Tuesday, June 16

the list

Settling back into USA life. The pace has mellowed, the goals have changed, the faces and languages are different. I'm taking care of all the responsibilities that I avoided during travel, I'm making plans and seeing friends. Training hard for the summer and fall.

I always have a running list of obscure routes, forgotten projects, once such pressing ideas and little hints that friends have sent my way. This list is where I go when I feel a little lost or in-between travel when I'm keen to get out. I kinda love this list. Some routes stay on this list for many many years and others get deleted after a short visit or better yet a send. 

I did two routes on this list since I landed back in the States. Homeboy Bear Cam was there to capture both--- 

I finished a route that I had bolted 2 years ago. 'I am the Walrus' is a 35 meter beast on the South Face of Seal Rock. In my (extended) absence, my long time buddy Elliot Bates took over the project, cleaning and unlocking sequences. He generously let me come back on board and climb the route last week. It's rad. Light duty 14b, just too hard at 14a for me. Elliot will send soon and then the route will be officially open. I have a feeling that it will be well loved by all the strong men and women of the Front Range.. 

'Ninja Ladder' 14a. I first tried this Big Thompson test-piece only days after I climbed 'Grand Ol Opry' 14b at the Monastery - my first of the grade back in 2008. I remember this route feeling very hard. Not sure if I did all the moves that day. The route remained on my outmost radar for many years but this past April while climbing with Andre DiFelice we somehow brought it up. He being a Fort Collins local and good buddy to Geoff Sluyter, the first ascentionist. We got all fired up about it and it immediately moved to high priority on the forgotten list. So glad I revised yesterday and found my way to the top for likely the route's second ascent since it was bolted in the mid 90's and done in 2000. Truly it's a gem! 

Monday, June 1

final weeks

Last day in Europe. Last day in Catalunya.

No matter how far off, the last day always seems to... arrive. I never could have imagined the journey that this trip has offered me. Since I last wrote the pace of life has increased and nearly everyday has been memorable. With Le Cadre Nouvelle in the bag I was feeling ready for something of a change. For the first several months of this visit I tried to put the momentum of one send directly into my next battle. Momentum builds confidence and the combination can be very powerful. But likewise there is always a time and place for the rest of life too. Thankfully I climbed some amazing pitches still and meanwhile felt some relief from the demands of climbing at my limit. It has been perfect. 

I first got lured into the Face de Rat sector at Ceuse. Truly the wall's namesake route was one of my favorites so I had to try the neighboring ones as well. To the left is a seldom climbed route, 'Race de Fate' 14a. So burly. Definitely doesn't help to be short on this one but I think regardless of your height it is a damn hard route. A unique sloper boulder problem gaurds the chains. To the right is 'La Rat Court Si c'est Vert' 13d with rock reminiscent of 'Lulu' from the Berlin, it packs a major punch into a short lower section and then cruises on perfect Ceuse slabs to the anchor. 

Next we spent some time in the sun at the Cascade sector. Some of the best routes at Ceuse are here and no doubt some of the best routes in the world are here. I found the classic 'Rosanna' 13b to be super hard, and 'Association de Malfaiteurs' 13a would be one of my all time favorites -- traversing and wandering through a sea of massive jugs and pockets for over 40 meters. 'Correspondence Imaginaire' 13a, 'Tostaka' 13c and 'La Tombe se Savoie' 13b were all worth while although not my favorites. 

Cameron and I said goodbye to the mountains and escaped to the Cote D'Azur. The Monaco Grand Prix was like nothing I have ever experienced. A level of wealth and excess that trumps anything I've witness or heard about. It was an interesting voyage and the race itself was exhilarating, but I definitely prefer the company of my peers or the solitude of the mountains. From a glance, being super rich is certainly not as cool as satisfying as one might imagine. A memorable weekend, without a doubt. 

a solo mission to the Pyrenees. a cold as hell bivy, some majestic cattle and stunner sunsets...

Next I sad goodbye to the crew, dropped Cameron at the Airport, and wandered to Aix en Provence solo. I met some great people here, shared some meals and enjoyed a laid back day at a super nice gym in Aix -- Grimper. This last week I really wanted to return to Catalunya. Despite warm temps, my good friend and local bad ass toured me through some shady and incredible zones. Les Guilleumes at Montserrat and St Llorenc about an hour north of Barcelona. 'Fumanchu' 14a at Les Guilleumes is without question one of the best routes I've done on this whole trip. Beautifully technical pockets on near perfect barely featured Monserrat stone. With bold run-outs, engaging movement and few rests, this 30 meter pitch left a lasting impression on me. I took it as a parting gift from Catalunya. 


'Xilom' 13b was just adjacent and also amazing. 'Dopamina' 13d was a tough one for me as was 'Bolita Moruna' 13b. At St Llorenc it was cool to see a new style and fresh crag. Some pumpy pocketed 13a's and b's kept me busy and stoked. 

great people --  

Port Olympia, Barcelona. I'm staying on a boat. Yes, it's awesome -- 

I came here with very little understanding about Spain and furthermore Catalunya, but I was blessed to meet some incredible people eager to share the best pieces of their home with me. I am so so thankful, and very ambitious to return. It's been absolutely amazing. Now it's time for a long flight and a Colorado summer. Onward.