Monday, November 4, 2013

Snow is falling and employment begins again.

I now find myself back in Aspen, CO after what seems like a blink of an eye. Though in that moment I think I have racked up over 60 hours of driving, four states, one government shutdown, hundreds of pitches climbed and who knows how many beers consumed. So I guess it wasn't the worst time of my life.

After my last update I worked for about two more weeks before heading down to Durango to hang out for a few days and ready myself for the road tripping that was about to commence. From Durango, I drove out to my seasonal home, Indian Creek. There I spend almost a week getting in as much climbing as possible to get into better climbing shape. In that time I was able to establish one new route and climbed many routes that were new to me ranging from 5.10-5.12.

After that short stint in the desert I drove out to Yosemite with my friend Tyler. On the way we received word that the government might be shutting down and the park as a result would be closing and according to the news we received we had to be in the park by midnight to guarantee our admittance, and so the race was on. After arriving in Camp 4 at 1am and snoozing for a few hours before getting a site I met up with my friend Jack and began hashing out climbing plans for the next week. Yes we knew the park was shutting down and no, we were not letting that rain on our parade. Jack had spent the night with a couple of other friends hauling some bags up to Heart Ledges on El Capitan. The next day we set off climbing the Freeblast, the first 11 pitches of the Salathe Wall and the right number of pitches and rappels brought us to dinner and sleeping bags. We wound up spending 5 days and 4 nights on the wall as we were in no rush to get off as we knew we'd be kicked out upon descending so I was able to enjoy a unique experience sleeping thousands of feet off of the valley floor, watching raptors rocket past, wake up to sunlight peeking around The Nose and of course hauling hundreds of pounds of gear up a vertical face (Thank god for mechanical advantages).

After getting the boot from Yosemite Tyler and I returned to the Indian Creek for more desert escapades and some side trips to Durango for a couple of weeks. Highlights from this time included hanging out with Durango friends on their weekend trips out. Getting to climb with my awesome girlfriend and watching her onsight pitch after pitch one weekend. Catching up with friends from far away places, like Salt Lake City. Meeting/making new friends from the UK and Australia. As well as onsighting and sending a passel of 12's and other routes on my todo list.

In the middle of this time in the desert I was able to spend a weekend with my Grandpa and a whole bunch of family out in the Chicago area. It was pretty rad to hear so many stories from an 89 year old's life and perspective!

For now I will spend my days working, undertaking new projects, recovering from the last week of partying and prepping the van for winter.

Any winter themed topics I ought to address?...Any topics in general you guys want to hear about?

Looking across the valley from El Cap.

Looking up the route

The topo for The Salathe.

Getting ready for the day after a slightly uncomfortable night on the portaledge.

Looking up at the sunrise from El Cap. Spire.

Looking down the route, though my left foot is blocking most of the route.

Made it to the top to enjoy a spectacular sunset.

No parking...unless you're this guy!

Looking down valley from Scarface wall. Photo by David Canova

A fraction of the Durango gang. Photo by David Canova

Ready to Jazzercise for Halloween. Photo by Shelby George

Another Durango gathering. Photo by David Canova.

I think I might have more photos that I took while schralping the gnar and will hopefully post those up later this month.