Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mighty Mouse

With anything you absolutely love in life, it's easy to get caught up in it and take it way too seriously, yet on occasion there are events that remind us to lighten up.  Today held such an occasion for me as I struggled my way up a climb to the "baffling crux," as the guide book called it.  I'd just made my way up 75% of the route to a good rest, the long expected crux just ahead.  Out of breath and fighting off the flash pump that had accumulated in my fore arms, I noticed a foul odor in the air.  I also noticed the jug hold I was hanging from was but the edge of a deep in cut feature in the rock, the apparent home of an, as of yet, unidentified rodent.  Now, I know what you're thinking, and no, I'm not an expert on the habitats of North American rodents; I guessed this to be such a home simply from the large amount of urine and pellet sized fecal matter scattered about.  Reflecting on the emphasis I'd put on on sighting routes, and seeing that a four legged mammal a fraction of my size with no opposable  thumbs had pissed on my climb, I had to laugh.  I finished my climb, lowered to the ground, walked over to the edge of the cliff and pissed on it (into the wind) thus proving my superiority over rodent kind.

Large Statue With Fist To Chin Elbow Upon Knee

"The best adventures answer questions, that in the beginning, you didn't think to ask."  These are the regurgitated words of Jeff Johnson, star of the documentary, 180 Degrees South, which I recently watched on Netflix, all thanks to my roommate Travis...way better than cable.  I don't think all adventures are set upon in order to answer questions, or even with the intent of calling them adventures; life just happens, certain experiences outweighing others.  Amongst other recent experiences, watching this film for the second time, has reassured me that I have made the right decision in moving to Wyoming and living as I do.  Much of the world remains to be seen before I can allow myself to pursue anything "grounding" in life: education, career, etc. 

All the while I realize that climbing and other leisure activities are not enough to lead a fulfilling life.  There is within me a burden that beckons me to complete my education...whatever that means...and contribute more fully to society.  But this, as with all things, will come with time.


I will continue to pursue climbing with abandon, as nothing else upon this earth has proved as fulfilling as the LIFESTYLE found through the climbing community.  As of now I plan to leave Wyoming some time in March, heading perhaps to Hueco Tanks in Texas;then on to Chattanooga for a brief stint before spending May at the Red River Gorge.  After May nothing is certain but I have a feeling I will find myself back in Lander, WY by July. 

Thanks for reading. Love you all and can't wait to see you in December.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Happy to Soil my Pants

Today I stepped on a bug and felt no remorse. I would make a terrible Buddhist; I do however, make a fairly descent dirtbag.  I have been hitting Wild Iris every chance I've had, and had a damn good time in the process.  There is little consistency in who I climb with from day to day but never any real shortage of partners when I actually try to find one.  Yesterday's mob consisted of Hannah, Amanda, and yours truly.   Hannah is a recent acquaintance and both of the girls are fairly inexperienced which carries the potential for a sketchy belay.  Amanda, however has been climbing with me for a little over a month, belaying me on climbs I knew I wouldn't fall from.  So yesterday I nudged her a little further, allowing her to belay me on some hard climbs including my project, Phony Express.

We warmed up with some 8's and 10's then moved straight on over to Phony Express.  I had been growing weary of the climb and had decided whether I succeeded or not, my draws were coming off the route before we went home.  I anchored Amanda down (I've got 75 pounds on her) and headed up the slab.  Pulling the moves with confidence, I breezed through the slab as I'd done so many times before.  Reaching the roof I shook out my hands, chalked up, took a deep breath, and punched it.  My hands stuck the dynamic move out the roof on there own, my mind observing from afar.  Every move felt effortless and graceful.  I clipped the last bolt, the next clip would be the anchors.  Contorting my body I moved for the last few holds, right left, unthinkable!!! I watched as the rock moved away from me in slow motion 3 moves from the top. Farther than I'd ever been on the route I was crushed. The exileration of reaching a new high point was overwhelmed by the dissapointment I felt from having failed...again. I fought my way up the route and took down my draws.

Feeling somewhat defeated, I packed my bag and we headed for the Ok Corral where there was a better selection of routes for the girls to get on. I led them to some 5.8's and let them do there own thing while I cought my breath and rested. Not feeling completely drained, I decided to go for one more route after Hannah and Amanda got a few pitches in. I located a route I'd marked in my guide book over a month before. Thinking nothing of the route's grade, 5.12a, and expecting nothing great form myself, I roped up. Long story short, I breezed it, struggling only at the last move. "The solace of bolted faces" became my first 5.12 onsight (I climbed it cleanly first go with no idea of what the beta was). Day saved-BOOM.


A guy from Jackson Hole came into the shop today at work asking if we wouldn't mind to post some stuff in the window and promote the skiing over there. In return they said they would hook us up...I have a FREE season Pass to JACKSON HOLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bring on the powder!