Friday, September 24, 2010

The Mountain Life Proper

I've been waiting a while for a week like the past, one that really embodies the spirit of the mountain. A stellar realization of what one can truly accomplish and be at elevation if you will, and I think the last week finally made the good stuff rain hard. Not to downplay the epic tales of mountaindom that have precluded this, but they really can't touch what has been happening these last 7 days. So sit back, crack a cold one and enjoy the yarns that I intend to spin.

So I went to work at Babbitt's Backcountry last week. It's the "Sunflower" of Flagstaff minus the bikes. I'm back to doing what I love and working with like minded pirates. Mind you it's no career but careers seldom come with this many accounts to pro-deal. So I can deal for now.

Over the weekend I worked the three day long Flagstaff bluegrass festival "Pickin' in the Pines" at my coffee shops vendor booth. It was a solid 12 hour day everyday. And by solid 12 hour day I mean I hung out, sold food, drank a lot on the job, and got to party down in the outdoor amphitheatre proper when the good music was playing. I raged to Nolan McKelvey with my white boy dancing and led a charge up to the stage for some dancing with the Seldom Scene. Every night that I left the amphitheatre I wandered back downtown to find out what band was playing a side gig where and explore the bluegrass bar scene. Not a lot of sleep but soooo good.

Regardless of the whole sleep situation I took Monday and Tuesday off to go climbing in Paradise Forks. I got hooked up with this old school trad climber named Stan and I was beyond stoked to start trad-climbing again. Paradise Forks is one of the most gorgeous places I have ever seen and the whole canyon was empty except for some Europeans who had traveled specifically to climb the stellar hand-cracks. Nobody around Flagstaff trad-climbs and it's kind of an anomile. This town is surrounded by old school trad areas that are beyond amazing, but all the kids my age want nothing to do with anything that isn't 5.13 sport climbing or V8 bouldering... or approaches longer than 5 minutes.

I'm not much of a crack climber, and by not much I mean I have no crack climbing form. I was desperate for a micro-crimp or an edge to pull on but all these cracks had to offer was jams upon jams. It was described by everyone as "Indian Creek without proper ratings." You see back in the day the rating system stopped at 5.9. So anything that was hard was just called 5.9+... and we climbed a lot of 5.9+. I spent a solid two days after that excursion not being able to lift my hands above shoulder height, my feet were bloody from attempting to jam my tiny sport shoes sideways into cracks and I was mentally exhausted. But G-Dang I had more fun craggin' at the Forks than I have had since I started climbing. I know where my future in this sport is and it lies in tiny finger cracks and TCU's.

Our Austrian climbing associate sending hard on the stellar Paradise Forks hand cracks.

So that's how you live the mountain life. You shuck and jive as a North Face shill, sling the lattes at bluegrass festivals, party hard with the band whence the festival comes to a stop, and crag at the most scenic old school canyon in the southwest. Now you'll have to excuse me, I have to go sort gear for another day of redpointing 5.11 at Jack's Canyon.

So here's to livin' the life proper.

1 comment:

  1. Nothing like some trad crack climbing to keep you honest.