Living in Colorado and traveling the World as much as possible rarely allows time for visits home (Northern California), but every year around Christmas I make it a point to drop everything and either fly or drive to the Bay Area. This year I drove home with my girlfriend Mary Mecklenburg. She has spent only a little time in California before, so we took our time on the drive out to explore California a bit. It's been about a year since I've been back to California on my own time, and it was great to visit and share some of my favorite places on Earth with someone who hadn't experienced them yet. On a whim, we cut south through Nevada and stopped in Bishop for the night. The next morning we climbed in the Buttermilks for a few hours, and I managed to climb Direction (V13) in a few tries. Surprising to me considering my inability to climb even the stand start (Thunderbird) in the past. Trying hard and climbing something new in one of my favorite climbing areas is always a wonderful experience. As I begin my extraction from Boulder, CO and search for a new place to settle down for a bit, Bishop once again reminds me why it's high on the list.
By noon, we were on the road again. This time to Tuolumne and Yosemite via Tioga Pass, which hasn't been open this time of year in a very long time. The Sierras are suffering from a serious lack of snow, and though this is worrisome for the California water supply, it was a true gift to drive the pass this time of year. We even had the opportunity to walk around on a frozen Tenaya Lake!
After a relaxing Christmas with NO climbing (I'm trying to give this whole rest thing a chance), I decided to work off some of the delicious holiday food with a trip to Castle Rock State Park (obviously not very dedicated to resting). I grew up climbing at Castle Rock and it remains as one of the coolest (though small) climbing areas out there. Mini font with lots of character! I spent the day repeating a ton of easier climbs and ended with a repeat of Ecoterrorist (V10) which was actually the first V10 I ever sent back in early 2005. It's been about 7 years and I've climbed 203 problems V10 and harder since. If you would have told me that back then, there's no way in hell I would have believed you. But it's nice to revisit old things. Compare and contrast strengths and how things feel and change over time. The nice thing about rock is that it stays the same for the most part. At least within the time span of less than a decade. Topping out the boulder I realized how much different I am. Stronger yes, but it seems I've become much less flexible. Time to work on that.
A new year is upon us, and though it seems trivial that the passing of one year on the calendar should inspire personal growth, I guess I'll join in. Why not, right? Climbing and it's surrounding elements are my life at this point and I intend to take my own interactions with the activity to a whole new level this year. It's all about training and I'll be sure to keep everyone updated.