Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sandstone Splitters

A week in Indian Creek, certainly too short a stop with so many splitter cracks!

I got my first 5.11 onsight trad lead: Top Sirloin. And my hardest trad lead to date: Coyne Crack 11+.

Many thanks to Marsha for the patient, positive, attentive belays!

leading Cave Route onsight 5.10+

leading Incredible Handcrack onsight 5.10

The full moon is magical in the desert, especially during a fireside jam session with banjo, guitar, fiddle and flute.

After a week on wingate in the Creek, Red Rock sandstone outside of Vegas leaves something to be desired. But getting way up off the ground on long routes with good friends is always an enjoyable adventure. I celebrated Earth Day with the girls on Solar Slabs and Johnny Vegas. Then spent Easter in Black Velvet Canyon trying desperately not to get blown right off the rock by the crazy wind! Thanks go out to Michelle for hosting- and good luck on the mountain this month!

The desert is harsh on the body, gobies on the hands and ankles, constantly dehydrated. So I spent a sweet week in the sun with family at my sister's place in LA. LA is a strange place- the beaches are busy even midweek; it can take an hour to drive a few miles; and car washes are a total experience.

Happy 29th Birthday April!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kentucky Candy

I have been lucky enough to meet some of the kindest climbing partners during my first two weeks on the road. And that has made this transition so much easier!

First stop: Seneca Rocks, West Virginia. Many thanks to Daniel and Libby for making my first day awesome and for being such great hosts to me, a total stranger! Libby's getting ready for a thru hike of the Appalachian trail.

Next stop: the New River Gorge. Thanks to the crew at Roger's for taking me in on day 2 and introducing me to the New. Driving up, half lost, to Roger's Rocky Top Retreat late at night I briefly debated the sanity of getting out of my car to invade a group of beer-drinking strangers on a porch in West Virginia. Fortunately they were indeed camping climbers.

Third stop: the Red River Gorge, Kentucky. Thanks to Jamie, Matt, Jasper (our 6-year-old Red River Gorge tour guide) and friends from NY for a fun time in the Red and to Marin for showing me the pump!! Marin's right, sport pitches really are like candy- sweet addictive easy instant gratification. I even got to experience the muddy madness that is a rainy weekend at Miguel's....

Massive thunderstorms the fourth night, no problem- I was warm and dry in my new home! Three days of driving and several Walmart parking lots later and I find myself in Santa Fe, a cute town filled with creative restaurants, friendly people, quirky shops and sunshine. After a yoga class and lunch in town, its time for dessert, climbing in the DESERT!

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools

Waking up to fresh snow on April 1st would certainly be a surprise, but this is no joke-- after the weekend I hit the road, the start of a long adventure!  I am leaving behind a 10 year career in international corporate real estate finance, moving into my car, and plan to climb as much as possible. 

‘So a blog?’ you ask.  I like lists, spreadsheets.  Concise explanations and calendars.  Occasional passionate postcards, my illegible handwriting jammed into a 4x6 rectangle.  I am not a writer.  Or a photographer.  But it took me three years of planning to pull this off, mostly to find the courage to make the change, and so I suppose it warrants sharing!

A corporate guided ascent of the Grand Teton in the summer of 2004, lead by two inspiring women Nancy Feagin and Amy Bullard, followed by my introduction to the quartzite cliffs of the Gunks in the spring of 2005 forever changed the course of my life.  In 2008 I took a much needed but temporary break from my job in New York, driving 14,000 miles by myself in four and half months.  During that trip I climbed in Zion, Yosemite, the California Needles, the High Sierras, Devil’s Tower, Smith Rocks, Squamish, Index, the Bugaboos, Lake Louise, Eldorado Canyon, Lumpy Ridge, Rocky Mountain National Park, the Tetons, and City of Rocks— a big expansion from my usual and much loved vacation stomping grounds of Red Rocks, Joshua Tree and Acadia National Parks.

Highlights of my 2008 trip included climbing the Nose on El Cap with Janet, a super strong and supportive fellow east-coast female and two one-day ascents of Half Dome: once all on lead via the easy but run-out Snake Dike with another great girl and a week later via the Northwest Face Regular Route with the best climbing partner anyone could ever ask for.   In addition to climbing, I stopped in Madison, Wisconsin for my sister’s graduation from vet school; to visit friends in Salt Lake, Jackson Hole, Portland and Seattle; for Chris and Bill’s wonderful wedding in Colorado; and to see the sights at Mount Rushmore, Mount Hood, Mount Shasta, Crater Lake, the Redwoods and Califonia’s Lost Coast.  Along the way I met some unruly characters and a few I hope lifelong friends.

The past two years I have split my time working in NYC and Paris, managing the company’s French investments.  I will miss summer escapes to Chamonix; quiet afternoons in Fontainebleau; weekends in the Verdon, Ceuse, Les Calanques, even Siuranna, Sardinia and Lisbon.  I will miss the energy of New York City and my quiet house in the Gunks, my comfy couch and bath robe, the delicious food of the Hudson Valley especially from Kira’s farm and at my favorite spot the Village Tea Room two blocks away.  But I will not miss sitting out on a bridge all alone, watching two separate worlds, belonging to neither.  Time to follow passion; rediscover persistence; visit places so few people on this planet will ever know. Time to climb!

Pick a place and join me along the way!  See my Three Year Plan