Saturday, June 13, 2009

Back at it

The last week has been a rough one in the climbing community. I have been feeling pretty glum thinking about my friends Micah Dash and Jonny Copp who were killed in an avalanche in China. I don't really know what to say... those guys were top-notch and big inspirations for me. I heard that they found Jonny's body right before my slideshow at the Leavenworth Rockfest. Man, it was tough to go up and act positive when all I wanted to do was be alone.

My motivation was waning big time, but as always, climbing seems to help. I have been coming really close on the Cobra crack. I love the all-consuming nature of that climb: the 45 minute hike, the remote nature of the cliff, the huge cedars and doug firs nudging up against the cliff.

I have been throwing myself at the climb relentlessly, and have one-falled it once on lead. My high point was just above the lip, trying to toss my foot above my head. My fingers are totally mangled and I'm going to have to take a couple days off.

When I first hiked up and saw the Cobra I was in high school and it was still a project. It is really beautiful, a stunning slice up an overhanging wave of perfect granite. Back then, it was called a project for the next generation, a futuristic route that may never be climbed. Times have changed. It has now had four ascents, all by really dedicated strong climbers: Sonnie Trotter, Nico Favresse, Ethan Pringle and Matt Segal. I still get goosebumps everytime I walk underneath it.

It is a joy to lose skin on this thing. Thinking about Micah and Jonny is a real wake-up call for how finite life can be. So right now I'm trying to appreciate the small things and enjoy the whole package- the painful locks, the struggle, and the friends that have generously come to belay me.

I'm a lucky kid.