Where does time go? I remember my Mom telling me when I was a kid that time flies faster the older you get. Of course that was impossible as an 8 year old…Christmas, birthdays, all the good things took FOREVER to finally arrive. Now, as I approach that age my mother was when I was 8, I realize the truth in her statement. Life does speed up with the more of it you put under your belt. That is just the nature of life.
I used to really not love winters. Then I learned to ice climb. Winters had new meaning. Last year I really discovered a love for mixed climbing and now winters are really no longer dreaded, but have become another one of those things that fly by too quickly. Here is a little back track of winter so far since my Bozeman blog.
In December I had the opportunity to get out with some new and return guests on some fun ice days. Stephen and I met up for a day in Evan Thomas…a very very very cold day! It was the weekend and despite the amount of people that came in to Snowline and Moonlight, just as many left without climbing more then a pitch IF that. It was cold. Stephen however was intrepid and so we braved Snowline first and then had Moonlight free to also climb! A fun day.
I also had the pleasure of getting out with Burke and his son again for a reunion on boxing day at the Junkyards. Pretty cool thing to get to do with your Dad and/or your son. Psyched to be a part of that and looking forward to getting out with Burke again this winter.
Also had a blast with the ACC Red Deer crew. Such a strong group of climbers…felt like I was just out playing with a group of friends for two days! Thanks guys!!
Tadd returned with his amazing family this year, and we spent the first day in Grotto working on skills on both the ice and mixed. What an amazing family road trip including ice climbing, heli skiing, resort skiing and I’m sure some serious family bonding with 4 adults and one dog in a Subaru wagon. Reminded me of the good old days of family road trips in a VW bug and rabbit with 5 of us and our fox terrier:) The second day out, Will Gadd joined the crew, and we all climbed in Evan Thomas as well. I don’t think I have ever climbed in such a snow storm…it really was puking out. But the team persevered and by the end of the day, it was blue skies and all smiles. A fun day out with a really inspiring family.
I had the cool opportunity to climb and shoot with Graham Zimmerman (another athlete with Outdoor Research) and his friend Forest Woodward. Forest is a really talented photographer and we did a couple days of shooting in the Haffner cave, the climbing gym and surrounding Canmore area, and one day at Whitemans. Unfortunately I still was feeling pretty wiped from the flu I had over the holidays, but they were good sports about it and humored my bad mood:) The main premise of their shoot was to capture the relationship of photographer and climber as friends. So not only was Forest shooting from above, but Jon Walsh was also above him, shooting him shooting us! Confused yet?? Ha! It was a funny scene for sure.
In January I ran the first of two womens ice camps. This year it was held in Canmore out of the Pat Boswell cabin with SOnja as camp manager extraordinaire, and Kris Irwin and MB as my other bad ass guides! 6 motivated gals attended and as a group despite the high avi conditions and tricky ghost driving, accumulated a pretty gnarly tick list of climbs. In the 3 days of multipitching, the team climbed Whitemans, Redmans Soars, Chantilly, Dream On, Essondale right, Louise falls, Rainbow Serpent, My Daddy’s a Psycho and Lessons of Oka. Whew! I have to admit…I was VERY tired after this!! Thanks again to OR for supporting these camps with some great centrifuge jackets!
After this course my parents came up for a visit…which was really nice. I half heartedly offered my Dad the idea of trying ice climbing and he went for it! He picked it up super quickly and ran to the top of both climbs that I set up without any hesitation or hanging in the rope. Super proud of him and honored to share that with my Dad.
This year, I have decided to take a few weeks off right in the meat of winter, when work is super busy, to climb for myself. At first the reason was because Outdoor Research had heard that ice climbing was going to be a part of the Olympics and was psyched for me to be a part of it. So was I, but then this dissipated as I learned the realities of it, that it will lack a competition. In some ways this was a relief to me, as I was torn between this opportunity and wanting to go back to climb at Helmcken and return to the scene there. In the end, it felt good to be honest with my own motives and realize that I was more psyched on climbing outdoors on the rock and ice and working on projects that motivated me. So far I’ve been able to climb Piltdown Man in the Haffner Cave (M12) and got on Steel Koan which I feel pretty good about working. Presently I am here back at Helmcken where the desire to learn how to climb harder mixed routes originated. Its cool to be back, feel less intimidated and be able to try! Fighting some rotator cuff injuries, but hoping I can keep it at bay for atleast another week:) This route is amazing, and I am learning so much in the process of building it and trying to climb it. Amazing crew here as well, both film and on the building and climbing side. Its cold though, and that is becoming an added challenge!
More to come on this project soon!!!