With little desire to indulge in the feeding frenzy that is the holiday season, I decided to head south to climb. Often I think about my life and feel half crazy for what I do. I work full time at a real job and cram a full time passion for climbing into two days a week every weekend. Alas, with careful planning I turned four days off work for Christmas into 10 full days of climbing my way around my distinct lack of holiday cheer. With no real agenda, clipping some bolts in Vegas seemed like a reasonable option to start.
Bend to Vegas in one day started to feel extreme when Sara and I began hallucinating around hour 13. With some creative sightings of squirrel-bunnies, pavement-sting rays, and roadside bison, our sleep deprivation amplified the last two hours into a grueling test of mental endurance. And because every road trip has its deficiency in convenience at some point, my expectations didn’t fall short. Sara and I drove many, many hours with a window that was stuck rolled part of the way down and a stereo that would only actively respond to physical abuse. One roll of duct tape later and hours of talking/laughing all minor issues seemed to cure themselves.
Upon arrival, Red Rocks was taking a rest day - it had rained that night before. So after contemplating a forced rest day, we met up with Tori and Zephyr and hoped back behind the wheel. With every intention of heading to the Virgin River Gorge seeking dry rock, we just kept driving until we reached the bright red walls of St. George, Utah. A road trip within a road trip and two states later we were back in Vegas with a perfect forecast.
|Unknown 5.12 in St George
|Unknown 5.12 in St George
To reflect, almost two years ago I visited Red Rocks and fell in love with sport climbing. I returned a year later with a serious deficiency in my lead climbing ability and confidence due to self-indulgent top roping sessions at Smith. Six months ago I badly tore my hand and decided to completely change the way I approached climbing. Suddenly not having a sport like climbing in my life put new goals into perspective: Hang the draws, take the falls, and suck it up. Since July I've never looked back, leaving my top rope habit behind like the wet blanket it was. Being back in Red Rocks again was refreshing not only because I was there with two amazing women whom I love to climb with, but also because the way I approached climbing had changed completely and for the better.
| Tori on Fear and Loathing 5.12a
|Sunny and Steep|
Climbing with Sara and Tori was rad. The three of us together set off a mind numbing echo of giggles and laughing through the canyons and over bottles of wine. Truly an unforgettable trip climbing with two of my favorite partners. Sara is an extremely talented boulder, sport, and trad climber. Watching her achieve her first 12c on Sound of Power was impressive to say the least seeing as she did it second try after hanging the draws. This route is no gimmie for the grade and features a low stopper crux at the second bolt. Good Job Sara!
|Sara sending Sound of Power 5.12c
I have tried Sound of Power for the last two trips and although I hate giving up, sometimes it needs to be done. With the exception of a single move, I could seemingly climb through the top with ease. Again and again however I failed to execute the move at the second and eventually pulled my draws down with hope of maybe next time?
|Ryan Deegan (Beastmaster) on his quick tick of Sun Splash 5.13b|
After long exhausting days on overhung sandstone, Sara headed north for the Holidays and Tori and I found some rocks in Bishop. Surprise! I loved it. It's weird; I've been there several times but have never fallen in love like I did on this trip. I could spend months there and it would never get old. There's something in the air there...it's so awesome. Who would have thought I liked bouldering?
So back to Bend. Back to work. And back to waiting to climb for 5 days every week... I learned that I definitely have some weaknesses within my bouldering strength and steep climbing endurance. Something fun to work on when we get snowed out of Smith...when/if that ever happens.