Recently, I’ve begun to explore the upper bounds of my present climbing abilities. And believe it or not, I’ve discovered that there’s more to life than just climbing. (Blasphemy, I know.)

When I came to Smith Rock, I intentionally wanted to push the envelope. This week, I’ve lead a few 10+’s, onsighted an 11b and struggled up my first 12a on TR… Consider this post another benchmark. And don’t get me wrong — I’m not done. I have a lifetime of climbing ahead of me, but there’s more to it than that: I have a whole lifetime ahead of me.

I visited Bellingham (also known as Bellinghome) over the weekend. Driving 6+ hours back, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I certainly wasn’t prepared to be awestruck by the myriad colors of fall leaves; the crisp, coastal breeze; a mellow morning spent downtown. Everywhere I looked, I saw memories of a younger version of myself embedded throughout the city of subdued excitement. After briefly living the dirtbag dream in Smith Rock, I really appreciated some of the creature comforts that come along with living in the same place day after day, night after night. Having done both for a while, I now see pros and cons to each living arrangement.

One of the main reasons for returning to Bellingham was to visit my boyfriend Tim, who I’ve mentioned in a post or two before. A few of Tim’s signature traits are that he’s tall, often reserved, collected and pretty damn responsible. He’s the kind of guy you want to venture into the backcountry with because you know he’s going to be able to hold his own, whether you’re walking for miles on end or charging hard in a short 24-hour timeframe.

Tim is incredibly patient with my wildfire personality. Many people that know me well laugh at my constant extremes: stoked or unstoked. However, few people manage to guide me back to a comfortable baseline quiet-stoke like he does. I’m laughing at myself —  as someone who identifies as a climber — because truly, he’s my rock.

Mushy-gushy bullsh aside, I wanted to share with you something I’ve learned from being close to him: Tim loves to ski like I love to climb. But he isn’t preoccupied in developing a personal brand, a massive Instagram following, sponsorship from hip ski companies… He just works hard and skis harder. He loves it and doesn’t need to shove it in your face. And you know what? I love that about him. I think more people should be like Tim.

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