I’m excited for the end of the workday, when it will still be light and I can take Arnie running in the mountains. It’s Spring – I don’t care what the calendar says – and my favorite time of year in the Wasatch. It’s cool enough to climb in the sun, warm enough to run in shorts and the days are long enough to be outside till I’m tired.

Our weekend plans changed; we didn’t drive to Indian Creek. Honey had a head cold and I was kind of tired from a long week. We kind of relaxed on Saturday – with intermittent trail runs, gym climbing and longboarding – and yesterday went climbing in Little Cottonwood canyon.

Our backyard and home crag, I have a love/hate relationship with Little Cottonwood. When I arrived in Utah three years ago, I marched into the canyon expecting to send everything in a season. What followed was a season of me getting my ass kicked, crying, screaming and declaring climbing to be stupid.

I worked very hard to avoid climbing in Little Cottonwood last season – “It’s too hot/crowded/overrun with rattlesnakes (true)/scary (also true)” – but now I’m excited to explore it. I’m even being cautious about the routes I get on, and working hard to not get in over my head on climbs that are too hard for me.

Is it possible that I’ve matured? Maybe, but doubtful. I think I just have a healthier sense of fear than I did when I moved here, meaning, I actually think while I climb. Brad used to holler at me to place more gear, and I’d look down to realize that I was 20 feet above my last piece. “Huh, look at that,” I’d think, wiggling in a stopper and shrugging. Now I holler at him to toss me extra cams because I’ve already placed my double set ofcams and all my stoppers and I still have 60 feet to the anchor.

(I’m not going to explain that, even though I know lots of you aren’t climbers and won’t know what the hell I’m talking about. Suffice it to say that I’ve crossed the line from dumb-but-brave to smart-but-unbelievably-chicken.)

But yesterday was wonderful. It was around 55 or 60 degrees, sunny and clear, and the rock temperature was perfect for the frictiony slapping that Little Cottonwood demands.

We went to the Mexican Crack area, and started on a mellow, 2-pitch finger crack. Well, it used to feel mellow. It felt kind of hard yesterday, but that’s all part of getting in granite climbing shape, I guess. We moved on to Mexican Crack proper, as well as some nondescript pitch beside it and a moderate 3-pitch route around the corner.

We were climbing with Brittany and JT, who are hilarious. JT is in standard form in his picture, which I took. I stole the picture of Brittany, who is a total badass. I think I took it from the Patagonia website. (That’s right, Patagonia, I stole it from under your titanium-frame-bespectacled noses.)

Anyway, it’s really fun to climb with these two. They’ve traveled to some of the more interesting parts of the world to climb, including Siberia and Oman, and I love to hear about their adventures, which remind me that even though I don’t climb all that much anymore, and when I do climb it’s often in the gym, there are still lots of routes out there waiting for me. Waiting for Brad and me. Big routes with long approaches and lots of pitches and beautiful settings. Routes that require air travel then bus travel then wooden-cart-and-mule travel.

Little Cottonwood felt like home yesterday. I’m looking forward to going back up there later this week, like I'm looking forward to big routes in faraway mountains, like I look forward to the Spring.

1 comment:

Paige Jennifer said...

She's velcroed to that rock...right?