Monday, September 15, 2014

Work Hard, Play Later

At the beginning of the summer season, my head was filled with big dreams of climbing hard lines at Lion's Head. As the obsessive rock climber that I am, I had a really hard time transitioning back into the working world after the climbing trip of my life, and found myself frustrated with the lack of time and energy that I had to climb. I soon came to realize that I can't do everything. In my fantasy world, I want to be a full time climbing guide, run a business, plan a climbing festival, push my limits on the rocks and train twice a week with my coach at Active Life.
7 days in a week was just never enough.

On the Rocks really took off this year, I am so happy that people are really enjoying their experiences and climbing courses with me! Word of mouth has spread like wild fire and I was finding myself rather overwhelmed with interest in On the Rocks. I hired help, two amazing guides Mark Toma and Pam Paylor. They have been such a blessing for me, and their reviews have been amazing too. This step took On the Rocks to a new level, but I was finding the administrative/organizational side of running a business rather tiring. I was working full time as a guide, managing other guides, training at 7am before I went to work, guiding all day and coming home to catch up on administrative stuff, all while planning the second annual Beaver Valley Climbing Festival. When I finally had a day off, all I really wanted to do was nothing! I'd force myself to climb, but found myself frustrated & tired, juggling far too many things at once. I had to chose between my business and my climbing addiction and I happily chose On the Rocks this summer. Once I made this mental acceptance, the summer became a rest period from hard climbing. On the days I got out to climb, I wanted a relaxing day in nature with good friends and no agenda. After all, I only get to hang out with these wonderful people for half of the year.

So my memorable sends of 2014 were a little different then the unforgettable summer of 2013, the best summer/climb of my life Above the Clouds. This summer I "sent" On the Rocks, and I am so grateful for all of the support I have had from customers, friends and businesses that helped my business take off. I am so happy to have been able to create a full time job out of my passion. I count my blessings for this opportunity everyday! But my greatest send of the summer was the Beaver Valley Climbing Festival. It brought tears to my eyes to see this amazing climbing community come together to celebrate the beautiful Niagara Escarpment, while raising money and awareness for the Ontario Access Coalition. It was a perfect day.

I still got in some great climbing days, despite having the worst luck in the entire universe with weather on my days off. It rained every Tuesday this summer!!! But we'd go anyways, and have fun regardless. I bolted a couple new lines & helped establish the new Summer Residence area at Lion's Head. I also got my summer goal: the first ascent of the Sends of Anarchy T-Shirt. I had a lot of fun exploring new rock and hanging with my buddies up on the peninsula. I truly love Ontario summers, Lion's Head, and this beautiful area we are so lucky to live in. 

Sampling the fruits of the summer harvest, a stellar 5.11d called 45th Parallel. This is a classic new addition by Dave Zuly, just left of Man Over Board at Lions Head.
The official Sends of Anarchy hit list. First male ascent of Above the clouds is still up for grabs :P

Trevor Macdonald goes for a burn on Bob and Brians Bogus Adventure 5.11, Metcalf Rock.

Summer Residence is a cool new 5.12 in the new Summer Residence area. This spot was discovered by Dave Z and Trevy, with additions by myself and my hubby Kyle. Worth checking out!

Reaching for the perfect pocket on Summer Residence, 5.12b

T-Mac starts the train, and bangs off a beach classic at West Bluff.

Riding the train with Naomi on spot

Trevy sends harder then most of us, in his bare feet.

T-Mac sends the prized line, a proud traverse that finishes up a weird V notch high off the deck

Good times with such great friends. Trevy and Lily cheer on T-Mac, after his impressive send.

T-Mac, Lily and Naomi stand up paddle boarding with West Bluff in the distance

Kyle strongly prefers canoes and takes satisfaction in speeding ahead of the SUPers  ;)

DPM editor, Mikey Williams comes out for a week to sample the Lion's Head goods.

Mike Williams makes Couer de Lion, a historical 5.13a, look easy.

Everyday I get to meet and teach such great folks

Always a blast getting to take out the talented Team Boulderz

A pleasure to work with the staff at MEC Burlington, Barrie and Toronto stores

Another day at the office, guiding people of all ages in my climbing playground :)

I am so looking forward to fall. We have officially booked a place in the New River Gorge for part of October and all of November. It is time to take up the old addiction again, take off the guiding hat and push my personal limits on the rocks again. Stoke is high!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful summer season :)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Pictures tell a thousand words

home sweet home
that season is here
seizing every moment
before summer disappears

The Pump House
The beginning of the sickest climbing wall in Thornbury.
Home Gym Phase 1 Complete

:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

On the Rocks
For both work and play.
Trying to find balance but no time to rest.

Lion's Head days have been sparse but sweet.
Cherishing moments like these...
...and moments like these
Fondling that sweet Ontario limestone.
Got virgin rocks on the brain.
Open Up Awesome
Been thinking about this line since the first time I walked underneath it. Days of dangling in my harness, gear exploding in my face, epic choss cleaning, an improbable looking crux, wet key holds and a weak tired climbing guide. Yet I can't stop wondering about it; does this beast go?
Looking really forward to some serious good times at the awesome Beaver Valley Climbing festival!!!
A sign of change, On the Rocks is growing up :)
Just another day at the office.
Hired new awesome guides like Mark Toma
Anchor art. Technical skills are cool and essential.
Flying lessons, one of my personal fav's
Another satisfied On the Rocks customer...
...a very happy On the Rocks guide!!!

Life rocks on the rocks
Yip Yeeoooo

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Final Stop

Livin' it up near the Hotel California

Time keeps flying by at warp speed and tomorrow we begin the great migration north for the summer. Unfortunately I have a feeling that time will not be going by so fast on that brutal 4 day drive. This time of year is always quite transitional for me, I am changing shapes, reflecting and dreaming more then ever. This year feels different though. I am feeling more comfortable in my in own skin. I am seeing things more clearly. And living in the now more then ever. But when you live in the now, it is unreal how time just vanishes into thin air. But what a way to live!

Living in the now more then ever, Santa Monica, CA

After a perfect finale to our month in Nevada, we hit the road to L.A. to visit our good friends Mike and Sunny who live in Santa Monica. I have avoided L.A. for years, but the chance to visit this beautiful part of the city was an opportunity that we couldn't pass up. And I am so glad we went! Two days just wasn't enough though. This part of the city is so incredibly alive.

Monkeying around at the old "Muscle Beach" in Santa Monica.

Having way too much at Muscle Beach, L.A., California.
After a great season on the rocks, I am having a really hard time with the idea of resting. I pretty much climbed anything that I could see during our two days in LA! Climbing is running thicker through my veins than ever and I feel like my heart could overflow with love for this beautiful sport right now. After facing my old injury head on this season, and reaching a personal best on the rocks, I can see much more clearly what I need to do to take my climbing to the next level. I am making the full commitment to the sport this year.... training, staying focussed and attempt to establish myself in the 5.14 grade. I want to feel what it is like to climb at your very limit and I am not stopping until I taste whatever that is. It is really exciting to feel this motivated. Inspiration is the gas in my climbing tank, and I cannot thank my inspiring friends and these incredible companies for pushing me to continue to learn, grow, and chase my dreams. #Sanuk #La Sportiva  #Sterling Rope #Joshua Tree Products #Blurr

Tourist pose at the Sanuk store in Santa Monica.

Sanuk heaven

A perfect last day at Welcome Springs
Beach bikes

Venice markets

It is hard to believe that this piece of paradise is in the city. Venice is stunning.
And so a new chapter begins. Really looking forward to another season in my Canadian paradise, Thornbury, Ontario. On the Rocks is open for business May 1st, and crossing my fingers for a sunny dry spring, so that lovely limestone dries out. We plan to start building our home gym upon our return and train our faces off until the upcoming Lion's Head season, CAN'T HARDLY WAIT! Ontario... hear we come!