Oct 18 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Fall has come in full force here in Yosemite. We are definitely experiencing an amazing stretch of Indian summer, spoiling us with comfortable consistent temps and endless options for climbing.


In continuing with my “year of travel” theme, I’ve been in and out most of the past two months. After returning from a great extended trip to Colorado, I immediately went up to Skaha and their first annual climbing festival. It was great to meet the local climbing community up there and I even snuck in a few pitches with my friend Will Stanhope. Will is back at it after suffering a severely broken foot from a massive ground fall over in the UK this past spring. Unlike my injuries (which tend to be very mundane and non dramatic and leave myself and most people wondering how I actually hurt myself) Will’s was a huge fall with a pretty gnarly injury. But, in true form he’s now back up on El Cap hopefully sending and having a great time.


Shortly after my trip to Skaha, I spent a few days in Sonoma with the PCI crew and then up to Banff. I had the great opportunity to give a slideshow to a handful coaches around the US and Canada and work with some of the girls on Canadian junior circuit, as well as a handful of awesome local women climbers. Competition climbing has come a really long ways since I competed fifteen years ago. Back then there were no teams, coaches, and a very rough comp circuit. It was a pretty comical mix of kids and adults in isolation. Along with Chris Sharma, Tommy Caldwell, Katie Brown, etc we were all part of this first generation of kid climbers that started competing, and for the most part we were just a bunch of kids out there to have fun. This was back in the day of tight spandex, shoe string width harnesses, and the trend of trying to cut as much external weight when competing. One comp in particular Chris came out, basically walked up the beginning of a route to a roof. Upon starting to climb out the roof, his wallet promptly fell out of his back pocket followed by a set of keys. The crowd started chuckling as he glanced down at the wallet, laughed and kept climbing out. Needless to say he didn’t subscribe to the whole “light as can be” fad. I think we all learned from each other, us to maybe take it a little more seriously and the adults to maybe take it a little less seriously.


The kids that I worked with up in Banff were full of energy and enthusiasm for climbing. It was such a treat to get to see a room full of all girls climbing with each other and encouraging each other, definitely much different than when I was competing. Climbing gyms have opened up climbing to girls all over the world, and they are lucky to have each other to climb with.


Now, I’m back in Yosemite for a few days before heading out to the Access Fund’s 20th Anniversary Party and annual board meeting. I’ve found that coming home in between trips to be such an important part of travel for me. Being such a home body, just getting a day or two to decompress and settle into a comfortable routine recharges me. The Sierras in particular have an amazing energy that provide the perfect environment for me. Huge trees, great granite and wonderful friends are hard to beat. I’ve managed to sneak in some climbing the past few days, even a late season trip up to Toulumne. It was perhaps the most pleasurable trip I’ve ever had up to the high country; there wasn’t a soul in sight, perfect temperatures and great friends. I have to admit that my thumbs are sore from squeezing the quintessential knobs, but I’m hoping that winter hasn’t come by the time I return and I can head up for one more day of high country bliss.




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  • I think Max is smirking 😉

    October 19, 2011 at 12:26 am
  • I love Max – what a sweet pooch you have!

    November 4, 2011 at 12:57 am
  • Thanks! He's a good boy.

    November 4, 2011 at 1:41 am