The #1 Rule

There are lots of golden rules out there, mantras to live by or whatever you want to call it. But I’d love to share with you my number one rule — it’s pretty simple — don’t be a dick.

I saw this beautiful couple out today projecting 12s. While they weren’t climbing the hard routes clean, they were definitely the only ones to even bother with the tough stuff.

Besides my small party of four, there were a few other groups out there (a small crag about 2 hours from Smith.) We all watched in awe as the guy took a burn and then his girl partner would do the same. Pretty impressive.

During our precious morning window of climbable temperatures (it got up to 95°F,) I had to return to the car not once… but twice. And both times, I walked past the crusher couple. The second time I walked by, the guy made a snide remark about my car laps. I laughed and kept my head down, not having much to say in response. But immediately, any sense of awe or respect I had for the couple dried up.

You could say that I’m over thinking it or that maybe that guy is just an asshole; but realistically, the climbing community is pretty small. Climbing — for me anyways — is much more than climbing hard routes, leading, redpointing, being a hardened alpinist, etc. If you’re going to climb and you’re going to climb hard, you’re going to see some of the same faces around. Even if you’re way cooler than me because you just sent a gnarly overhung 12, don’t be a dick.

I hope that as I grow into my abilities, climb harder and go further in my climbing career, I remain humble, encouraging and stoked. And if you’ve read this whole post, I hope you do the same (climbing or otherwise.)

Smith Update No. 1

I’ve been in Terrebonne less than 72 hours.

Since Wedbesday night, I’ve…

Met Alan Watts.

Started a new job.

Learned how to make a latte.

Climbed a multipitch.

Climbed aforementioned multipitch with the first ascentionist.

Made new friends.

And there’s more to come. I’ll keep ya posted.

Climb for love

I felt the need to document the moment so strongly that I couldn’t bring myself to take my phone out for a photo. I know that sounds ridiculous. But I couldn’t put a screen between myself and my surroundings for even a moment to take a lousy iPhone photo.

“Can we just take a second to appreciate how great it is to be here, to be alive and to do what we do?”

I was overwhelmed by it all. We’d just come out of the trees to an expansive view of Mount Baker and all of the surrounding peaks; the sun had recently set. The remaining light lingered over twinkling lights of British Columbia, fiery reds and oranges pressed up the blue, green hues of the mountains that surrounded us.

Tim walked back to where I was standing and kissed me. He doesn’t always say a lot, but I could tell he was stoked too. Somehow, he doesn’t need to.

I felt the need to document the moment so strongly that I couldn’t bring myself to take my phone out for a photo. I know that sounds ridiculous. But I couldn’t put a screen between myself and my surroundings for even a second to take a lousy iPhone photo. Instead, I breathed in the warm alpine breeze coming down from Heliotrope Ridge above. I’ll never forget that moment.

We started walking again. I smiled at Tim, even though he was ahead and wouldn’t see it.

I don’t know how I got so lucky. There’s something incredibly special about being in the mountains. It’s not something that I’m ready to describe in words; I’m too young and inexperienced. But whatever it is, I feel it so strongly that I can’t help but return again and again.

I don’t climb mountains for fun anymore. I climb for love.

Here we go

I paused for a moment, my cursor hesitant, hovering over the word “Send” beneath my company e-mail signature. Then I thought to myself, “Here we go,” and clicked my job away. With that simple click, I’ve launched myself into the unknown and can’t wait to see what’s around the corner.

Back in June, I climbed the Grand Wall in Squamish and was absolutely spanked by the difficulty of the line. There’s a 10b layback section that reduced me to tears and made me question how I could call myself a climber. Upon finishing that section, I hugged my partner and thanked him for being strong enough to rope gun me up the hardest climb of my life. Jonas, being the sweetheart he is, told me that I was doing great.

Upon returning home and later returning to my desk, I felt utterly demoralized. I know that I’m strong and capable, but at the time I felt weak and ridiculous. Softened by 40 hours of sitting, week after week. The only solution I could see for about 48-hours was to quit my job and dirtbag in Squamish. I wrote a piece for the Mount Baker Experience, sent it to the editors and told a few friends that I was going to make a huge change.

Then reality set in. I still had rent to pay, a job that I’d invested time and energy into and I wasn’t sure how to logistically make it happen. So I waited it out through July.

Well, it’s August and it’s time to make moves toward the person, climber and badass I hope to be. My lease is up. My job is whatever. It’s time to go. Wish me luck.