As many of you know, I have embarked on a year long journey that started a little earlier then expected. My original plan was to leave Las Vegas in December but my job had other plans for me. I was laid off. To some this is seen as a reason to panic and lose your mind in an already stressful world. These people gave the expected worried response, “I’m so sorry! What are you going to do?! How are you ever to continue on living!!?” To others this is seen as an opportunity and reason to rejoice. These people gave the one or all of the following responses: “CONGRATULATIONS!!! Where are you off to?? What places are you going to explore?!! I’m so happy for you!!!!” For both groups I give the same response, “I’m off to play and follow my dreams to see where life takes me!” I tried to ignore the confused, “your being irresponsible” looks from the first group and brought into my heart the excited, “go get um tiger” looks from the second group.
All this has brought me today, almost two and a half months since that faithful day in October when I started “livin’ the dream” as a friend of mine would say! In the next few posts I’m going to let you all know the adventures I have been on and give you a preview of what is in store!
To start things off in true dirtbag style, I left work on my last day at 2:30pm and went straight to the bar for some celebratory beers! After 7 beers I made it home for 3 hours of sleep before I was on the road again. Can’t waste time sleeping off a hangover!! I have to get to Yosemite for some climbing!!!!!! I was on my way to meet the local Nebraska legends Eli Powell, Kris Linstrom, and Chris Rolling for a few days in the valley. I didn’t get to see Chris for very long since they already did a good job of shredding their tips the previous week and were set to leave the next day. After some campfire revelry I arose the next morning to a lung full of breathtakingly cold autumn air and the most awe inspiring granite monoliths in the world. Excitement pulled me from my sleeping bag like a starving valley bear looking for its last meal. I could barely contain myself with dozens of climbing dreams running through my brain when I hear Kris start yelling “Someone stole my climbing bag!!!!!” Sigh. No climbing this morning. After hours of searching for clues, talking to park rangers, and rummaging through the woods we find his bag; shredded, slobbered on, and chewed through by a local bear. Good news was that the entire climbing rack that was contained in the bag was untouched and ready for another adventure! Bad news was the bag was a total loss. After closer inspection, the bear had crawled into the bed of my truck, took the bag, walked within 5 feet of 6 sleeping climbers and devoured suntan lotion and a few candy wrappers. Live and learn I suppose.
The rest of the trip went off with out a hitch. Eli, Kris and I managed to get in some awesome climbing. Kris lead up Waverly Wafer 5.10c and Eli lead the link up to Wheat Thin 5.10c Cookie Cliff. Both of these routes together make for a great day of climbing!
We had plans for a single day attack of Snake Dike 5.7 on the south shoulder of Half Dome. 18 miles of intense hiking with a 1000ft route! If you haven’t experienced this route, its a must! Little protection, excellent views, and extreme exposure. The next day Eli had to leave to get back to his love in Boulder so Kris and I headed out to Pat and Jack Pinnacle for some cragging. Sherries Crack 5.10c and Nurdle 5.8 succumbed to our impeccable climbing ability. We ended the day with a beautiful sport climb that followed a series of uncharacteristic knobs right at sunset. Early the next morning Kris had to catch the bus and head back to L.A.
As my close friends left one by one I found myself alone looking up at the sky and impressive granite walls. A strange feeling swept over me, one that I haven’t felt since back in the days of the climbing house; a complete focus of the mind, calmness of the heart and excitement of the soul. At that moment I knew that I was making the right decisions and this first step to Yosemite with some good friends was the perfect way to start things off!