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The Best of 2012

Coming home to Nebraska for the holidays always gives me many things to relish – seeing family and friends, Christmas Eve spent drinking mead and filling Mom’s living room to the roof with wrapping paper, getting schooled at 8-ball by Dad, climbing at the UNL wall, coffee shops done right and watching all the well-fed red-decked Husker fans waddling about just to name a few.

People are good folks around here. It’s the day after Christmas and the woman behind the counter at Panera almost teared up with a smile that highlighted well-worn crow’s feet when I gave her a $1 tip for a cup of tea. (Maybe tipping at Panera is not the norm?)

After a snowless year, the bright reflections in sun-covered Nebraska ice are clear moments to remember a year full of changes.

At every fork, most stay on the highway, but dirt roads eventually siphon us away from the same path. The difference can be imperceptible until we take a breath and truly think about the massive changes time dictates.

Will is in Alaska. Ryan is in Maryland. Janice is in Vancouver. Lizz is in Florida. I am in California. The dusty trails lead to new highways and we travel far from each other’s daily lives. What once were close empathetic connections quickly become summaries of events, the emotions that filled the gaps making them real left to the imagination.

But it’s OK. These are the choices we make. In the end we only answer to ourselves.

What I love most about my group of friends, near and far, is simple. When I do get the chance to see them, to look them in the eyes, it’s as though no time has passed. I know when I see any one of them that they know me, not for the things I’ve done like some timeline obituary, but for who I am – the ideas, the sense of humor, the ways of thinking and the imperfections that make a person.

Many of my friends share a love of the outdoors and climbing. Inspired by Eli, Ron, Charlie and other great photographers I’m privileged to observe, I’ve tried to become better behind a lens. Below are some of my favorite photos of the year, highlighted again here, with the benefit of ClimbingHouse’s new format. A good photo can put you somewhere, give you a feeling of the exposure, the heat, the elements, the smell of Joshua Tree dust or the chill of Eldo in a Blizzard. A good photo isn’t worth 1000 words. A good photo is worth elevendy or even twelvendy billion words.

I hope 2013 will bring more experiences like those depicted here.

Andrew washing up in Yosemite's Merced River after The Rostrum

Sunset at Big Sur

Hamish leading Tombstone Terror at Lover's Leap

Castle Rock Relic

Kris leading AC Devil Dog at the Grotto

Lake Melones viewed from The Grotto

Chris Kalman leading the unbelievable Pitch 3 of The Rostrum

The vast Joshua Tree landscape

Tuolumne Meadows

David and Lenny climbing The Headstone at Joshua Tree

Kris taking a spin on Midnight Lightning

Laughlin cruising the spectacular pitch 3 of OZ to the Gram Traverse

Exploring Yosemite (Photo Andrew Kuklinski)

Climbing over sunset at Mickey's Beach

Tyler - Great photos, and it was great to see you over the holidays. I’m looking forward to 2013, and being able to get out to visit.January 12, 2013 – 12:48 am

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