Friday, January 23, 2009


I left Vancouver ten days ago.  Matt Segal, John Dickey and Matt's friend Robert picked Sarah Watson and I up at the El Paso airport.  From there, we drove 7 hours south of the border to Pinoles, a deserted bouldering area ripe for first ascents.  We spent 5 days climbing and exploring.  It's the sort of area where you can do whatever you want, whatever suits your fancy.  For me the highlight was seeking out proud lines, ones that called to me.  

It's a cool creative process.  Wandering the desert, eyeballing features, assessing the hazards, and eventually bucking up to give it a try.  For me, first ascents are rarely about sheer difficulty.  It's all about aesthetics- swooping cracks, triangular faces, big boulders.  I can't explain it, but it's all about beautiful lines.  

Ermanno Salvaterra, Italian alpinist, once compared Cerro Torre and her "sisters" to women.   Having made countless trips to Patagonia, Salvaterra had clearly fallen in love with these peaks.   Clearly obsessed, Salvaterra won't let those mountains alone.

Climbers, by nature, are obsessive people.  On this trip I realized that I am very susceptible to the draw of beautiful lines.