Friday, September 23, 2011

A Couple from Tuolumne

I've been up in Tuolumne Meadows for the past two weeks and despite a lot of thunder storms the climbing has been amazing.

During a rare long day of good weather this week I headed out to climb both the North and West Ridges of Mt. Conness with a couple of British climbers that I've been hanging out with here in the Meadows.

The climbs were easy but amazing - thousands and thousands of feet of 3rd, 4th, and 5th class soloing. Just to be able to move fluidly for so long was spectacular, and nothing will put your heart in your throat like hand-traversing a knife-edge ridge and peering over the lip at a 1200ft drop on the other side. Wild! After a big post-climb meal at the Mobil we were treated to one of the most beautiful sunsets I've seen in Tuolumne. Enjoy some photos from the day below.

I'll post more from Tuolumne after I move down to the Valley next week.

The E Scale

We all love epics. Shivering bivies, horrific bushwhacks, days without food or water, terrible injuries suffered high on remote peaks, near-death experiences. Let's face it, they're awesome.

Okay, maybe they're not awesome while they're happening, but we relish talking about them later over a cold beer or listening to some unbelievable story told around a glowing campfire. Epics remind us that we are capable of far more than we believe possible, that we possess some hidden inner strength. They reveal something rarely seen in daily life: the immense tenacity of the human spirit and will to live. And on the rare chance that we find ourselves in the midst of an epic, we are given an opportunity to find this spirit within us and see what we're made of.

Ultimately we are all human. We compare ourselves to others. And as not only humans but also climbers/bikers/kayakers/surfers/skiers, we are obsessed with grades and ratings and need to know how we stack up against everyone else - Is this route harder than that one? Is she a better skier than I am? Am I more badass than he is? Was my epic more epic than your epic?

Enter the E Scale.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Luck of the Draw

Jeff and Eric's eyes grew wide with shock and their heads shook with disbelief as I told them the story.

"Holy shit. That's insane!"

"Dude, I've never even heard of anything like that!"

My head shook with theirs, for I could hardly believe it myself.