Lying in bed, I think about all the things in San Diego that I’m really thankful to have had in my life the past 3 years as well as my whole childhood growing up with so many opportunities. Looking back to my transition from horse whisper to dancing on rocks, I’ve been able to grow in more ways than one. Through my work, I’ve never liked to devote what I do to one thing. Some may say I spread myself out to thin, not having a focus can take away from growing in a certain direction, however I feel like I have become more well rounded from all the different tasks I have taken on. These years have helped me develop great friendship, a good work ethic, and a passion for something that allows me to continue to grow. Inspiration comes from within while also blossoming from the people I surround myself with.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of going on a spontaneous trip out to Joshua Tree, which is quite possibly the last trip I’ll be able to take to this magical land for quite some time. My friend Clémence had her eye set on the prize, being this beautiful stemming dihedral climb by the name of Coarse and Buggy. This too has been on my tick list for quite some time, after my friend Jordan led me up it a little over a year ago. After we had warmed up on some fun climbs with the crew, we meandered our way back to this classic. Clémence was up first, her excitement radiated from her pores as she racked up in preparation for the lead. It was quite thrilling to watch her climb seeing her take a few falls while figuring out the beta. The climb is definitely not for the faint of heart, it takes some serious skills and determination to commit to tie in and get after it.
At the start of her climbing, I was unsure of myself. Not convinced if I had it in me to go for the lead. Once I watch Clémence try even with a fall, she laughed and the piece held and she continued on. I knew there was nothing to fear except the feeling of missing out if I didn’t give this test piece a go. She topped out, set up a top rope, and belayed our friend Colleen up to clean the route. I joined her up top to bring a belay device, warm puffy and company as the sun had dipped behind the formation behind us, leaving the top of the climb (and the climb itself) in the cold afternoon shade. Colleen topped out, we exchanged high fives all around, made the decent to the base where we then exchanged gear so I could rack up and give it a go.
The nerves rattled through my body as I started talking to myself and focusing on my breathing, getting into the mental space to climb. A mixture of feeling kept surging through my body, but my mind was set on what I needed to do. I started up the climb figuring out the beta at the bottom making my way to the first crux section, my favorite type of climbing, stemming. Getting into the stem was a mental game for me. Being able to press evenly with both hand, allowing to lift both feet from the security of the ledge I was standing on, to smear them on opposing sides of the dihedral. The gear placements were thin, and the nerves were bouncing around as I focus on my breathing to calm everything down. Continuing to press my hands into the wall, I moved my feet carefully finding whatever edge or bump I felt secure enough to move off of. Moving up the dihedral, I could see the crack slowly starting to widen just enough for my two fingers to slide in creating what seemed like a bomber finger lock. My feet creating just enough friction to keep me on the wall, or so I thought… As I shifted my weight onto my left foot, it blew right from underneath me. I’m pretty sure I let out a shriek of terror as I whipped well below my last placement, slamming my left him into the rock. The rope caught me as I felt the tension between myself and my belayer, looking up amazed that my 00 Metolius cam didn’t even budge. Adrenaline pumping through my veins as the excitement level rises eager to get back on the wall to finish up the climb.
This has been the hardest I have pushed myself thus far and I gotta tell ya, it feels pretty dam good. Topping out to the laughter of my friend Cameron who had set up a line at the top of the climb to take some sweet pics while the sun painted the sky all sorts of beautiful colors as it set behind the horizon. Joshua Tree has taught me so much while allowing me to develop my climbing to where it is today. It’s not the only thing I am going to miss about San Diego but definitely high up there on the list.
The countdown continues as today comes to an end, 7 more days until I take off for my 6 week trip on my way to Alaska. I’m excited for the adventures to come, people whom I will be sharing them with, and memories that will surely last a life time.