Friday, June 15, 2012

Seasonal Retro-spray Disorder

Time after time, I seem to be swept away with the changing of seasons and find myself riding the flow of action, lost in the moments.  This winter was no different, with an early start in the Wind River Range leading into a blur of Hyalite Daze:  from my first day back (unexpectedly catching The Matrix with Kyle Rott), through countless more of guiding, shooting and posing down...the blur of – wake up, coffee, grab the kit, make the drive, link up, more coffee, maybe some food, approaching (run, don't walk - it's much warmer), x,y,z...darkness; load the truck, warm up, make the drive (no hurry on this leg), dump the gear, dry the kit, sleep like the dead; wake up dreaming and do it all over again…

A few special days & moments come to mind:

The sense of something magical in store:  as Kyle and I reconnected and began our seasonal journey   the knowing of a brilliant partnership from the beginning, the notion cemented as I see him following our first pitch together and reveling in our good fortune to catch this climb in such wonderful conditions  – a fine start indeed. 

Rejoicing in late-day sun:  enjoying traditional parking lot brews with long-time homie Jay Beyer and new friends, after knocking out another successful shoot with the master of light.

Sterling Rope Love:  the following evening, as our crew of supporters immediately rallied around the images of the day and promptly ran to press with a full-page ad – talk about instant gratification...

Sending the pants off Expanding Horizons with Monkey1 (that's Kyle, btw) and Caroline Treadway behind the lens:  revisiting test piece routes seems to have been a common theme for my winter season, and this was perhaps the most special.  While much of the lower portion of the route has changed, I was thrilled to find ice conditions very similar to that of the first ascent.

I can still picture Alex, the day after establishing the route, wild-eyed and grinning somewhere between Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat, motioning with thumb and index finger closer and closer together, "You gotta dyno and stick this super-thin verglas – it's wicked!!  You should definitely check it out!"  Yeah – I should check it out – yeah…  I did check it out shortly thereafter, and surprised myself, on-sighting past the crux climbing and onto the WI3 finish, only to bumble a tool, watching it drop, plum-line through space, and consequently hanging on an ice screw in order to recover the tool and finish the pitch.

Returning after more than a decade, my expectations were low, but the stoke was high – I fully credit Kyle and Caroline for the send, with their belief and encouragement quietly pushing the rope up from below.  Facing the dire consequence of a 60-foot run-out, I felt calm, in control, and an ocean of confidence washing over me as the soft words “you look super-solid” drifted from Caroline’s fixed line, some 200 feet away…   

Sharing the last day of the season, climbing in good style, with mi amigos:  I could prattle on endlessly in praise of my partners – Kyle’s on-sight of Come & Get It, his flash of The Succubus, or his cool, calculated and ever-strong send of The Far-left of Jeff’s Actual Other-right (yes, inside joke…), where I watched through the camera as Monkey1 transformed from journeyman to master – dancing with danger and flirting disaster through a maze of detached and creaking icicles:  cold, brittle and worn by hard sun…I can recall echoing, “you look super-solid.”  Or there’s Marko’s un-dying loyalty to his friends and honor to his commitments – never have I found a more reliable human. 

To finish my season in the company of these two was an honor and a pleasure; to finish my season with a first ascent and gang soloing was icing on the cake.  After countless years of eyeballing a short mixed line right of Genesis 1, the stars finally aligned to bring the perfect weather pattern and allowed ephemeral passageway.  We established Sarah Jessica Parker in fine choss-monkey style:  timing perfectly the morning temps, climbing on-sight, protecting shattered and re-frozen stone naturally with tiny offsets, beaks, Spectres and small cams – floating with peak-strength past the gently overhanging terrain.

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