Editors Note: This is a joint post, an alternating narrative, between Patrick and Chris. Patrick is standard font, Chris is in italics. We hope you enjoy the story told simultaneously from two perspectives.
The sandstone towers of the southwest US captured my imagination from the moment I first saw them in second-hand climbing magazines. Splitter cracks, demanding specific technique and gear to match, intimidated and intrigued me. The desert, serene yet severe, seemed like an alien world, so unlike the cornfields, prairies and urban sprawls of the Midwest: a wilderness playground from another planet. I now live out West, and I have found Albuquerque to be an excellent location for home base. A multitude of world class climbing destinations beckon from within a half-day’s drive. One of the few privileges of graduate school is the flexibility to determine my own schedule, so I have no problem planning to disappear from the lab when Chris calls to let me know he is going to be in the neighborhood.
As of late I have been faced with a double whammy of obstacles to climbing. First, as always, I am based in the Midwest, a condition that I no longer lament but embrace as part of my persona as a climber. Second, I am a father, a responsibility and privilege I cherish for its rewards. But for all of the positivity these bring to my life, they stand headlong in the way of my passion. So in a situation where climbing trips are infrequent, you capitalize on opportunities to mix in climbing days among “normal” vacations. This leads us to a trip to Gateway, CO with a goal to climb the Palisade by a relatively new and seldom-repeated route, Immoral Disproval. It will be a difficult climb for me, the hardest lead on gear I’ve attempted and begs the question: “Is this another foolishly optimistic goal or a recipe for success and reward?”