Thursday, May 29, 2008

Coming home

The last few weeks have been full of travel, navigating through grad school bureaucracy, climbing limestone, gneiss and granite in two countries, househunting, guiding and many other adventures too numerous to convey. After wrapping up my two year stint in Salt Lake it was time to pack up our belongings and head back to the true north strong and free (from far and wide, oh canada, we stand on guaaard fooor theeeee! - Canadian National Anthem). Instead of boring you to death with the details, I will instead pass on some photos which span the space and time since my last post.

1. Evan's getting cosy with his belayer offwidth master Ari Menitov on the bottom of a steep, moist route at American Fork, Utah.

Luckily the second try went better than the first:

2. Witnessing the sweet sport of river boarding in the river at American Fork

3. Trying a really cool route up at the Black Peeler crag in Little Cottonwood Canyon (Ace Drizzle Memorial). No sendage and no climbing shots, but some great spazzing on lead, barndooring off while trying to place gear and only this cheesy portrait to show for my efforts.

3. Teaching a rock rescue course in Squamish, BC.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Gripped eMag spraydown

There's an interview with me and a great shot of my buddy Senja in the current Gripped eMag, located at:

New York I love you, but...

It's nice to be home.

Just got back from a 4 day trip to NYC to pay a surprise birthday/mother's day visit to Evan's mom. Great to see family and catch up, and when Sunday dawned crisp, clear and beautiful, we decided to take a trip to the Gunks to climb some super classic, super steep, super sandbagged routes. We were scampering up the trail to the Lost Cities crag, excited about rumours of an overhanging crack when I took a misstep and tumbled across some boulders, bashing my shin on a sharp one pretty good. Evan took a look while I was still a bit stunned and his tone of voice told me immediately that things didn't look good. I peeked down at my shin... a 4 cm long gash pierced through the fat and one part looked particularly deep. We wrapped some climbing tape around my leg and limped back down to the parking lot and found a clinic that was open on Sunday in New Paltz. The doc put in 4 stitches and said I could go climbing! Back to the crag, but I was feeling tentative and gun shy after my klutzy morning, so it was all TRing for me. Did some great pitches before motoring back to the city for a delicious mother's day dinner with our New York family and friends at a famed Manhattan Italian restaurant (Otto) and even a star sighting (Diane Keaton). She looked like she had just wandered off the set of Annie Hall a few decades later... bowler hat, dark glasses, slacks, 6 inch heels.

The rest of the trip passed with more amazing food (Spice Market was a real standout), wine, family and even a trip to the Chelsea Piers climbing gym! Photos from the trip are below, including my stitched up leg which is healing up great.

Hit up American Fork this afternoon for a sport climbing session and am finally starting to feel back in gear after a long winter. Yay!

Cool art in Evan's sister's building

Battle wound

Evan on the approach to some urban climbing

Empire State Building

The best crag in NY

Monday, May 5, 2008

Indian Creek Crack Attack

Celebrate good times, come on!

To celebrate the successful defense of my master's thesis: "Environmental controls on the stable isotopic composition of laminiated tufa in Red Butte Canyon, Utah", I spent a week pretending I was still a climbing bum living out of my car in Indian Creek. Except... when I really was living out of my car it was a Chevy Corsica not a sweet Tacoma truck, and I had WAAAAYYYY fewer cams and way less cash for wine and rest day extravagances like breakfast at Eclekticafe in Moab. So I guess that means that life has gotten better over the past few years, although my heart is telling me right now that I would trade all these material things to not be sitting in front of this computer wading through mind numbingly tedious revisions on a 150 page thesis that I am ready to huck straight into the Great Salt Lake.

Jeremy contemplates The Optimator

The climbing was fun. When my arms and head finally came back after the first few days of being gripped and tired on 5.10s, I climbed some amazing pitches that I had never been on before... and my future tick list grew in length yet again! But what really made me want to stay down there and continue living the rhythm of eat, climb, eat, climb, drink, eat, sleep repeat was not just red sandstone spitter after corner after splitter. For the past week my life became so simple, yet somehow more rich than any week I spent in Salt Lake this year. I was with friends almost all day, laughing, joking, clowning around, dancing and doing yoga on the slickrock of our campsite, cooking burrito feasts on the tail gate to be washed down by cold beer in front of a flickering campfire as the stunning desert starscape drifted overhead. Not every moment was shared though; tucked into my bed in the back of the truck I read a novel, something that had nothing to do with isotopes, and loved every word of its frivolous text. I often was the first to rise, and I sat in my lawn chair in a sliver of sun with my sleeping bag piled in my lap as I waited for the coffee to bubble out of the espresso maker, filling the cold air with its delicious aroma.
Jeremy sending the SH*T out of Disco Machine Gun

I could wax on forever, believe me... anything to keep from pecking away at some stupid isotope mass balance calculation that somehow has to find a way into the text of my thesis. But I will spare you from any more of my emotional outpourings for today. It is just great to know that as I wrap up this grad school phase of my life, I will hopefully be making room for many more weeks just like the one I have just spent living simply and fully with friends.
Kinley getting psyched for her lead

Jer and Mando hide from the sun

Even the early residents of Indian Creek knew that it is all about the meat capes... biceps get you nowhere!

Kinley and Kitt dancing to Kinley's pumping subwoofer to get warmed up before some serious crack climbing.

Just to prove I was really there!!!