It's important to respect your male climbing partners, some might even have "Man Crushes" for them, which is always flattering, but not entirely necessary. ha ha. And although Will Stanhope (a fellow countryman and Five Ten Athlete) does have a very nice smile and a soft approachable demeanor, I have never considered him a "man crush" before. In fact, I've never had a crush on any of my male climbing partners before. Not to say that they aren't handsome and bad-ass, just that I have never looked at it that way. What I do have for them, is tremendous respect. Each of my climbing partners, which I choose relatively wisely, has a certain skill or attribute that they bring to the team, and don't pretend like you don't do the same thing. As climbers who need partners, we tend to seek out partners that can get the job done, and if they can't, at least they can make us feel comfortable and have a sense of humor about it all. Willy, (as I like to call him) does all of the above. He will gladly take the sharp end whenever, wherever. He will crack jokes to make the time pass and he will support you when you're gunning for glory.
I'm here now in Yosemite Valley with Will, and we've been hanging tough through a couple days of rain and snow. Yesterday was our first climbing day of the month. It was brilliant. We want to climb the Prophet, a 5.13d, R route established by fellow Five Ten Athlete Leo Houlding's after 9 years of work, which he completed last Oct. It's hard and scary, and very, very serious.
In fact, after yesterdays first attempt I really wish I had climbed more in Aug and Sept. Instead of taking the time out to get married and enjoy life. Which I am also very gad I did. But now it's game time again, and with weak and puny arms, I struggle to get stoked for the Prophet, which is going to take every once of strength i have at the moment, but lucky for me, I have one mega stoked climbing partner that can carry the load when I find myself in doubt. Willy is one of the best climbers partners I could imagine for a mission like this. Maybe I have a crush on him after all?