29 May 2008

Belayer and donations needed

As the title indicates, I am in need of a belayer for Sunday, June 14. Now this isn't for just some recreation. True, most weekends I am searching for a climbing partner, though I realize that isn't always possible, so I adjust my goals and endeavors for the day.

Last night I talked with Sean Patrick of Carbondale. I shouldn't have been able to talk to her. Truth is Sean Patrick shouldn't be talking on the phone. She shouldn't have gone for the hike she did earlier in the day outside of Aspen. She shouldn't be an altruistic person who founded a nonprofit.

Sean Patrick should have died in 2000. Just before heading out to Yosemite with some friends that year she wound up taking a different voyage - this one on a Flight For Life helicopter to Denver. She was given an ultimatum: 4 weeks to live or surgery which had a 20% survival rate. She chose that latter.

She has had seven surgeries to date, participated in a couple of clinical trials and no, her ovarian cancer is not in remission - it never will be. She has come to terms with it in a healthy manner. "I am OK with giving it its piece of real estate. It just can't spread out for beachfront property."

In 2002, Patrick began HERA Climb4Life. The organization has two purposes: fundraising for cancer research - $750k in six years to date, and to empower women battling the disease.

On June 14th, Climb4Life will be taken a small group of ovarian cancer survivors, plucking them out of their comfort zone and placing them on the summit of the First Flatiron. Also a larger more diverse of group will be cragging in Boulder Canyon, celebrating life, something many didn't believe they would be able to do after their first diagnosis.

So I need a belayer. I figure giving up one day of my life to shed light on this organization is a small price to pay. I will bring a video camera and film a package - both from the vantage of on the rock and on the ground, for our newscast that evening.

If you are willing to help with donations - a big plea in this recession, visit HERA Foundation by clicking on this link.

Enjoying life

Got home a bit ago mountain biking with Jason @ South Valley Open Space. Felt surprisingly good considering it was my second single-track outing this season. And I'm happy to report all of my skin is attached. Need to tune-up the legs, lungs and bike for my weekend trip to Fruita in a couple of days.

This past weekend was spent in Buena Vista with a gaggle of friends and strangers and lots of goodwill, firewood and beer.

Some of the climbing pics:

Gabe working a 5.12

Gabe whipping off the 5.12. It was a frequent occurrence. But after multiple attempts, Gabe dialed in the sequence in one of the more powerful displays of climbing I've seen. His resolve and determination are something to emulate.

My lead. Nothing spectacular. Something to plug gear in and get comfortable after not having led anything since Labor Day last year and on only my second outing on a rope this season. Just wished it was about three times as long.

Don't take life too seriously

Our anchor Kellie lighting up the mood after an error-plagued newscast

WWDVD? What would Darth Vader do?

Has been awhile since I looked at my Costa Rica trip. Me on a sendero in Santa Elena Cloudforest Refuge

Mmmm! Bacon! Actually peccaries stink like no other. These bold things are all around the reserve and offer no excuses for you being in their way on the trail

12 May 2008

Forgoing snow for granite

The alarm blared at an ungodly, way-too-early hour. It was still dark, the room outside of the blankets was cold. Trudging upstairs I forwent the brimful coffee pot waiting and checked the weather at my intended destination. The results were not kind: wind gusts of 32 mph and a wind chill in the single digits. The wind would not let up on Sunday, that I knew. Combine the lack of sleep with the chill in the air, my motivation was wavering. With a yawn, I acquiesced my non-alpine fate.

A few hours later I was simmering. It was beautiful outside. Despite knowing I probably made the right decision, I still couldn't help but stew over the fact I was sitting in my place with a cup of coffee as opposed to cramponing up a couloir off of Mayflower Gulch. The last few years have been the nadir of my alpinism career. I can count the times I've used an ice ax on one hand. The mountains are where I feel alive. I needed to vent before the frustration pullulated inside of me, becoming something festering.

Off to my home away from home. Earbuds in, I breezed past the crowds of families celebrating Mother's Day outside. There were a few problems I reconnoitered previously but whose granite I had not tasted.

This does not go!

And not for a lack of trying. I was amazed I was able to even mount the rock before, let alone pull a move. It is nearly void of features, and those minute incuts and nubs which were there, were friable at best.

This does go three different ways

The fun-looking way is the over-hanging arete on the left. A sit-down start to a desperate grab to a giant bulge. After that yard up, heel-hook, reach up to a sloping knob and mount the bulbous growth without causing damage to your crotch! V3, though it might be a bit tougher now. A right-side foothold broke off on my third climb, causing a slight bruise on my right ankle as the chunk of rock banged into my bone.

The right-side of the face goes at the same grade. The left-side is a little tougher. It also required a number of attempts to get the sequence and body-positioning down. With some more traffic, this will be a great boulder and should open up at least two more problems. It does get heady bouldering by yourself, 15 feet up and not knowing if the flexing little nub your foot is on is going to blow.....

Because that did happen on a different climb. My left foot shot down as gravity tugged down hard at me. Instead of surrendering to an awkward fall sans crashpad, I clutched down with my right leg and squeezed in. The result was my still staying on the boulder but also my right quad acquiring a spasm which I have not felt in some time.

Four hours with sunshine, biting granite and pine needles was a good alternative. Heck Monday I made a visit to O'Fallon Park to get some more problems in. I rediscovered my lost boulder, successfully cranked three problems on it. Though my energy began ebbing and I called it a day after two hours. I scouted the surrounding hillside for some unearthed mound waiting for the pattering touch of chalked fingers, though I was without luck.

ARTIST OF POST - Lex Lane. Very soulful.

The other way is the face on the left-hand side

01 May 2008

Random snowy tidbits

It's May and it is snowing outside. The nice thing is it is one of those, been snowing for hours yet the streets are bare. Also the thought it will be in the 60s this weekend makes the 2-day wet, cold interlude to spring more palatable.

Thought this was a funny photo. While skiing down from the cabin on Monday morning, I heard the familiar musical chime of my digital camera turn on from inside the pocket of my shell. While attempting to turn it off with gloved hands, I accidentally shot this experimental nouveau self-portrait:

As you can see, I am sporting the beard. When it reaches the 70s consistently, it will come off. Also I'm about three months overdue for a haircut. I figure I'm a metrosexual way ahead of the curve - shunning the preened and shiny look for what I am simply calling, "The Chewbacca".

What lady could resist such a studly countenance?

Almost done reading a really good book, "Motoring with Mohammed". The book follows the author as he tries to recover a series of journals he buried on a deserted island off the Yemeni coast 10 years earlier. As he revisits this southern Middle East country, he paints a beautiful picture of a juxtapositional society and culture with many serene and austere qualities.

My left elbow is creaky after bouldering earlier this week. I don't want a repeat of a couple of years ago when a partially torn tendon killed my climbing season. As such, I might skip a group climbing trip to Shelf Road this weekend and instead go climb and ski a couple of peaks this weekend solo: Uneva and Mt Guyot. I've had my eye on the former for a couple years now and got a good look at it this past weekend.

ARTIST OF POST - Belly. Slipped this CD in a few weeks ago and I felt I was 19 again.