Being in San Diego, one of my favorite camping areas is Joshua Tree NP. The bad thing about J-Tree is no trees - back to the tent thing. I've considered using cams or plugs and trying to hang from the rocks. Any of you climber types out there or anybody with any experience in these things have any comments and/or suggestions on either of these or something else entirely. I don't want to cause any damage to the rocks so pitons are out unless there's an EF way of using them.
Don't use petons. You can probably set up a hang from rocks as long as they have cracks in them. In the old days climbers would wedge a rock in a small part of the crack so it wouldn't come out and the thread a length of webbing behind it and clip the rope on with a biener. If you use that method you don't need to buy any gear, just look for the right size rock and pull in the direction of your hang to test it before weighting it.
Drink a beer in the tree for me I haven't been there in a few years. Great climbing back in the wonderland.
ibgary - thanks for the suggestion. I'll experiment at low levels and see what I can work out. I will definitely do a brew for you in the J-tree. Later.
I've frequently hung in our parking structures using an assortment of DMM stoppers wedged into gaps/cracks/expansion joints. :)
Beats the folding cots staff accommodations offers during inclement weather hands down.
Never needed to try it when actually climbing here b/c generally there are more then enough trees, even too many in some places making ascents dangerous.
A few years ago I spent a year in CA doing quite a bit of hammock camping while I was there. Joshua Tree was the only place I had to go to ground. Climbing chocks/cams would have saved the day. I knew I was coming back East so I never bothered to buy them. If I lived in the west it would be high on my list of must haves.
If you are going to buy one type of climbing pro to use for hammock hanging, I suggest Tricams. They can be placed in both a passive and an active mode, so the number and type of placements they can be used in is quite extensive. Just about the only thing you are going to find that is more versatile is an OP Link Cam - and they are both heavy and expensive.
Thanks for the responses. I kind of like the cam idea myself. I'll talk to some of the local climbers and see if I can pick up some on the cheap. Once I get enough trials in to form some opinions, I'll post it for others looking to rock hang. Gracias all.
I use to be a pretty serious rock climber. I lived in Santee right near Santee Bolders and have climbed there and in Mission Gorge for years. I've spent a lot of time at J-Tree and Idyllwild climbing.
For hammocking I'd suggest a set of stoppers.
Or a few tri-cams
The problem is that they're 3 to 4 times as expensive now as when I bought mine 20 years ago. I have a full set of 15 tri cams, 2 sets of stoppers, several Camalots, and a full rack of carabiners. I couldn't afford my own gear today.
If you can find a good spot then be sure to back up each anchor point by using two pieces of gear at each end. Get a long loop of perlon or amsteel and clip both pieces to the loop. I use to tie a system where my anchor point would slide and equalize the tension on each anchor point. But if one anchor fails then the sling extends to it's full length before it loads the 2nd anchor. That causes a shock load which could pull that 2nd anchor. With a hammock it would mean you'd go to ground before the sling would catch you.
I now use a rope loop with a figure 8 knot at my load point like this:
If either of your anchors fail then you'll get some swing as the 2nd anchor takes the full weight. But the rope loop won't extend and drop you on the ground.
So now we're talking about a full set of stoppers or tri cams, at least 4 carabiners, and then your regular suspension. That could get expensive. Also, as I'm thinking about the campgrounds at J-tree I can't think of a single case where you'd have two rocks with appropriate cracks in them at the right locations and distance AND have a campground near by.
Now that J-Tree is a national park instead of a national monument the rangers have been really strict about camping only in approved campgrounds. Camping has become very expensive going from $15 for 14 days to a $15 entry fee plus $20 per night camping fee.
It would be much easier and cheaper to use a tent.
For what it's worth, I have hung from rock using a single set of tricams, and nothing else. If you hang your hammock low enough that a fall isn't going to hurt you, there is no real reason to worry about a properly equalized climbing anchor.
I'm all for the extra paranoia when your life is on the line. For a situation where the consequence is a sore butt, I'm less concerned.
I spent 3 winter weekends a month for two years back in the mid 80's ground dwelling and climbing at Josh. Just thinking about it brings back great memories.
The ideas you have been given so far are great and about as budget oriented as possible. Climbing gear really has skyrocketed. The only extra semi-budget oriented gear advice I would give is to buy very long lengths of 1" tubular webbing and build slings to encircle some of the smaller rocks. Although, at REI's price of 36 cents/ft that will also get pricey fast.
I think the solution I would chose is building an olddog/turlelady stand. These are the links:
I think the stand will be cheaper, more reliable, and a lot faster to set up, but sadly a lot less McGyver. I would spend the money you save building a stand on a good tarp. I would recommend a superfly for winter conditions. As I am sure you are aware the wind can be fierce at Josh. In my two winters I survived torrential rain, sleet, hail. snow, and of course the biting cold wind.