Overnight Rock Climbing in Joshua Tree National Park

Gallery Mode

Photographer

Matthew Richardson

Camera

Canon AE-1

Film

Afga Vista 400

Back to article
Fallback
Fallback

Overnight Rock Climbing in Joshua Tree National Park

A brief survey of life among the cactus and bouldering rocks, captured on 35mm film

Overnight Rock Climbing in Joshua Tree National Park

Author

Matthew Richardson

Photographer

Matthew Richardson

Camera

Canon AE-1

Film

Afga Vista 400

https://www.fieldmag.com/articles/climbing-joshua-tree-utah

Matthew Richardson is a Durango, Colorado-based photographer with a special interest in shooting 35mm film. Follow him on Instagram for more.

Over the last two years my friends and I have spent a lot of time in the desert. Mostly Joshua Tree National Park and southwestern Utah. It’s hard to find more suitable weather for being outside than what those places offer most year round. The nights are cold but comfortable, and the days warm and sunny.

There is no time schedule in the desert, no set plans, only things to explore and goals to accomplish. Being a rock climber in Joshua Tree can be both inspiring and terrifying at times. The climbs are bold and brave, and I get shut down more often than not.

The red splitting sandstone of southwest Utah is unlike any climbing destination in the world. Inching your way up these crack systems to see the expansiveness behind you is breathtaking.

"The slowness of film agrees well with the easy pace of life among cactus and rock and little else."

The magnitude of these places can be seen from most any vantage point while exploring. Just look around and you will see nothing but rock extending on forever. They are remote places, with no cell service, readily accessible food, or water. But that’s OK. It’s part of the draw, really. It’s just friends, climbing, and nature. Nothing extra, nothing unneeded.

These pictures are some of my favorites from such desert days. Photos from time spent at the crag, and nights near a campfire under the stars. I love shooting film in the desert—the slowness of film agrees well with the easy pace of life among cactus and rock and little else.

M-Richardson-Joshua-Tree-4
M-Richardson-Joshua-Tree-12
M-Richardson-Joshua-Tree-5
M-Richardson-Joshua-Tree-9
M-Richardson-Joshua-Tree-10
M-Richardson-Joshua-Tree-1
M-Richardson-Joshua-Tree-6
M-Richardson-Joshua-Tree-8
M-Richardson-Joshua-Tree-2
M-Richardson-Joshua-Tree-3
M-Richardson-Joshua-Tree-14
M-Richardson-Joshua-Tree-13
M-Richardson-Joshua-Tree-11
M-Richardson-Joshua-Tree-7
Fallback

Related articles

The 17 Most Unique Joshua Tree Rentals for Nature Lovers
17 Best Joshua Tree Rental Houses for Disconnecting From the World

Dreamy desert cabins, pueblo-style casas, and geodesic domes amid the iconic California desert

Existential Explorations of Rock & Mind in Joshua Tree, CA
15 Artful Photos of Sport Climbing in Joshua Tree National Park

An embedded outsider finds calm and clarity in the sun bleached life of the dirtbag climber

A City Dweller's Guide to the Perfect Joshua Tree Weekend Trip
10 Do’s & Don'ts for the Perfect Weekend Trip to Joshua Tree

Making the most of Joshua Tree NP and the Yucca Valley with a modern airbnb, sunrise hikes, and succulent shopping

1200 Miles Through the California Desert on 35mm Film
1200 Miles Through the California Desert on 35mm Film

Cold meals, long roads, and endless alien landscapes make this perfectly imperfect road trip one for the books

Range x Jungmaven Capsule Collection
Rangemaven Capsule Collection for Outdoors Inclined Women

American-made, hemp and cotton blend t-shirts fit for the campsite and around town

Exploring Indigo Landscapes in Joshua Tree National Park
Camping Among Indigo Landscapes in Joshua Tree National Park

The result of a single roll of film shot over 3 days at Juniper Ridge's anti-tradeshow Desert & Denim

More articles
Fallback
Fallback