Joshua Tree on Film

I bought a disposable camera before my trip to Joshua Tree in January.

This turned out to be a pretty good decision, as the cold of the California high desert killed my phone battery. So, while my climbing partner Jose had a high-end DSLR to take as many photos as he wanted (and they are great), I was limited to shooting on film.

I had only 24 exposures for more than three weeks on the road. That meant I didn’t take a lot of them, but every photo I do have is sincere. In addition to the prints, they gave me digital copies of all my photos, too.

Check them out, below the jump.

Climbing film
Jose flipping me the bird after following pitch 3 of Right On (5.5). His first multi-pitch climb, and also his first encounter with chimney climbing. As you can see, he wasn’t enjoying himself so much.
Film disposable camera buy
Jose on the summit of Right On (5.5).
Examples of Disposable Camera
Myself on the summit of Right On (5.5). Not sure why I look so annoyed.
Joshua Tree National Park Film Picture
View of Joshua Tree from atop Right On (5.5), a multi-pitch route which summits one of the tallest formations in the park. Those boulders which look so small are each a couple stories tall.
Landscape photo disposable camera quality
El desierto
Night Photography Flash Disposable Cameras
Jose, Chica Bonita, y Guapo. Night climbing on The Eye (5.3). Apple juice in the flask.
Fujifilm disposable camera
Summiting Double Cross (5.7), a Joshua Tree classic. Climbing via headlamp because it rained all day.
Disposable Camera Night Photography Flash
Jose, exhausted after climbing Double Cross. Ready to rappel from the anchors. But we enjoyed the climb so much, we went back the next morning and lapped it again in the sun. Superb hand crack.
Joshua Tree California
Jose at our campsite in Hidden Valley.
Low-Light Film Photos
We passed a week of gloomy weather like this. Peep the whisky bottle in Jose’s hands. That’s one way to keep yourself entertained on a rainy day.
Climbing Photography Disposable Camera Fujifilm
Jose topping out on Damn Jam (5.6), another awful chimney climb. His first encounter with the classic climbing experience: “Where the fuck is all this blood coming from??”
Sunset Disposable Camera
Sunset atop Intersection Rock with two Canadian lads.

Las Vegas

After 3 weeks in Joshua Tree, we went to Las Vegas for a few days of climbing at Red Rock. We climbed two multipitch routes: Cat in the Hat (5.6), and Birdland (5.7+).

Disposable Camera Poor Performance Low Light
The Las Vegas Strip at sunset. After three weeks in a tent at Joshua Tree, we splurged on a cheap motel for a night.
Red Rock Canyon Las Vegas Rock Climbing
Long shadows seen from high up on Cat in the Hat (5.6). The Las Vegas Strip is visible on the horizon.
Cat in the Hat Red Rock Selfie
“Summit” of Cat in the Hat (5.6). Not really the summit, as the climb goes on for a while further, but this is the spot where most parties stop. The sun was setting and we were getting chilly, so we called it a day here.
Abseiling Photo Film
Rappelling off the summit of Cat in the Hat (5.6) at dusk. We finished this series of seven rappels in the dark.
Birdland Red Rock Las Vegas
The last picture on the roll of film. The end of our last climb of the entire climbing trip. I really, really like this shot. Read more about this moment by clicking here.


I enjoyed the experience of shooting this disposable camera so much that I bought another one for our trip to the Ouray Ice Park. I’ll share those photos, next week.

If you want to buy a disposable camera of your own, I highly recommend you do so! Something about physical photos feels more valuable. You can buy disposable cameras on Amazon, and get them developed at any Wal-Mart.

Do you think film has a different character than digital photos? Let me know in the comments.

9 thoughts on “Joshua Tree on Film

  1. Hello from Dubai. New to your blog, and I can already see what an amazing life you’ve got with all these wonderful travels 🙂 doing more of hiking trekking and mountain climbing is on my bucket list, so fingers crossed the pandemic is over soon indeed. I just hit follow!

    • It is! The special blend of approachable scrambles and difficult climbs with easy approaches and the desert setting… a very unique place!!

      With a few more multi pitches around I reckon it would be true climber’s paradise.

      • “The Swift” is a fun three pitch 5.6, and Walk on the Wild Side is adventurous 5.8! Red Rocks has the moderate MP scene dialed though! So many good routes!

      • Agreed. But RR offers super cheap alternatives and you get to see some serious cultural contrasts as a bonus!

  2. Camping and climbing at Hidden Valley/JTree should be something every climber experiences. Used to go every April and have so many good memories of that place!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s