The Dream Life…With a Job

… It’s not so bad.

Anyone can work full time and train hard for their projects.

The other week I listened to Beyondtalks at a local brewery. TNF’s MountainAthletics program, with Cedar Wright as the coach, was helping two men FA a new 5.12 in Yosemite Valley around their 9-5 job.

That’s great, I thought, then blithely: That’ll happen to me one day when I’m old.

A week later I walked into a gear store a found myself with a second job. I’ve been training for the upcoming Psicobloc competition the same week Team WallE summits Quandary peak to raise money for The Colorado 54, and now my training time was looking thin.

Surprisingly, the experience has thrown me back to Biology class, when I would get in early to grab a seat behind the classroom’s full work counter. When the professor crawled through a slow slideshow of DNA particles, I snuck in sets of pushups to the great entertainment of my seat mate. Being in lenient public school, I did the same in guitar class. Tony was a great friend of mine who dreamed of being a police officer and we trained almost together every day, climbing the football goal posts, the buildings, and getting into competitions when we were supposed to learn Greensleeves on an acoustic.
So I sneak in what I can at work. I stretch a lot, drink tons of water, and get a short run in before going into work, and a short run after work.

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Hiking partner on Mt. Sherman this weekend.

I’m also continuing my personal project to all 54 14ers in Colorado during the weekends. I’ve pretty much completed just the shorter day hikes, and I’ll have to start working on the longer, Class 3 and 4 routes.

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Putting Down The Predator, 5.13b

Since driving north to NYC, I’ve climbed at The Cliffs in LIC and Valhalla and bouldered a bit in the mossy green, bug-ridden northeast…and I even got to revisit RUMNEY!

And guess what?

I SENT PREDATOR 5.13b!!!!!

Why am I so excited about this climb? Well, for one, it’s tall, proud, and beautiful. Second, I tried this problem just once before on a fun New Hampshire trip for the PrAna-sponsored LT11 Rumney video that raised money for the AccessFund.

The climb kicked my ass that day. We’d all bouldered and found some natural water slides, and had a great trip overall just getting lost, eating pancakes, and catching frogs, and we’d wandered up to Predator, where LouderThan11 got gorgeous footage of me working the entire problem. The fact the video made it appear I’d done the climb had always kind of bothered me…I had actually been terrified of the long drop beneath me, pumped out of my mind, and swapping bugs the whole way, and was hanging on every draw.

Coming back to the northeast, it’s funny how I ended up there again, this time with NYC climber Gareth Leah who works at The Cliffs, and who’s editor of the NYC Bouldering guide published by Sharp End. (Who are also publishing Vertical Mind << I highly recommend this book from Sharp End!)

On the way up to Rumney I had no plans to climb hard, and I haven’t been training intensely at all. But since I began traveling in the climbing van with a hyper border collie, I’ve actually spent very little time focusing on training, and instead I’ve been staying on my feet all day, running into the mountains occasionally and socializing more than anything else.

So I’ve been feeling really light and strong in general…I guess this is the perk of having a mobile life!

Predator went down in three solid tries after the end of the second day, and it felt good to get on a hard sport route again.

Blue Mexican Taco: 12F & Cooking.

THE BLUE MEXICAN TACO

Waking up from a warm dog-snuggling hammock to 12F weather and new snow, I was started dreaming of somewhere sunny and warm. So I turned on my Coleman stove and started making tortillas to warm the vehicle.

Made by efficient GSI Outdoors cookware. #GSICooking
– Makes at least 1 dozen tacos.
– Leftover agave, mango, tomato, arugula and lemon makes a reasonable salsa. (Ho! Something for the vegan!)

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THE BLUE MEXICAN TORTILLA (Good on its own.)

Blue Cheese

Mexican Cheese

Herb Du Provence

Grapeseed Oil

Hand-Made Artisan Tortillas (always the best)

Lemon

—-

Simple Instructions:

Toss oil, cheeses, herbs, and lemon in a container.
Spoon a glob onto the saucepan and spread while it melts for a second.

Toss the tortilla on top. Apply to the other side as well.

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THE VERBOTEN CONTENTS

10oz Blueberry Chevre

Arugula

1lb Chicken

Bottle of White Zinfandel

Agave Nectar

Minced Garlic

1 Sliced Mango

1 Diced Tomato

—-

Simple Instructions:

Toss the chicken into the saucepan with a ton of garlic, white zinfandel, and bit of agave.
Cover most of the way. On a cool note, the GSI Saucepan top has holes for some steam to escape, and the chicken stays super soft.

Shred said chicken on cutting board and put back in pan.
Dice tomato, put in tupperware.
Slice mango in long chunks, put in tupperware.

—-

Put it together on the tortilla, and eat in a hammock while snuggled up with a dog, dreaming moodily of Mexico while it blizzards outside.

Put the rest in aluminum singles, and bring this to a friend’s house, complimented with wine and dog therapy.

#VanLife Protection: The Katana

My substitute teacher in Microeconomics was named “MR. P”. He loved Arabic, could beatbox, and when a boy with turrets  in our class walked outside and was kicking and swearing at a tree to the bewilderment of a passing teacher (who he took a moment to register and call a bitch) our dear teacher told us, his hands in his pockets and quietly taking in his runaway student, “You know…life is sometimes like a movie.”

Space-saving multipurpose in WallE. $10 Hammock covers storage, provides hanging space with shower curtain hooks at top - AND - clips to the back of the van for a second bed.
WallE’s Storage/Bedroom/Second Floor

I’ve been finding that we all have stories, we just get dragged down in the details and stress to realize what’s actually going on is a great reel of miniature stories that only the present persons can appreciate and tell as their own tale.

Yesterday I stopped by the Salvation Army to drop off some space-eating items in my van. (Short list: the asbestos-laden insulation that had been kicked and beaten to death in storage for two months; the $100 Jasmine guitar my mom bought for my first music class; some clothes items.) The workers were around my age, with hairstyles like hipsters, and one imparted to me that he also lived in a van. Done, as I was jumping in the cab with Dog to peel off and climb, a truck pulled up behind mine in the Drop Off area. The two workers began pulling out treasures and I blurted, unable to stop myself, now that I’ve become so impulsive, from asking: “Is that a SWORD?”

“Do you want it? Granted Gary here doesn’t want it…no, Gary? Alright, it’s yours.”

Tashtego - 3/4 Border Collie & 1/4 Australian Shepherd - 100% Cattle Dog
WallE’s #VanLife Dog

Due to the katana’s dangerous properties I will not disclose it’s location in the van. And I don’t ever intend to use it. But it arrived wrapped in a story, and I enjoyed my asbestos-for-steel trade yesterday.

Sometimes life is like a story.

Though not significant to write here, I intend from now on to share these great short stories and possibly the older ones that I’ve told only my close friends. It’s a great exercise, and a few people have told me they enjoy reading my stories. So I will pile on the words, the stories, and the photos and videos for those few who enjoy them.

Horse Flats

Horse Flats, Southern California. Kenny (the manager of Mad Rock), a climber and cop named Eddie B, Melissa Tomes, and myself pulled together as a team to make a collective 100 points on Saturday for a good, fun day. People are awesome, and it’ll be sad and good to move on to the Bay Area from here. But I’ll see Mad Rock in Salt Lake City.

Matt Fultz

A number of people sent Meadowlark Lemon V13 this weekend, among them were Robyn’s ABC kids Brooke and Shawn, Mirko Caballero, and Idahoian Matt Fultz.

Mirko made 8a.nu since he’s only 12 years old!

So psyched to be out on the road with good people, good wine, and a good dog to share the experience!

Tomorrow I’ll go back to Lethal Design, to see if I can pull off the key powerful move from the beginning.

From Hueco to Las Vegas

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The mental side of climbing is at least a third of the game. Over the past few months I’ve been focused on being more positive, on keeping my head together.
Hershey Symphony is a fun, slightly heady V1 I was too afraid to get on last year. Getting a small adrenaline rush really warmed me up today, and I may be more psyched on these tall climbs, now that I’ve found the rush to be such a great warm-up, physically and mentality.

Stop in Tuscon: Alex McIntyre

Climbing at The Bloc was an excellent experience with great walls, angles, and space.

Visitors actually pay for the orientation on top of their first day pass, which I think is neat – visitors feel the orientation has more value than just safety, and actually want to listen because they’ve paid money for the short lecture! Very cool.

Alex McIntyre is a Mad Rock athlete, so I stopped in Tucson to climb and gave him a ride to The Bloc.

Alex climbs outside now, after leaving his local climbing team, and found the close outside areas to be much interesting than climbing inside. It was awesome to meet up with an athlete on the team that was very motivated to climb outside, and at only 21, was already on the path of developing routes for the future, like his recent FA of “Dead by 30” 5.13d.

See his photo and some writing at the Mad Rock Blog.
See his blog post at GasToBlast

LT11 Dark Horse Promo

Old promo by Louder Than 11 that was shot in Boulder, Colorado.
A classic!

I’m not competing, but you know who will? Peter The Vegan Dixon, Mike O’Rourke (@Orourker), Robby D., and Megan The Ninja Mascarenas. Two of them are in this video, which makes them REAL Dark Horses. Will they ride the road to victory ?!?!?!