Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mirror Conversations

My Father says just let it go, 
my passion says swing away.
My Mother says to save,
my heart asks for what?
My lovers,
I have lost count.
My friends,
cast into the zephyr.
My art,
delivers me.
Part of this world,
I care not to be.
Life's studious observer,
I am.
just once with me.
Selfish by nature, 
my shirt you can have.
Be still,
echoes my soul. 
begs my demons.

I hope.
for moments.
maybe once.
only to you.
aren't we all.
I can be.
C'est la vie,
Je me suis.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Art of Simple

   There is something to be said about stripping away the unnecessary and having only what one needs. Simplicity is sexy, humble, and from time to time dances side by side with perfection. Save the lingerie ladies, you are at your sexiest in a comfy t-shirt. Don't give me a meal crowded with 20 ingredients, just serve me pan seared scallops with a lemon and butter sauce over a bed of pasta. I'll leave a party of 400 drunk college kids to hang out and dance with a few close friends in a cozy living room every day of the week. I'll take a bottle of wine at home over a $300 dollar bar hopping tab every time.
   My time here in Brevard has shown me first hand the power and beauty of living a simple life. Instead of going to bars or big parties we are content with the company of a few friends, good music and dancing. We don't need climbing trips to far away places when we are happy with a session at the North Side preceded by a PBR or two....or three depending on how hard we climbed. We don't need Atlanta Bread Company or Panera, we have Braken Mountain Bakery with artisan bread and pastries. When it rains we go climbing at Brevard Rock Gym and experience the warmth and psyche that larger, more elaborate gyms can't provide. We don't need amusement parks, we have Pisgah Forest! Life here is not bare but simply.....simple. Living in Brevard is like sitting at a cozy coffee shop at 10pm having a deep conversation with the most beautiful woman you've ever met, oblivious to the world outside your perfect little moment. Yeh its that good here.
   I realized last night as I sat in a very small Thai restaurant, sipping jasmine tea with my beautiful friends Julia and Morgan, that life is at it's best when it is kept genuine and simple. We ate good food, innocently gossiped, and laughed. After our amazing meal we went to our friend Dan's house to drink cheap beer, listen to old CD's, eat ice cream and destroy furniture with an axe. OK so maybe that last one is a little strange but its still good, simple fun and has a completely rational explanation. ( P.S. Don't mess with Johanne Tuttle when she's wearing ski goggles and wielding an axe!)
   My point is when you are making decisions in life choose the simple. You will get all that you need and skip over the unnecessary clutter of unwanted drama and stress. Whether you are trying to decide where to live, what to eat or who to love, simplicity will guide you down a path with honest and genuine results. Life is complicated and sometimes simple isn't entirely possible but we can try. We can strive to ask ourselves " What do I truly and deeply need?". Be content with simple pleasures. Enjoy the beauty of the silent forest at dusk, savor the taste of a good home cooked meal, laugh really hard with friends, hug your mother and father tightly, feel the Autumn breeze kiss your skin and realize that none of this is permanent and it will all be taken away one day. I hope when it is all over I can look back and say that I led a beautiful, rich and simple life. I hope this for all those that I cherish and love.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Drama Majors!

   I've tried to stay as far away from drama in the climbing world for as long as I've been climbing. Anytime I'm around a group of climbers and the conversation drifts towards ethics, politics, style etc. I immediately walk away. I've just never been a fan of such discussions. I'm typically a red blooded, opinion loaded, passionately ranting Scorpio, but when it comes to climbing I've always tried to stay neutral or not involved at all if I can help it. I hate talking about who did what, how they did it or who they did it with in any negative fashion whatsoever. I've kept silent on a public forum but I feel that it is time that I define my stance on this "DRAMA" that seems to surround the community that I hold so dear to my heart. I'll try to keep this short.....
  I am tired of hearing my friends rant, complain and gossip about one another. I'm proud to say that all of my climbing friends are strong well known figures in their respective communities. I've seen each and every one of them do amazing things on the rock. Some only plug gear and they do it with the bold and stoic nature of a Spartan soldier. Some only clip bolts and they do so with the grace and finesse of  well trained ballet dancers. Some boulder and they do so with the power and ferociousness of a wild beast. I go in between each of these disciplines on a regular basis so I am fortunate enough to understand and respect each perspective equally. What breaks my heart is the drama that seems to surround my friends and comrades. I hear my friends arguing over the style in which routes should go up, ground-up vs rap. They argue over grades, " Johnny said this was V6 but I think its V5+ really". They argue over first ascents. " Hey man this is a closed project! You can't get on it until I'm done flailing on it!". They argue over certifications and who is a better, more qualified guide. All of this is bullshit and honestly pathetic,childish banter. How did we go from being ignorant gumbies who love climbing for the challenge and freedom it provides to politicians debating and fighting over such arbitrary topics.  I'm tired of walking away passively as my friends tear the climbing community apart with their personal ego trips!
   If someone wants to rap bolt a route then let them. If someone wants to go ground up, well hell yeh! If Johnny says its V6 then that is what Johnny thinks and it doesn't change a thing. If Henry has an AMGA certification and wants to guide a certain way then let him; he forked out the cash and passed the same damn test that you did. If Alex wants to spray about your "secret" little crag or boulderfield then you should be happy someone else is psyched on the same thing you are. Hell, call them and ask them to join your next session. You might learn something. I mean for god sakes... you can see your "secret" place on Google maps anyway! I'm just sick of it. You are all acting like a bunch of jaded, egotistical, childish and bitter old men . In my opinion, you've completely lost sight of the whole thing. I dare say you are no longer climbers but something else entirely. Something dark and misled, corrupt and lost. I know there are valid arguments to be made regarding style, ethics, and access but make them with honor, respect and tact. Climbing is a gentleman's past time and what I'm seeing is not the actions of gentlemen. I know this isn't going to change anything but I hope it will make those guilty do a little reflection. Clean up your act or go start a club where you can all hang out and thus leave the boulders and crags quiet and peaceful for the rest of us.
   So go ahead. Continue screaming your opinions until you are red in the face. Continue destroying something pure and innocent. Continue dividing the community into factions siding with one empty ideal over another. Continue trying to fill that void in your life by defining and alienating yourself with a set of ethics and rules that I have personally never seen written in stone anywhere, ever.
   I'm going to go into the woods with my friends. We are going to climb, laugh, smile, drink, smoke and have fun. We are going to push limits and learn new things about ourselves. We will cheer for one another. We will show support when others fail. There will not be a harsh word spoken all day. Why will we do this?....  Because we are ACTUAL climbers that love climbing for better or for worse until death do us part. And you.....YOU will stay far away from us. You will not pollute our pure unadulterated joy with your petty, political garbage.
  **** There I got it off my chest. I will never bring it up again. I have too many projects on my plate and good times to be had to waste my time with your nonsense. But I hope you read this and take something away from it. If I offended you then you probably aren't someone I'll ask to go climbing anyways. GOOD DAY!

Oh! I almost forgot. No matter how cool you think you are, just remember... You're just climbing rocks in the woods.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hello Autumn

   Well the weather in Brevard has been amazing for the past 10 days. It has been cool and bluebird ( blue skies) and the friction has been amazing. This change in weather has brought with it a change in my focus. I've been climbing on gear almost exclusively for the past 2 years but recently the art of bouldering has been at the forefront of my mind. Bouldering was my first love. The simplicity of bouldering hits deep within my core. A few nights ago I went out to work on a few of my personal projects and was taken to a great place in my mind.
   As I sat under granite roofs in chilling temps, all I could hear was the wind howling through the trees and the sound of my on heartbeat. My world was confined to the light of my single headlamp and chalk drifted through the light as if I were in my own personal snow globe. There was no one there to impress or distract me nor anyone to encourage me and cheer me on ( or move the pads for that matter). I talked to myself, running through beta possibilities. I screamed in effort with no one around to hear it and I thought " this is pure, absolutely raw and pure". I packed up and hiked out around 11pm and headed home, psyched on the days to follow.
   The next day I went out to the boulders with my friends Jon Hyde and Travis Gray. The energy and psyche were high and I knew it was going to be a good day. When I was alone I could only conjure up so much psyche and drive, but now I had friends that wanted me to send just as much, if not more than I did. I warmed up and bagged a second ascent of a sharp, overhanging problem that Travis had put up a few years ago. We then headed over to my two projects, both are 7 to 10 moves of sustained power and finesse. I brushed the holds, cleaned my shoes, rolled up my pant legs, and ran through the beta once more in my head. "Get in your Box" went first go with ease and Travis and Jon went crazy! It was amazing to share that moment with them. They were just as happy as I was. We then went to my next project "Pimpin it Pretty", an overhung roof with hard slopers and a cruxy mantle to finish. I went through my same routine but this time when I ran through my beta I wasn't sure which sequence to go with at the crux. This is a huge problem for me because I don't go into a legitimate attempt to send unsure of my beta. It makes it very difficult for me to focus and go into the "white room". I sat down and surprisingly fired the problem my the first go and once again Jon and Travis let out loud yells. We ended the day with two pitchers of beer, wings and a lot of shooting the shit.
   The next day I was invited to boulder at my friend Jon Jones' secret boulder-field with my boss and friend Phil. I had no goals going into the day other than having fun and maybe sending. I ended up getting the second ascent of Jon's problem "Hurt Locker" after a few goes. We then headed to the "super project", a dead horizontal roof with season ending sharp holds and BIG moves. I got close to sticking the crux but was ultimately shut down. As I felt my hand land in the harshly sharp crux hold I felt the realization that it will go but not now, not yet. This made me so happy. Success is great and I had a lot of success over the past couple of days, but the failure is what truly inspires me most. Each time I fail it reminds me there is the possibility of a future to be experienced, a future where I will be stronger and wiser. 

"With the exhale of every breath there is the promise,but not certainty that another breath will follow."
   Every year that I have been a climber has been better than the one before. Each season shows me something new about myself. I become more humble, wiser, stronger and more curious about what is in store for me. I become aware of my limits and at the same time more aware that there may not be a limit. This is what I love about climbing, the constant pursuit of a perfection that may or may not exist.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My hands are full.

   So the temps are starting to drop. Its time to start working the lines that have been bouncing around in my imagination all summer. I went out for a quick night session with my friend Micheal last nite and I was amazed by how good the friction was. I didn't send anything new, nor did I expect to but I felt strong. I'm not in prime condition yet but that's ok. Time heals all weaknesses right? It's so hard to find time for all my projects. Some are boulder problems that require pure power, then there are the bold gear lines that require finesse and mental fortitude and lastly there are the sport lines that require endurance and power. Its really hard to work all of those specific needs at the same time. I refuse to walk away from one discipline to work another. I'm just not one of those people, you know the ones that identify with one style and one style only ( usually because they suck at the others). I'm way to hyperactive to stick with one thing. I have to be able to jump between projects. When one stifles me I can move onto another that requires a totally different skill set. This allows me step back from the situation and come back with a fresh mentality and new ideas.
   My biggest obstacle now is finding a partner that's psyched on the same things that I am. I can boulder alone if I have to but for up-climbs a partner is pretty crucial. I refuse to rope-solo. Dumb! I find that its very important to have a partner that is as invested in a project as you are, otherwise the energy fades. I'm super psyched to try some hard lines this Sunday with my friend Camden. I've been waiting for cool weather to make an on-sight attempt, so now I have no excuse. I'm really excited to see where my head game is at right now. The mental aspect of climbing is so hard to judge until you are mid crux and pumped/scared. Only then do you realize whether or not you on your game. Oh well. Guess I will find out Sunday!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I pulled up to the house around 7 or 8....

   So I'm here. I was somewhere else and now I am here. I think my whole life has been like that. The chapters of my life rarely fade into the next, rather they end abruptly and start a new. A few months ago my life exploded and all the pieces were up in the air. I had no idea where I was going next or why. By pure chance ( if you believe in such things) most of the pieces finally landed in Brevard, NC. This is not a new place to me. I've spent most of my life coming up here for the weekend to mountain bike with my Dad and later to climb.But now I live here! I wake up every morning surrounded by the mountains that raised and shaped me. It still hasn't really sunk in yet. The quiet, quaint pace of this small little town is refreshing. The simple, natural beauty is breath-taking and a saving grace at times. The people are friendly and share a love for their home like I've never seen before, maybe because I've never lived anywhere this amazing.
   I landed a great job at Looking Glass Outfitters working for the best boss one could ask for. I've made a few friends in my short time here and I look forward to meeting more of the awesome people that call this place home. I'm finally in a position to focus on my climbing like never before in my life and intend to find my limit then push past it. I can be in the forest in minutes and be lost in movement before I know it.
   A lot of emotional pain followed me here but that's alright. You can use any force to drive you to greater personal levels, pain has always worked well for me in the past. If I were anywhere else, the drama of the past few months may have gotten the best me. When I'm alone in the boulder-field, sitting amongst the ferns or hanging off the side of a mountain and a breeze rolls through I'm brought back to my proper self. The air fills my lungs and I am reminded of why I landed here. I wanted a simple life that is filled with beauty, balance and passion. I have all of that here, it is just up to me to get the most out of myself. I'm so excited to see what Autumn has in store for me.