This is Kevin Boyko checking in from my phone in Joshua Tree, California to bring you special beta about what to do when the weather does not agree with your climbing trip … Our climbing crew had great weather here when we first arrived to J Tree, but It’s currently 19 degrees and snowing, which has thwarted our best efforts to rock climb this morning.

Use these three tips to overcome your less-than-ideal weather struggles:

joshua tree snow


Tip #1: Prepare for the worst

My first tip about dealing with bad weather is to be prepared for the worst. Overprotect your tent with a tarp if the weather calls for a lot of rain, or lay down as many layers under your sleeping bag if temps will be frigid.

Here at Joshua Tree, the forecast called for four inches overnight. Four inches!? More like 20! After breakfast, as the storm was rolling in, I moved my bivy sack and gear under a rock into a dank coyote cave. Confrontation with mammalia is never optimal, but local fauna must be aware who is alpha in this camp site.

snow bivy


Tip #2: Consider alternative plans

After your camp is secure the next thing to figure out is what the hell to do! You have a few options:

One can take the alpinist route and be all zen in your tent for two days. But this will drive most crazy. Alpinists always put pen to paper in moments like these, and if you have ever read any mountaineer material, you know most of it sounds like the ramblings of a reclusive madman, which is precisely what is going on …

A better option for most people with more friends than ambition is to hit town. Watch a movie, check out the local bar scene, relax at a coffee shop,  find some local eats, or just go sightseeing. But first always ask yourself, “are there hot springs around?”

Doing something you normally wouldn’t with your climbing crew can actually make a dismal trip very memorable:

Hey Sally, remember when we went to climb at Redrocks and there was a blizzard so instead we went into Vegas and had that crazy night? I bailed you out of jail after your prison tattoo, now I’m missing my left ring finger, and we never saw Johnny again!

skiing joshua tree


Tip #3: Hide, play, eat a lot

My last recommendation is to hunker down in a cave or large tent, play board games, and eat a lot of cheese for calories to work off the next day.

I’m about to be kicked out of this Starbucks in the town of Yucca Valley, but I’ve included phone pics taken as the storm rolled in to prove this is all real. Now it’s hot spring time, then back to the dank cave-hole for a night of bombproof sleep. I hope your New Years is warmer than mine, and I hope I don’t get snowed into my cave and never see light again …

kevin boyko