The last months of my life have been consumed by climbing, exploring, brushing up new climbs, making music, driving, thinking, and healing a knee injury I gave myself while drop-kneeing down in Hueco Tanks back at the end of January.
The last time I chimed in here in Five Ten, I tried to play it cool, writing about how fit I had felt before the Trade Show, my syke for all the classics in Hueco, and rambling about some other nonsense I have already forgotten. In reality, I was in full desperation mode, limping around, spending way too much at the elusive health food stores in El Paso on things to heal me, and trying to stay positive about having a hurt MCL, which is what google diagnosed. I was very perplexed about how I would pull of all my projects I had stacked up, most of which where in the 8b-8c range, and film the segment we had wanted to do for this new film Nathan Bancroft has been making in junction with AchromaticTV (http://www.achromatic.tv) and The Island.
I was on the fence: my friends and posse had all disintegrated and fled the desert due to girl and cat problems on their home fronts, and had returned to their appropriate hoods to get their shit straight. I was biding my time between North Mountain and the local YMCA. Biking on my rest days in the gym while watching CNN with old people, hobbling around solo trying to "rehab" my knee joint, and climbing with my desert friends when I could find them. I wanted to bail to Colorado, almost every day I pondered it. I would wonder if I was being dumb, setting myself up for some disaster, what if I fell on my knee? It would break in half! I was not sure if I was treating my injury with respect, or if was just being a straight G about it. Honestly, I knew that lots of RICE was the answer, but after china I couldn't bring myself to eat more of that grain (HAHAHA) so I wasn't into that.
Bailing due to my fears of re-injury, walking away from Hueco with so much fire and syke, giving up just because I wasn't 100%- all this seemed like idiocy to me. I wondered why I was wavering. Was it because my posse had vanished? Was it cuz Hueco regulations suck? Nope. It was because I was afraid I would fail at everything I wanted to try. Even though I had an excuse. I was just afraid I didn't have it in me in the first place.
OH YEAH. BIG TIME.
I was terrified that if I stayed, and tried to climb all these heinous rigs with some crunk-leg, I would just get really really close to things, walk away empty handed, and do absolutely nothing positive with my February, and some of my March. I feared I would perpetuate my injury, and fail on everything.
But those where obviously just fears. Like being afraid of lightning. Or mountain lions. I could overcome these things!
I decided that running away out of fear, turning back from the challenge at hand, all because of uncertainty was invalid. A big DAB. A bunch of stuff ran through my head. I began to see clearly:
-----What are you thinking? Flee? You have done this before!!! Are you like 14, afraid to ask the chick for her phone number all over again? Wheres the pride? Have you ever got ANYWHERE without going for it, and taking some risk?-----
I wasn't gonna ruin my knee, thats just what the internet said, and nervous people who wanted to give advice to me who aren't doctors.
All the answers that popped up where like:
----Yeah dude. Don't be a retard! Buck up! Go all a muerte! What would Dani Andrada do? And if you didn't accomplish your goal, didn't you at least try? Isn' that better then giving up?
Isn't that rock climbing??? ----
I had figured it out. I was correct. All signs pointed to a go.
I opted to stay in the desert alone and hone my strength, learn to climb without my left leg, and conquer the rigs. The rigs were all that counted. They were all that mattered. I had learned a lot in the Tanks thus far, but one thing I knew was that leaving this magical place without having found my "purpose" if you will, without having realized something massive on a life level, I would be missing the point completely. I didn't need peyote to have my trip. I was in the middle of it. FULL SWING.
Time began to pass on. I was living at the Wagon Wheel, out in the desert in these scamps (small old school campers) and enjoying time with friends like Adam and Melissa Strong, Delete Me, Robb Guinn, and many more. It was just like Free Hueco, except there was no Pete's, and Obe wasn't there collecting rent, and Chris Sharma wasn't around. But the vibe was fresh. The weather was hit or miss, with amazing windows of cold-air-opportunities, then brutal heat waves. Or wind storms. When I wasn't climbing, I enjoyed speaking spanish to people in El Paso. at Wal-Mart, maybe in the mall, but mostly just at the YMCA hot tub, where I kicked it on the reg. When the darkness came every day at around 6:15pm, I would head into town and explore the plethora of bad restaurants, in lieu of staying in Beau Kahler's dark scamp all night every night with no power. I was surviving the tough times, before i would regress to town, and get a hotel for the end of the trip, use the internet, and drink coffee again (http://fiveten.com/community/63-fiveten/videos/video/976-Hueco+Wake+Up).
I am not going to delve in a talk about every climb I did in Hueco, but climbing was an every day thing, so there where a lot of problems. The entire two months I spent in the tanks involved little resting. The whole trip was just a massive attack upon the boulders, minus the Trade Show trip (https://vimeo.com/36292489) and the three weeks where my knee was pretty out the game. As March neared, I had accomplished healing my knee to a certain degree, and the posse started to reform, and I could try most of the hard problems I wanted to do.
A couple lines I worked on a ton this year where new projects for the crew from this season. The new zones we found this year were simply outstanding, and all extremely difficult. The Black Vortex project, AKA the left exit of Blood of a Young Wolf, is a crazy thing, with a radical jump at the ending that was never done, despite Sam Davis, myself and TIm Doyle making a substantial siege, including sessions on a rope, attempting to understand how to gain the lip. The Rock Rodeo neared, and the weather fluctuated. It would be brutally hot for a week, crushing climbers dreams of success, then one minute from the next, snap into a cold spell, prompting the projecters in hordes to rush out and try and send whatever they had been greasing off for the past month.
I was lucky. I wrapped up the hard rigs I wanted to climb just before the competition, and I never took any bad falls or hurt my wounded knee more then it was. Neon Desert went down, a project behind Uncut Yogi, all comp wall style, very athletic and resistant, and also Where love Goes to Die, one of the most loco rigs ever (video at DPM). I also filmed the segment with Nate for his film, which I thought was a lost hope, but I think we did some really good work which was a relief. I wanted to do Nagual, Bandersnatch, and had wishful thinking for something in the Black Vortex wall. All I needed to do was maintain syke, not get too wrecked on the Rodeo day, not re injure my knee, and I would make it out of the desert victorious, happy, and with a nice tan.
The Rodeo happened, and it was sick. Daniel, Jorg, Sean, Sammy D, Nick Duttle and BA, all climbed excellent, and I was proud to say I had a great day too. I didn't get dead last, and accomplished 6 hard problems, shocking myself a little bit. I presented a slideshow later that night people seemed to enjoy, and got to mix music for all the drunk climbers much later on, which was totally majestic. I failed my goal of not wrecking my skin, my three tries on Nagual and my warring on the machinist had left me in shambles, skin was brutalized, and it got 80 again.
Long story short, the last week of Hueco went well. I rested up, fired the Bandersnatch in the heat, waited a couple days for the cold, then did the Nag 1st try back to it, and got back up to the Black Vortex for my last day of climbing. It was almost the coldest day of the year, hard to believe after such a heat wave, and my skin and body were totally wrecked. I was up there with the homies, we were reminiscing on what a good season of trying hard on new shit it was. I had more or less thrown in the towel, but gave the rig some tries regardless. It was in a freak moment, with zero expectations, that I managed to actually climb through the low start, and keep going through the right exit. I was super syked. The problem felt really hard, and is one of the best I have ever encountered in the Tanks; sloppy red/brown rock, and powerful moves out the steep swelling wall. Exhilarated and kind of surprised, Bear Cam Media and I drove back up to Colorado through the night and a terrifying snow storm to Colorado, and the trip came to an end.
I learned a lot this trip about my own climbing, and my motivation. Every time I think things are going to be easy, and they are not. Its the unknown difficulty of life I think I am attracted to. Its such an adventure sometimes to be alive, in your own world, striving to do whatever you decide.
I am back in my hood now, up in Nederland, hitting up the hot tub on the daily, trying amazing projects, working on Daniel Wood's sick new additions in the park (Paint it Black particularly), and trying to finish up The Island business. Its absolutely majestic, and a real treat to be at a home for a little while. I bought a flight for the 7th of May heading for Australia, which is only five weeks away, where i will meet Nalle and Ian again for a second round down under, but this time for two whole months. After that I will fly to South Africa With Nalle, delve into that scene for two months, climbing around Capetown and in the Rocklands, and team up with the excellent posse that will be down there. Afterwards, wow, off to EU again, because I will be allowed back in soon (YES HAHAH!!!) hit up Swizterland, head of to Argentina for the Roc trip, go back to Ticino, and Spain, and its too much to get into right now, I fear I won't be back in the USA for a little bit!!!
In the meantime, I just hope i don't get eaten by a mountain lion looking for new boulders one days. They are out there, and they see me, I just don't see them.
I have been quite focused on making more music. Some songs are original productions, but others are short mixes. I got to DJ at the Rock Rodeo, and even though my computer was all crunked out and we had a power failure, it was one of the most satisfying moments of my trip in the desert.
Here is an array of links, ranging from my songs on Soundcloud, to short videos I have been in recently, to thing like my my instagram feed and Twitter account:
-Preview for a Feature Film we have working on for almost a year now in junction with The Island and AchromaticTV…
-The mix starting with "Teach me How to Dougie" from the Memory is Parallax Video (http://vimeo.com/35704185) is now on SoundCloud, you can get the track here:
-A song I made in during my trip to the Red River Gorge last December…
-The Warrior Path Part 1: Check out the rest of the series on DPM stash, this is a little Island/BearCamMedia collabo we made while in Hueco this winter…
-Crazy video we did with the Wagon Wheel and El Paso Board of Tourism to Promote the 2012 Rock Rodeo...
-A video at DPM we made while shooting for Scarred for Life. You can watch if you join the Stash, and its of a very sick new rig, Where Love Goes to Die
-An article from the El Paso Times about the Rock Rodeo I helped with…
-Follow my reports on Twitter
-Check out pictures of new stuff I upload at Instagram