Trying to cram life into words

I read somewhere that the act of crossing things off your to-do list (especially with red ink) releases happy chemicals in your brain. Whether or not this is true, I certainly get a kick out of crossing things off in the guidebook.

Today I circled around the U.M.W.A’s “Small One” boulder with two pads and sang loudly to myself (don’t worry, nobody else was around) as I attempted to flash all eleven of the problems ranging from V1 to V7. Trying to flash a problem is great practice because it forces me to actually think. (I know, this is highly unusual.) Where I didn’t get a flash, I was able to figure out what I did wrong and send within another go or two. While some of these problems were pretty awful (e.g. Small One V2 that starts with a tiny wanna-be mono – no thanks), most were rather enjoyable/adorable (if you haven’t noticed, those are synonymous for me when it comes to climbing).

With our last crew of friends gone, Drexel and I are having to be more selective about our climbs. With only 2.5 pads, we really aren’t psyched to work tricky highballs that could potentially spell our doom. It’s a Monday, and the sparse weekend crowd has dwindled to the extent that we didn’t see any other climbers for the first four hours of the day. We’re hoping to run into a well-padded crew soon who just happen to be psyched on the same climbs we are, before time (and good temps) run out. We only have four more days left at Joe’s Valley, before we’re headed to Moab for a good ole Passover Seder with the “Adventure Rabbi” (intriguing, no?), and then it’s off to Lake Tahoe. Wow. Time flies. It’s been almost four months on the road thus far!

Oh yes, we haven’t mentioned these new plans: thanks to the alluring personalities of Eric and Flannery/Flexel Jr., we have decided to head to Lake Tahoe and find work for a month or two. It might be the addictive warm-up yoga or perhaps it’s the badass casualness they radiate while sending double-digit boulders, but a pinky-promise was made and I ain’t no pinky-promise breaker.

The internet has been down at the Spartan Den for the past week, which has led us to tap into the mysteriously excellent public internet at the City Park. We’ve tried to stay low profile, but we can’t help but come off as creepy hanging around a playground full of children. Yesterday some small child was having a present-filled birthday party at the picnic tables and all the adults glared suspiciously at JP (another climber) who was curled over a laptop with headphones in and a big hoodie covering his face. (JP: I would trust you with my children.) It’s strange how being a rock climber automatically pushes you into the zone of “weird” or “different.” Sometimes it feels like we exist in an entirely different universe from the rest of society (for better or worse).

I’ve gone trigger-happy the past few days, but I’ll narrow it down to  under twenty photos to avoid crashing your computer. They say pictures speak louder than words, but I’ll supply both just in case.

Connor is… well… as usual, trying to lick Drexel’s blood off the rock.


Screenshot from the video of Jason determined to throw a small boulder down all the way to the road. I’m not sure what this was about, but he kept screaming things about hating his father and wanting to go skateboard.


Connor on the hard-to-capture Worm Turns V11.


Drexel on No Substance V9.


ghost king
Drexel right before he sent Ghost King V11. It has been an epic adventure to watch him project this climb since Day 1.




Kyle loves Kona the most, and Kona loves Kyle the most.
Kyle loves Kona, and Kona loves Kyle.


tug boat
Choo choo! Flannery swinging through the crux of Tug Boat Complex V9.


Knock knock. Who’s there? Kona in a coat. Kona is a wha– oh. Awww!!!


black sea
Eric earning his fruit pouch by repeating Black Sea V8. Yes kids, that’s 100% Vitamin C in there.


trents mom
Flannery gliding through the stout bottom moves on Trent’s Mom V10 in between waves of snowy gusts.


water water
Just a hop, skip and jump!


point break
Bridgette figuring out the beta on the tricky Point Blank V8.


Eric giving Drexel the massage of his life.




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