The stream of my life has flowed quickly and through differing terrain in the last few months. Now, I am alone for a time at the outset of a new journey, reflecting – in the present, but thinking backwards and forwards. Despite beginning this journey not so long ago, the stillness of being alone is already permeating me. I hear my thoughts more, and they slow and become clear. My body has a deeper, and more subtle tactile quality, and I feel my movements more acutely. With each presentation to my senses there is more of a consideration. Forcing time to rewind in my mind, I let it replay.
Oddly, major events begin at a haircut in early March by which I relinquished my long hair, top knot style pony tail, and a connection to the samurai. Next was a quick trip to Russia to compete in an Ice Climbing World Cup, and experience a new country. Then, back home for gym climbing and training to prepare for US Sport Climbing nationals, which would be my first “rock” climbing competition. It is an interesting version of the sport. The day after the competition ended, April 4, I departed to Spain with Emily for 7 weeks. It was a trip characterized in stages, by people and location. Stage 1 – Chris Sharma and Daila Ojeda’s home in St. Llorenc de Montgai with Andrew Bisharat, Jen Vennon, Keith Ladzinski, and Elly Stewart. Stage 2 – Tom Bolger and Lynne Malcolm’s home in Santa Linya with Joe Kinder and Colette McInerney. Stage 3 – Tom Bolger and Lynne Malcolm’s home in Santa Linya with Joe Kinder and Colette McInerney and Beth Rodden. Stage – 4 Tom Bolger and Lynne Malcolm’s home in Santa Linya with Said Belhaj. Stage 5 – Rodellar with Paige Claassen, Neely Quinn, Clay and Rosie Cahoon. Highlights include: — Hanging out, getting to know, and being inspired and impressed by each and every one of the above mentioned individuals, as well as so many other local and traveling climbers. — Climbing at Oliana, Tres Ponts, Santa Linya, Terradets, Margalef, and Rodellar. — Barcelona, the fresh food market and live, late night Flamenco and La Rambla. — up to 8c+ red points and 8a+ on sights. — The rare and special rhythm of life lived for a project. A process that is so profound and meaningful to me, that I suffer without it. — Conversely, days and moments of spontaneity and creativity brought forth by the ‘one chance’ nature of hard on sight climbing. I must have undergone some sort of growth or maturation, because I experienced a strength and confidence that I have not felt before. It rendered me more capable of intuitive movement and decisions, less attached to outcomes…essentially, more free.
Despite this experience being vastly profound in my life, I find myself always returning to a familiar notion. It is one which contrasts climbing to The Grand Scope of Things, it brings context and allows me to retain perspective. In relation to the above mentioned climbing maturation, the contrast comes as a voice in my head, “Who fucking cares that you became a better on sight climber? You’re climbing blather is boring and unimportant. IT DOESN’T MATTER.” All true, it makes me crack a smile. It is an ingrained pattern within my mind, a torturous process by which I justify a frivolous and selfish pursuit by trying to relate it to everything else in the world/universe. So here, I think, is the lesson, presented as question – Can I move through life as I have experienced moving on rock? Feeling balance and harmony and grace? Is it possible to flow intuitively through our interactions and our relationships with each other and with the natural world? – The answer must be ‘Yes.’ Or at least, it must be for me. It is my take, and my lesson to bear and learn.
So. That was Spain in a nutshell. From there to Boulder for 24 hours, which was just enough time to sleep a little bit, unpack, repack, get an oil change for my van, work on the van interior, pack it, and do a photo shoot with Keith and Elly for TNF. Immediately after, Emily and I got in the van and drove 12 hours through the night to Caldwell, ID to see our friend, artist Matthew Barney, and hear him give the commencement speech at my alma mater. After a night of much needed sleep, another 12 hours in the van to San Jose, CA. After another night’s sleep, and 3 more hours of driving, we were in Yosemite for a few days of meetings and climbing. We then went back to San Jose to spend some days Bay Area touring and visiting friends. Then, 9 hours on the road to Salt Lake City for a night, and 2 hours in the morning to Maple Canyon for a couple days. Then, to Vail for the Teva Mountain Games weekend, and finally back to Boulder on June 5. 4 days there, 3 days in Rifle, 4 more days in Boulder, a flight to Salt Lake City and a drive to Maple for 2 days and back, 5 days in SLC for the Black Diamond summer sales meeting, and finally a flight from SLC to Munich, Germany, which is where I sit at this moment, after a day of climbing in the Frankenjura, and in the beginnings of a radical adventure.