Monday, June 5, 2017

Winter Turns Into Spring

Fall turns into winter which turns into spring, and now soon to be summer. Just like that, this past winter is long behind us and I find myself back at home and preparing for the upcoming fall again. This winter was the first one in which I felt like I actually lived in the southwest, rather than moving freely around it as a vagabond in a van. The ever familiar roadways and climbing areas feel like a second home to me now and with friends and family scattered throughout, it was easy to settle in like we never left.  This was also the first year in which climbing wasn't the only focus of our trip. We were just simply living somewhere warmer, and sunnier than our homeland. And of course we would choose to live close to rocks. But I chose to not focus in too hard on climbing after the health scare I had the year prior. Instead, I wanted to focus on finding balance, and family/friends.

Desert vistas

Zuly and Fordizzle fondling the 'Atman' 5.10

Red Rock radiance
What I neglected to write in my previous post, in hopes that it was going to heal soon and be forgotten, was that Kyle had torn his bicep tendon in Joshua Tree. Right before I sent The Acid Crack actually. After I squeaked in that send, I refrained from letting Kyle belay me for the rest of the trip as it only seemed to irritate his arm more. He was completely out of commission from everything. Bummer. This of course changed trip goals, the path, and pace of my climbing. But I took it as a sign from the universe to slow down.

The one you just gotta go do, 'Yin and Yang' 5.10d Arc'teryx

Moon glow while approaching 'The Challenger' 5.10d PG13

Sunrise approaches
But it's all good. We were both in good spirits as it also timed in with when a whole bunch of our friends from the Collingwood area arrived out west. We took over a block at the Red Rock Canyon Campground and I linked up with whoever I could to get out climbing. This resulted in a few awesome multi-pitch days, and lots of moderate trad mileage.

Rocks ROCKs rocKs

Coolest approach slab ever. Solid 4.13a. Fun times with Chris Pegelo

Blissful smiles on 'The Challenger' 5.10d, a truly stellar trad multi-pitch
La Sportiva
Our stay in the Red Rocks also aligned with the Red Rock Rendezvous. Arc'teryx invited me to come out and teach some clinics for it, it was also the perfect chance to get to know the Arc' crew who were of course awesome!

'Fall Safe Clinic' at Red Rock Rendezvous with Arc'teryx

Taking Dan Sivret on his first multi-pitches, we crushed some super rad trad

'Saddle Up' 5.9 into 'Armatron' 5.9, a classic ride
When our 2 week limit in the campground was up, our good friends Dave and Erin arrived in Vegas, family in tow, and they invited us to live with them in a sweet house they rented. More good times followed while linking up with these awesome peeps.

Summit Lovin' Sunski
Red Rock Canyon, Nevada
High class living with the Zuly's in Vegas
We then had a little over a week to kill before we had to make the trek north to Whistler, BC. I really wanted to go back to Zion National Park after such a teaser stop over in the fall. This magestic place calls to me. Kyle at this point had had a lot of rest and physio on his bicep and I pretty much begged him to belay me a few days. I promised I wouldn't fall, as it was less wear on him. So we did a couple day trips up to Zion, it was glorious. I had never really had this kind of exposure to such splitter cracks and the learning curve was so inspiring and motivating.

Finding flow in desert splitters, Zion National Park

I found some incredible flow on a variety of single pitch cracks, consistently on sighting 5.11+ to 5.12-. I haven't been this inspired in years! We are already planning our fall return to this sandstone paradise.

Dreamy battle for the onsight of 'Reggaetone' 5.12 to finish the trip Sterling Rope
And then began the northward migration, en route to Squamish, BC. I was invited to speak at Multiplicity, an event put on by Mountain Life Magazine. The format for the event was 8 guest speakers, each have 9 minutes to talk about whatever they want, in front of over 1200 people! I had never done anything like this before, I was incredibly nervous but incredibly excited and up for the challenge. It was such an amazing night. 

BC vibes Arc'teryx

Left speechless from these speeches. So cool to be a part of Multiplicity by Mountain Life
Then we had a few days to kill out there, which were unfortunately dampened by crap weather. But we did get a couple sunny afternoons to explore the area. Our good buddy Trevor Macdonald and Arc'teryx athlete manager Justin Sweeny, showed us an awesome time out there.

SUP tour of Squamish, BC
Rained our entire stay but at least got in this half day
First time on top of The Chief! Though it was dark and rainy, T-Mac made our short visit stellar xo
And then before I knew it, I was home and back into the full swing of things with On the Rocks! This year is extra exciting as I have decided to expand my business to the Milton region and I've also hired  two new awesome guides to help run the show! I was quite nervous about this endeavour as I had to drop thousands of dollars into gear/advertising, but it is proving to be worth it! My good friend Steve Andrew is running the show in Milton, and he is trying to turn his dream of becoming a full time climbing guide into a reality, and I am super stoked to help him achieve it because he totally rocks.

Back On the Rocks at Metcalfe Rock :D
Every summer I try so hard to juggle climbing on the escarpment for fun, with guiding on the escarpment. It never really works out that well for me as I inevitably get burnt out and frustrated, or injured. Too much cliff time! So this year things are changing. I have dreams, big dreams, and I have decided to train my ass off for them. So begins my training cycle in preparation for 2 peaks... 1-Squamish July 19-Aug 9th for the Arc'teryx Climbing Academy and 2- Zion, this fall. In preparation for my crack goals, we have started to build a crack training facility in The Pump House, appropriately deemed 'The Crack House'.

Hard to put the rack down

Building "The Crack House"

Cracks on the brain, time to train
Training at the local gym, Old Baldy Petzl 
This decision to train all summer rather than climb for fun, was a good one. I can tell already. It's got me so charged up, so motivated, so focused. Life list lines are going down!!! I am at that point in my climbing where I feel like my technique and bag of tricks is pretty solid, I just need to get stronger. And that takes me to now, sitting here in Thornbury, Ontario. I just finished 4 weeks of strength training and now on to power. I am already seeing gains, slowly and painfully. It is hard, I feel tired all the time, but the other day I got out to the cliff and absolutely hiked the heady 'Elixir' 5.12b on my first go, and followed with an immediate run up 'Labor Pains' 5.12b. YES. Motivation to continue forward with this.

Just want to say a big giant massive huge thank you to all of my sponsors for hanging in with me through it all. Your belief in me and continued support inspire me to continue to follow my dreams. I wouldn't be where I am today without you all. Arc'teryx, Sterling Rope, La Sportiva, Flashed, Sun Ski, Sanuk, The Yoak

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