Over the last few months I have often thought that I should slow down just a little and find a place to base myself out of again, but somehow the opposite keeps happening - There are simply too many great opportunities and fun challenges to throw myself at... I simply cannot help trying to fit as much as possible into my life!
My trip to the Valley with my girl friend, Chantel Astorga, was brief but very successful - Within 7 days we did two laps on the Nose, one on Half Dome, and broke three records: We set a new women’s speed record on the Nose twice and completed the first all female linkup of El Cap and Half Dome. The next day Chantel was packing up to leave and was planning to just have another mellow day in the Valley with my friends... However, when Sean Leary (a former speed record holder on the Nose), asked me whether I was keen to a run up the Nose with him, I quickly agreed - Sean is one of the Valley climbers I have always looked up to, I was honored that he wanted to climb with me and was definitely not going to turn down an opportunity like this! I could not resist the temptation to squeeze in another lap just before flying out to Bend. We got an early start, as I had to catch a flight that afternoon. Reaching the top after climbing for 4.29min - a new (male/female team) record on the Nose.
During this week my perception of what is possible changed drastically - I now, not only understand how to climb the Nose in 2.30 hours, but actually can see it might be possible to climb it in less! I never thought I would want to peruse speed climbing, but it is actually extremely fun to move so fast and continuously over such this huge wall, and also strangely addictive... An intriguing mixture of strategy, fitness, climbing power and metal strength.
I went from climbing the Nose to Smith Rocks (in Bend, OR) in one day... It was a drastic change, from long endurance routes on cracks to short technical finger destroying Smith Rock test pieces. It was great to sample some of the classics at this historic crag... And have a look at the abundance of famous hard test-pieces, which I did not try this time, but am looking forward to coming back to at some point in the not too distant future.
The main reason for this trip to Bend was for the 5.10 Media event. The goal was for a select group of editors and journalists to get the chance to learn more about 5.10.... To get a firsthand experience with climbing and Mt Biking wearing 5.10 equipment, and to meet a selection of their elite athletes in their element. I was joined by Dean Potter, JT Holmes, Jill Kinter and several others, for what turned out to be a very fun week of climbing, biking, photography and socializing. I really appreciated getting the chance to spend some quality time with my 5.10 family, having some great social evenings with the crew and having the chance to show a fantastic bunch of writers what the "Brand of the Brave" is all about.
Thanks 5.10 for inviting me to come, and Nancy for organizing an amazing event and welcoming us all into her home!