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.