4:00 am rolled around and we had only just climbed into our hammocks. What I quickly learned the following morning (two hours later), is that while you may be able to sleep-in slightly past the sunrise when in a tent, hammocks aren't particularly forgiving. In spite of our heavy, stinging eyes, we emerged almost as instantly as the sun hit our gently swinging bodies.

Nothing a quick pot of french press can't fix...right?


We spent that morning following my mountain-guide of a brother around, climbing whatever he encouraged us to try + learning an incredible amount about how to project + push ourselves on the rock. By 11:00 am we were running pretty thin + watching a thunderstorm roll towards us, so we finally called it.

Sure, we may have slept something like fifteen hours when we finally got home, but oh how worth it the exhaustion was. More than anything it was a reminder of how much we can actually do in a day.


How often do I "not have time" for things that I would really enjoy?

How often do I turn on Netflix to unwind when I live three blocks from the beach?


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Here are some highlights from our morning session.



Black Mountain | Boulder Canyon