Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Last night I couldn't sleep. Sure the cold I'm nursing played a part in it, but there were certainly other things running through my head besides all the snot. I finally fell asleep just after the sun rose around 7:00am. Peace came to me when I resolved that I had realized some profound truth about my life. Of course, as soon as I woke up I couldn't recall a bit of it and quickly set about making some tea.

New Year's Eve usually is a melancholy night for me. I'm not fond of the passage of time . I don't enjoy feeling like I have less of it than I started off with, and the New Year is just a reminder of this. However, I'm not feeling particularly down this year. Maybe its because at this time last year I was demoralized about a badly injured finger and contemplating its potential effects on an up coming trip to Hueco, and now I'm not. Or maybe because last year I was still a bit heart broken and lonely, and now I'm not. Regardless, on this New Year's Eve I'm actually quite optimistic.

In a matter of days I'll be leaving for Hueco Tanks in west Texas. This will be my second trip to the bouldering mecca and my first without any injury induced limitations. This time I'm staying longer too. Following that, I have a brief trip (about a week) with Kevin to visit Robyn in Atlanta, and to boulder in the surrounding area. After the trip to the south I have a little bit of unplanned time. I'd like to get back to 'Dogwood' in Yosemite, if the weather allows, and I'd like to do a short trip to Vegas. I'll probably end up going to Bishop some, and I'll be headed to Arizona for spring training with my Dad and my sister, Brooke. In April I plan on going back to work in Yosemite for around two months and then its off to the Rocklands of South Africa! I've been dreaming about this trip for a few years now and I'm ready to see it into fruition. After what will hopefully be a three month stay in SA, I'll return to the States with the intention of going back to work in Yosemite for the Autumn season. This is a little up in the air now and its not entirely in my hands. Who knows what happens after that? Kalymnos maybe...a little sport climbing...John, Shannon, I love you...

Anyway, I feel extremely blessed right now. I have a lifestyle that I've dreamed about having since I started climbing, I've got an amazing community of like-minded friends and family, and I have my health.

Thank you everyone, you've all contributed to 2008 being a wonderful year for me. I hope 2009 brings just as much joy to each of you and I look forward to our sharing in more wonderful adventures.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

John Gill

The inventor of the one-arm lever.

I just read the book John Gill: Master of Rock by Pat Ament and I really enjoyed it. Like many other climbers I've been exposed to plenty of Gill lore and the occasional written account of his feats, but until now I've never fully appreciated what kind of man he was.

Its rather humorous to me the esteem in which Gill is held by many climbers without knowing much about what he'd done or what he enjoys. In several recently printed bouldering guides a star scale used for rating the quality of individual boulder problems is described. This scale rates problems that have only just enough holds to make a given climb possible over problems that have enough holds to allow for variations or deviations. Gill, in who's footsteps we all follow, felt just the opposite was true. "A good bouldering route is not one where the sequence of holds is perfectly obvious."

Another contrast to the current bouldering scene is evident in his interest in style. "In bouldering you're concerned as much -if not more- with form, style, elegance, and route difficulty as you are with getting to the top." An afternoon spent at any popular bouldering area would quickly convince a doubter that the current generation (myself included) does not afford form, style, or elegance as much concern as did Gill or most other climbers from previous eras. Personally, while I aspire to maintain good form, I'd rather climb an elegant line that has less interesting moves than a lowball traverse with fascinating movement...but certainly there is room for both.

Just a few days ago a friend of mine that happens to be quite strong and is also quite familiar with gymnastics told me it would be nearly impossible for someone his size (6') to do an iron cross. John Gill was 6'2" and could do one with perfect form and on occasion he could do and inverted one as well. Physically, he was a beast and he was self motivated. At age 50 Gill tore his bicep completely. A year later he was still able to do one-arm pull-ups off of a 5/8" edge.

I could recount all of John Gill's various feats and contributions to the sport/lifestyle that I'm so passionate about, but I'm not really sure why I would. I'm not really sure why I'm writing this blog in the first place. I guess its just nice to know that people like John Gill and Fredric Nicole are still out there to keep us all in place.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


I'm in Florida now, visiting my dad. This is the view from the back porch of the guest house. So far it has been about as expected, lots of lounging and eating. We did take "the kids" for a walk today, which was nice.

My dad has lived in Florida since '98 and in all of my visits this is the biggest boulder I've found. I will never live in this state.

An impostor!

I got a couple of really nice shots of this guy. Doesn't it look yummy?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Past Week

I haven't climbed in about a week...I'm ready for the desert.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Falling and Failing in Fall

Here's some video of my most recent attempts at 'Dogwood'. I'm starting to feel guilty dragging spotters out there for all of this falling.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

6 Days

I only have six days off of work before I leave Yosemite for the season. GOD DAMN! I'm not ready to leave, there is so much left to be done. I'm just hoping the weather remains splitter so that I get to climb on the precious few remaing days. I know I'm spoiled and I should be grateful for the time that I'm given, but I'm spoiled and I really want more!

Sigh...back to work.