Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Squamish 2.0

After 2 days of cragging (Smoke Bluffs and Murrin Park) and the forecast declining we took the opportunity to multi-pitch on the classic and oh-so-popular Route Skywalker at Shannon Falls. The weather (and forecast) became intermittently rainy the next few days so we continued to Crag. Plenty of fun but sad to leave Squamish without getting in a long route on the Chief or Apron. Laughing Crack was the highlight. Randy headed to Vancouver the day before the rains came in. Climbers advised us to head east to Skaha where the climate and climbing would be dry and warm.  The drive over Duffey Lake Pass was breathtaking albeit a bit long - so worth the views!  The climbing at Skaha Bluffs was an extraordinarily pleasant diversion. For 2 days we climbed on dry Gneiss while Squamish recurved 100 millimeters of rain in a day.
Up From the Bog, a fine finger crack at Murrin

Annie traversing across the Skywalker pitch
Topout Skywalker
Just posting some photos now from my phone. Will try to get more content of interest up soon.

The proof is in the sluggin'

Monday, September 9, 2019


Although we have now been here now a full week this is the first chance to post a few photos. Weather now (after 5 days straight of stellar sunny, warm weather) is the typical moist pattern with not much rain but intermittent showers sometimes true to the predictions, sometimes not.  Plenty of local one pitch cragging can be had on these days. Only multi-pitch climb we have done thus far is Skywalker the mega classic at Shannon Falls.

From downtown looking at The Chief

Randy testing out an easy line Day One 

Friday, August 30, 2019

Welcome to Washington


day trip to the Snoqualmie National Forest with spectacular weather

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Testing with Magic

We are headed to the Pacific Northwest this week and will be in glorious Squamish BC soon. Excitement and anticipation is at a super-high level! This post is purely a test to see how easy (or not) it is to post from my phone.

The hardest part is leaving Magic for over 3 weeks. Eee-gads!!!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Cruxes Revisited

Hard to believe it's been just over 4 years since my last post.  Four years of high school spells a lot of growth. Four years of college marks a time when we grow up fast! Four years of my life (now pushing 60) has been, to date, the biggest personal growth spurt I've ever experienced.  I'm not sure my attempts to regenerate this blog will be meaningful or fruitful, but I'd like to give it a go.

Soon, I'll hope to share some introspection regarding these past years.  Meanwhile, I'll try my hand at the usual template with features and photos of my re-entry to climbing.  My body isn't as strong, flexible or lean as it was 4 years ago which requires modifications and adjustments to the climbing approach.  I do find my head is really back in the game though, and if you climb with a strong and smart mind it will take you far.

An unexpected visit to Acadia (Mt. Desert Island, Maine) in mid-July granted us respite, new adventure on mountain bikes and climbing at Otter Cliffs and The Precipice.  Being near the ocean in Maine this particular week while the rest of the East Coast suffered in a sweltering heatwave was a blessing to be acknowledged!  When you take time to breathe, sit still and look around you, it becomes crystal clear how fortunate we are.  We live in a country of overwhelming abundance while so much of the world lives without.  To be grateful for all the opportunities we have been given from the moment of birth is to understate the gravity of it all.  Such perspectives can be striking.  Just as you gain a new and inspiring view on a clifftop or mountain highpoint, so does the beauty and fortune wash over you when you gain a new perspective in the course of everyday living.  Climb on and allow the views to permeate your soul!

The corner pitch on The Story of O - The Precipice cliff, Acadia, ME

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Swim on Slab

One of our 11 year old bolts on Lost Ledge
Annie coming up The Hole Traverse
Last weekend we went back over to North Conway, NH to dip our toes into some slab climbing which we hadn't done for a long time.

Revisited Lost Ledge after 11 years - a route we established in 2004 still goes just fine! We had the cliff to ourselves all day!  Then we ran up Sliding Board on Whitehorse Ledge with Toby on a beautiful day.  We got used to those slabs again after a couple of pitches.
View down the sea of slabs from part way up Sliding Board

Scary threesome on Whitehorse slabs

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Black and White

Mostly I write about climbing adventures in this blog. Sometimes I include more hefty and contemplative subjects, such as when our old dairy goat Purslane died.  She was a beautiful black and white French Alpine goat.  She lived to be 18 years old – that’s damned old for an old goat!

I loved that old goat. But I have loved no animal or pet as I have loved Grace, the border collie. I feel so grateful to have gotten to know Grace since 2004 when I met Annie.  In late 2007 when I moved to Vermont, Grace and I began co-habitating. But at that time my dog Maxie took all of my energy and focus as she was a high anxiety and high maintenance pooch.  Post-Maxie Grace was top dog and we gradually got to know each other and bonded over the years.  I learned to understand her ways – quiet, smart, independent and mature.

Grace turned 15 years old this past Saturday. Using the dog-to-people years multiplier, that puts her at 105. Can you imagine living to 105??? I sure can’t. But Grace did, and she did it with grace.

She had been in a long, slow decline for the past year and it seems it accelerated in the past weeks.  She was on meds for inflammatory pain (arthritis), nerve pain and heart medication. This made her much more comfortable the past months and years but medication can only help for so long.  She was old and tired, stiff and aching and losing her dignity.  Grace deserved the very best exit a dog can have and that was our only gift left to give her.  It is the most painful and dreaded thing I can bear in my own heart.  But if I were in her condition I would want the same. 

Now that the decision is behind us, I can feel some peace for Grace.  But it was anything but black and white making that decision.  One always hopes for a beloved pet to go on their own terms and in their own time.  But that is as uncommon for them as it is for us.  We agonized over the decision. “Is she in pain? A lot? Is she happy? She’s eating fine so doesn’t that mean she is still ok?” The questions were plentiful and unanswerable.  It is said by some that “you will know” when she is ready to go.  Unrealistic in my view.  And the tighter the bond between you the more you have to account for a clouded perspective.  We do not want them to leave us and sometimes we hang onto them for too long.  I feel we called it right – I sure hope so.  All I know is that now the house feels so empty and vacant.  We weep. We yearn to see her smile and stroke her soft fur again.  But she’s gone from this world and I sure hope onto a far better place. What more can we hope for in the cloudy grayness that comes when the black and white colors fade away?

Photo by Jane Sobel Klonsky, Please visit Project Unconditional to learn more.