GBI Research Associate Presents an Oral History Project on the History of Climbing in Joshua Tree National Park

One of the things we love most is hearing about exciting and fulfilling activities directly from our field personnel. So we’re delighted to bring you this story and these images from Emilio Triguero, who has been working with the GBI Research Associate Program as an Anthropology Technician in Joshua Tree National Park.

“I have been working on the Joshua Tree Oral History Project for Recreational Rock Climbing for about a year and a half now in cooperation with GBI and the National Park Service. I’m originally from Orange County, but went to school at UC Riverside, where I received my BS in Anthropology. It was also at UCR where I was given the opportunity to work with the oral history project under Professor Sally Ness. I started out simply transcribing the recorded oral interviews, but over time I gained more skills and responsibilities, eventually conducting my own interviews and presenting information on behalf of the project.

“I was invited by the Friends of Joshua Tree to present the study I am working on, which is an oral history project focused on the history of climbing in Joshua Tree National Park. I was able to present twice, giving the attendees an overview and sneak peek at what the project has been able to uncover with our findings. I helped make the poster that is pictured here, advertising to attendees about my presentations. Not only was I able to present in the lovely Indian Cove Amphitheater, I was also able to stay at the Dr. James Buckner Luckie Center in 29 Palms (pictured below), a NPS research center that has its own history as it relates to its former owner, Dr. Susan Luckie Reilly.

“After my presentations, I continued to take photos for the purposes of the oral history report, snapping shots of some of the most iconic climbs in the park. Here (at top) is one of my favorite photos which depicts the Cutting Edge, a 5.14 climb located on the prominent Headstone Rock formation in Ryan Campground. It is significant for many reasons, but its beauty and definitive features make it truly an iconic piece of the Joshua Tree landscape.”

Thank you, Emilio, for sharing your story and for your great work in Joshua Tree National Park.

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