3 Months Later

My blog seems to have lost its way over the last year or so. I started posting some of my journal entries, training records, and climbing plans/goals two and a half years ago with my mind firmly focused on alpine climbing. I had several clearly defined goals to achieve before I turned thirty (only 402 days now, that’s terrifying), and I had a plan in place to reach those goals.

Climbing in March 2015 when the stoke was high.

Climbing Canadian ice in March 2015 when the stoke was high.

Everything went great at first. I trained hard for ten months after my divorce was finalized in February of 2014. In September, I went shopping for airline tickets. Christmas and New Years were spent smashing and crashing my way up ice climbs in Wyoming and Montana on an eight day climbing blitz with my friend Olin. Two months later, I flew to Europe and spent over two weeks on world class ice and mixed lines in Kandersteg, Switzerland. I flew home with swollen knuckles and a thirst for more adrenaline, and drove up to climb Canadian ice three days later. And then…well, I’m not sure what happened then. I crashed and burned one relationship after another, lost one of the people I loved most in this world to cancer, started drinking way too much, bought a guitar, and started playing and writing songs obsessively. All the while, my climbing gear sat in bins and hung on the wall gathering dust.

Now I’m out in California for work, and that gear is still packed neatly away in my room. It’s created a strange dichotomy in my heart: I still feel like a climber, and a pretty good one at that. However, a person is what they do. Having a lot of expensive gear and memories and pictures of routes climbed and adventures undertaken does not make someone a climber. It makes them a has-been and perhaps a wanna-be.

Just typing those words makes me feel ashamed and guilty somehow. I haven’t renounced climbing and sold all my gear, and I don’t just sit on the couch drinking beer and eating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos (usually). I still get a thrill in my heart and chills up and down my spine thinking about slamming my Nomics into hero ice, racing ropeless up a steep snow couloir, or delicately picking my way up a thin, delaminated mixed pitch of ice and rock in the mountains. I know the stoke will return someday – and maybe someday soon – but for now it’s dormant, hidden, unreachable. I’m trying to learn to be okay with the roller coaster ride that is my relationship with hard climbing. I’ve given up trying to understand it, but maybe I can learn to accept it.

So that brings up the obvious question: if I haven’t been climbing, what HAVE I been doing out here in California? Since the last update three months ago, there have really only been three things occupying my mind and taking up my time (besides work of course).

First, I have been constantly fixated on planning and saving for land and a little cottage in Port Townsend, WA. I had a bit of a financial setback with an unplanned bill for $3000, but I am still debt-free and adding to my savings account every month. I should have well over $10k in savings by the end of the year. I intend to purchase land in late spring, so I’ve been online A LOT looking at different properties. And finally, my friend finished the 3D modeling for my house design, so now I just need to turn it over to a Port Townsend-based architect who is familiar with local zoning and building codes so he/she can convert it to building plans.

A screenshot of the finalized house plan. The large ground-level opening on the invisible wall is a flip-up garage door that I am really excited about!

A screenshot of the finalized house plan. The large ground-level opening on the invisible wall is a flip-up garage door that I am really excited about!

Second, I’ve turned to mountain biking to get my adrenaline fix. The trails around Santa Cruz, Scott’s Valley, and Los Gatos are world class for both hill climbing and hardcore downhill riding. That’s the other reason I’m going to be quite a bit shy of my original goal to have $20k in savings by December 31st – I invested a significant amount of cash into a bike that can handle this kind of terrain. I’ve never spent that kind of money on a single piece of gear, but I have no regrets. Dropping off cliffs, hitting big tabletop jumps, and blasting through rock gardens is FUN! Mountain biking has also helped me meet some really great friends, and I was starting to get pretty lonely out here by myself.

Taking a break with Donovon on some random train bridge while riding in Santa Cruz.

Taking a break with Donovon on some random train bridge while riding in Santa Cruz.

Post-ride with Lance (center) and other Jimmy (right), two of my best friends out here.

Post-ride with Lance (center) and other Jimmy (right), two of my best friends out here.

I think Specialized should use this photo for an ad.

I think Specialized should use this photo for an ad.

Finally, I did something I thought I would never do. I adopted an eight week old kitten and named him Dave. He’s actually sitting on my shoulder watching me type this, and he’s been an all-around amazing little buddy. I think I’m going to update the house plans to have a catwalk go along one wall from the loft to the big picture window on the far wall (not visible in the house photo because I took that wall out to see inside).

Sir Dave, Adventure Cat (that's his full name)

Sir Dave, Adventure Cat (that’s his full name)

I think he was trying to help with the laundry.

I think he was trying to help with the laundry.

He likes to hang out up there and watch me make coffee or work on the computer.

He likes to hang out up there and watch me make coffee or work on the computer.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I have no big adventure or traveling plans made for the future, but I’ll try to post before another three months go by. Cheers!