Wired: Figures on a Landscape

Posted on: November 6, 2015

Galen Rowell's iconic 1987 Mountain magazine cover photo of Figures on a Landscape (5.10b, 3 pitches), North Astro Dome, Joshua Tree, California. Here, Skip Guerin seconds the traverse to the anchor on Pitch 1, while Ron Kauk belays over the wild drop straight to the Mojave desert. First climbed in 1978, the route remains a classic. [Photo] Galen Rowell

In an obscure wash in the high Mojave stand two domes, their north faces steeped in shadows. Four friends scrutinize the rune-like creases on the northeast face of the north- ernmost monolith. It's spring 1978. They're young, in that boggling interval between ado- lescence and manhood. Much later, they'll remember this time as a golden age, when the area was still huge with possibilities and their fellowship culminated in some of the greatest routes in Joshua Tree.

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