Tuesday, March 26, 2013

March adventures

This past month I've gotten to meet new friends, climb in new areas, climb with old friends and left one job with prospects of another after a break from work for climbing.

The first week of March I joined the FLC climbing club on a trip to Red Rocks, NV. This is a climbing area outside of Las Vegas with routes over a 1000' long with plenty of easy, moderate and difficult ones. The trip was largely uneventful as I ended up getting snowed out after only four days of climbing, though it was great to cruise up some easy and moderate routes as well as go for some rad hikes, see some wild burros and test out the new solar get up I got for the van this winter.

After leaving Las Vegas and taking a detour that tacked on an extra seven hours of driving through some blizzardy conditions I returned to Durango to resupply and get ready to move out to the desert (Indian Creek). I toodled on out there and have spent the last few weeks out there climbing with new friends and weekend warriors. I've been pretty psyched so far to have onsighted more than a few 5.11+ - 5.12 routes, seems like the muscle memory is still kicking and my climbing fitness that deteriorated over the winter is making a come back. Another highlight was the release of the new Indian Creek guide book that has several routes that I have established, it's official the word 'schloob' has been published.
First sunset back in the Creek with the N. Six Shooter

Summit of the S. Six Shooter

View from the Colorado River Overlook in Canyonlands

Oh dang.

Spencer with his favorite Joshua Tree

The start of the snowy driving, accompanied with some rather delightful views

Some wild burros that we tamed and rode back to camp

Almost to the climbs for the day!

I'm currently back in Durango as a result of a spontaneous decision to take a rest day...or three here. I'll be heading back, looking forward to a creekster celebration with a large group from Durango and the greater southwest area this weekend. I'm also pretty psyched to meet up with my buddy Kevin to work on Bellyful of Bad Berries, an overhung crack that I tried a few years ago and has been on my todo list since. Here's a link for those that are unfamiliar with this rather iconic climb.

Quick edit: Just had a sneek peek at my friend Spoon's film The Current and if any of you folks are in Durango around April 10th you should definitely consider checking out the premier of the movie! More details and a trailer and other info are HERE.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Tolerance for Adversity and Uncertainty

Boom. Here is the first installment of the dirtbaggin' tips. Any feed back is welcome. I'll try and add some photos later. Is this too long, too detailed, lacking something? Questions? Let me know...

Like I've said this is based on my personal experiences thus far. As they're limited take all this nonsense with a grain of salt.

‘Tolerance for Adversity and Uncertainty’ is perhaps my favorite phrase taken from my Adventure Ed. classes at the Fort. I feel like this phrase, assuming you can tick the yes or mostly so box, means that you have patience, competency (this can certainly be a relative term), and open mind and perhaps most importantly some sort of sense of adventure.

Patience is indeed a virtue and is a must in dirtbagging as there are few permanent certainties.  Who knows where the next job will be, next partner, next meal, next legal place to camp etc. In my experience snap decisions often lead to more problems than solutions. Often times it’s simply best to stay put for an extra ½ hour, call a friend, and find some free wi-fi or simply take a deep breath before committing to anything. I’ve also found, and this certainly won’t work for everyone, but realizing that this is where you’re at and for better or worse you have to accept your current situation for what it is and do what you can rather than playing the ‘what if’ game (unless you have lots of time and it won’t hurt morale then go for it as it’s plenty of fun and easy to play).

Competency or knowing one’s limits is also crucial for such an errrr rough and tumble lifestyle. Whether you’re chasing those perfect powder turns, seeking the next best downhill spot or slammin’ cams in perfect splitters it is good to acknowledge your weaknesses for several reasons. First of which is, if you’re dirtbagging properly, normally it is unlikely you have super comprehensive health insurance or a place to recover from a serious injury (insurance will be addressed more thoroughly at a later time), as a result it’s best to avoid such predicaments by backing down and accepting the serving of humble pie rather than the alternative. Second, is no one likes to partner up with the sketch ball that claims to be doing things they only dream of, whether that’s hucking cliffs, sending 5.15 or being able to belay competently, as partnering up with one of these people or being one of these individuals can be both frustrating and/or dangerous and that’s just poor form. So, I guess competency also incorporates honesty, humility, good judgment skillz and common decency; perhaps a tall order but I’ve been told it is good to strive to your full potential.

Open mind, I reckon is another vague topic that to me means that it’s best to be ready to go with the flow. If an opportunity presents itself that’s close to your goal/final objective then go for it, as it may make for a great story later. Sometimes almost is good enough in real life and horseshoes and hand grenades. I say this because, in my experience and this has certainly be echoed by others, life always seems to work out perfectly in the end. That’s not to say there won’t be hiccups and hardships; but with a positive attitude it’s not really that hard to find the silver lining in most situations. For instance you miss a few meals – losing those pounds to send harder, miss a nights rest – sleep better the next day, get hopelessly lost- motivation to take that orienteering class, well I could go on but you hopefully get the idea.

Lastly, sense of adventure goes hand-in-hand with open mind as I think it would be difficult to have one without the other, I reckon they’re pretty much mutually constitutive. It’s best to be ready to have curve balls thrown to you; whether it’s weather, other people, automotive troubles etc. Be ready to laugh at the most frustrating situations and go into what I call ‘adventure mode’ where I try and adopt a ready for anything attitude, keeping in mind that later, this might make a decent story.

As I’ve been writing this I have realized that creativity is also pretty clutch for having a proper tolerance for adversity and uncertainty. This can be demonstrated through temporary repairs, permanent repairs, execution of plans and a great many other things. Basically, creativity to me is using what you have to improve whatever situation you’re in, bad or good.