Saturday, February 26, 2011

Grit trip

In a few days I'll be off on another trip, this time to the the gritstone edges of England. I am very excited about this one. My friend Jeremy Blumel will accompany me for most of it. I've climbed with Jeremy a lot, and he and I share a similar infatuation with movement on rock. A real climber's climber, with ballerina footwork and vice-strong fingers. Hopefully I'll be able to pry Hazel away from her studies to come join us too.

Josh Wharton, Whit Magro and Nate Opp just sent huge in Patagonia, completing a much sought-after free link up: Desmochada, to the La Silla, to Fitzroy. This was a pipe dream of loads of climbers (myself included). I can't see the prize going to a more deserving team.

Jason Kruk and I climbed Desmochada back in 2008. The razor-sharp granite was punishing on that peak, but it still stands as one of the best adventures I've experience. Onsighting steep rock, on such a wild peak, provided a strong cocktail of adrenaline. At the top, in a burgeoning storm, I felt my first tinges of frantic summit fever, while wedged in an icy chimney. Jason said, "Calm the fuck down!" and I slowed a bit, taking extra care. We topped out just as white clouds engulfed the Torre valley, rapped all night, got ropes stuck, and staggered back to camp completely worked. That was a mission I'll never forget.

I've taken a couple years off from Patagonia recently. The peaks down there still call to me, but I needed a break. To climb well in down there you must be psyched to the hilt, and I just haven't felt that requisite headspace lately. In Patagonia, you get told when to climb by the weather. And when its game on, you better be ready to play.