Friday, May 22, 2009

Spring Fever!

The roof pitch on 827 Go! in the Black Canyon, which is shared with the route Air Guitar that I hope to climb later this week.
Le Sectur Cascade at Ceuse.

Spring is one of my favorite times of year. The days are long, and all of a sudden it feels as if life shifts into high gear. The last six weeks have been very busy, with a trip to France and and lots of training, climbing, and preparation for my upcoming trip to Pakistan.

France was amazing! We only had ten days to climb, and some rain, so we split are days between Ceuse and the Verdon. The rock at both areas made most American sport crags--well at least those in Colorado--look like rubble heaps. My favorite route was L'age De Raison; a seven pitch .12c with stunning climbing on every pitch. I haven't done much sport climbing abroad, but it's hard to imagine anything much better then the south of France. It also was surprisingly easy and affordable to get around, so needless to say if you have the chance I would highly recommend it.

Since I've been home I've been getting down to the Black, climbing out at Rifle, training at home, and running solo laps on a nearby 5 pitch 5.10. Leading up to an alpine trip I like to up my general fitness with circuit workouts, running, and just more activity in general. My rock climbing suffers a bit with less specific training and increased fatigue, but living and climbing at high altitude is hard on your body, so building yourself up a bit for the inevitable "wasting away" is an important piece of the puzzle.

Despite all of training, I've still managed to do a couple .13+ routes in Rifle, and made an onsight second ascent of a .12+ route called Pent-Up in the Black last week. I hope to get down to the Black for one last adventure before I leave.

This year I'm heading to Latok with Colin Haley, and Dylan Johnson. Our hope is that climbing in a team of three will allow us to bring more food and fuel, and climb through the marginal weather that has plagued my previous two trips. Climbing in a team of three can be a bit slower, but often offers major advantages in safety and energy output, so I think that it increases our likelihood of success. We'll likely have the seconds follow simultaneously, with the leader climbing on two Genesis 8.5s. Since it will be relatively warm and wet in the Karakorum during June and July, we'll be taking synthetic bags instead of down. For clothing, I'll probably take a bit more weather protection that I ordinarily might; Stratus Flash, Viento, and Alverstone Jackets coupled with a Hike-T and a Cotopaxi top will likely wind up as my upper body system.

Wanted to send some congrats/props out to some other folks on the team. I was lucky to bump into Will Mayo and Peter Kamitses and Rumney a few weeks back. Always a pleasure to hang with Will, and it was nice to finally meet Pete. He is a phenomenal climber, and it was a great treat to see him climb on the 5.14 China Beach. Also want to send a shout-out to my good buddy Whit Magro. Big Congrats on being a proud new Dad! And finally wanted to give a public thanks to Mike, Dean, and Ian (miss ya' already homie!) for supporting my upcoming trip to Latok! I couldn't do it without your help--sincere thanks! Hope you all have a fun and productive summer!

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