I had a very odd experience this winter, where a stranger told me one of my own stories. It sourced from this blog; although he did not know that. Briefly:
I was out ice climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park with a new partner. It was our second time out together, and we were still getting a feel for one another, as humans and as climbers. This involves a lot of discussion of life, philosophy, and (mostly) previous climbs. My partner asked if I had climbed the Diamond, perhaps Colorado’s most famous alpine wall, to which I answered: yes, I had.
It’s not too bad but you’ll need to move fast, I said to him. Yeah I’ve heard, he says. My favorite story of the Diamond is some guy is up there, pitching it out, going all slow, when suddenly Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell just simulclimb by! Leaving them in the dust.
That event happened to me and my partner Beth, the first time we climbed the Casual Route. I mentioned it in the trip report I published here on this blog, and on Medium. Thanks to SEO, and because lots of people are interested in climbing the Diamond, those posts see a good amount of traffic (and they will see more this summer, as we enjoy Diamond season). Somewhere along the way, this person had read that post, or discussed it with someone else who had. My own story was getting away from me; taking on a life of its own in my community.
When it’s too cold and your camera stops advancing the film. I ended up with this accidental multi-exposure — consider it an entire ice climbing trip in one image! Cold choked the battery, I think, because photos I shot on the same film & camera in sunny Phoenix, later on the same trip, turned out fine.
We drive 22 hours from Boulder, USA, to El Potrero Chico, Mexico. The journey takes three days, and we barely stop. We see nothing. The insides of Texas gas stations. Rest stops alongside the highway. A Wells Fargo bank or two. Endless fields of cotton & many drive-thru restaurants. We sleep in the car & we talk to no one until we arrive in Mexico.
I talked to an old friend from university the other night on the videophone. “You haven’t really been blogging much,” he said. “In fact, you haven’t done anything creative of late. It seems like all that energy has just gone into climbing.”
It was an insightful comment and made me think a lot.
Anyways, here’s some photos from the first day out ice climbing this season.
“Remote” backcountry place popular with climbers, backpackers, and fisherfolk.
I write “remote” in quotes because there were easily over 100 cars in the Big Sandy Trailhead parking lot when I arrived. A bit shocking after an hour spent driving in on “Am I in the right place?” kind of dirt roads.
The Trip: Drive (8 Hrs) > hike (5 Hrs) >camp (4 days) > climb 1,000+’ faces (x2) > hike out (4 hrs) > Drive home