A few months back, we celebrated Valentine’s Day at New Jack City. This was the second year in a row and it is now becoming a tradition for good reason. The weather was warm and perfect for climbing in the shade. Once we had left the city on Thursday night with In-n-Out burgers in our bellies, the traffic and skies were clear all the way into the high desert. Late at night, we could see huge expanses of stars between silhouettes of tall rocks.
Once inside the park, we tracked down our campsite where our friend was staked out with two traveling French climbers from Briançon. In the morning, the rest of our group arrived, and after an hour or so of introductions, greetings and sunblock applications we finally got to climbing. Since we had such a large number of people, we naturally split off into smaller groups and spread out around the wonder that is New Jack City.
The campsites here are all new, built within the last five years. Each one has a picnic table, fire pit and grill. There are pit bathrooms close by. And there is so. much. climbing. This place has over 350 sport climbs* with a few boulder problems and trad routes sprinkled in. Our entire group was able to find climbs within their range, and that meant anything from 5.7 to 5.12c. One of the “classics” is the Finger, also known as the Crooked Dick Spire, a 5.9 sport climb. It’s visible from the main parking lot and certainly has some photographic appeal. It was on our minds since day one, and in the late afternoon on day two, it seemed like a good time. A few of us trekked up the hill to the spire and climbed the Finger until sundown. By the light of headlamps we hiked the short distance back to our site, indulged in a few beers by the campfire and rested up for another day of climbing.
There is a big variety of climbs at NJC, and the views are gorgeous. We spent three days in total here, and I can’t wait to spend our next Valentine’s Day weekend at New Jack City.
Our campsite totem, and there I am on my first outdoor 5.10d, fittingly called "Room for Improvement."
*According to Mountain Project