Adventures on All Hallows’ Eve

By Meggan Wenbourne

As the years go on, I find myself losing the holiday sparkle and flair that I once felt when I was younger. Halloween is one of those holidays for me and I find myself making every excuse in the book to not participate. I loathed the idea of being caught outside in clothing that is not appropriate for the weather conditions with people I did not know … until I started climbing.

Climbing really has been a lifestyle change for me beyond the normal smelly shoes, short fingernails and language of arm motions type of life most people think of when they the think of a textbook climber. I have found myself looking forward to the holidays again because it usually means longer chunks of time off work to go play somewhere outside with my friends and climbing community.

Halloween, since it has fallen on a Monday, has found me reminiscing on the wonderful places to climb this time of year and the characters you run into along the way. The desert landscape becomes a hub for those who have not gone into full ice and snow mode and instead choose to bake in what is left of the direct sunlight for the calendar year. The red rocks and sandstone welcome people from all over the world and become more of a destination than I could have ever imagined.

In the spirit of the upcoming holidays, I have compiled a list of the top five climbing destinations I have heard mentioned the most by my friends from all over the continental United States:

  • Joshua Tree National Park – Joshua Tree, California. Thousands of routes, plenty of camping and gorgeous sunsets litter this landscape. Be prepared for extreme wind chills and the ever infamous desert rainstorms.*
  • Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area – Outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. Sandstone formations* and incredible canyons make up this one of a kind climbing destination. All the climbing and more.
  • Indian Creek – Canyonlands, Utah. All the cracks you could ever want. Ever. I believe that is self-explanatory.
  • Yosemite National Park – California. Be prepared for chilly and possible wet conditions, but weather windows do exist and when you are lucky enough to have one on your trip, the possibilities are monumental.
  • Red River Gorge – Kentucky. Sandstone cliffs* full of stout, incredible climbs will keep you more than occupied. This year’s seasonal changes are a little late meaning the RRG is still going strong, whereas in years past it may have already been written off until the following season.

Climb safely, have fun and embrace the holiday season with some fun people, related or not. 😉

*Sandstone climbing, while incredibly special and beautiful, is also very delicate. Do your part to give the rock plenty of time to dry out after ANY moisture hits the area … this can often mean several days to dry. Please do not be that person who is breaking off holds and causing irreversible damage to the places we all love because you couldn’t wait for the rock to dry.

A desert sunset where all stop in their tracks to enjoy the magic.

A desert sunset where all stop in their tracks to enjoy the magic.

Meg-IndiansMeggan Wenbourne is an avid outdoorswoman. She spends her time traveling to the mountains from the coastline almost every weekend to get lost in the pine trees, rocks and rivers of the Sierra Nevada range. Her favorite activities include rock climbing, SUP paddling, kayaking, mountain biking, camping and the occasional backpacking trip. When not away on an adventure, she can be found eating burritos and paddling off the coast, training at Pacific Edge Climbing Gym or nestled away in her cozy tiny house with cookies and adventure reading.


Main Photo: A dragon ascends the cliffs in Joshua Tree.