Friday, June 19, 2009


According to the Merriam Webster Online dictionary, the word community means 'a unified body of individuals'. This definition falls in line with the concept of the climbing community. We are unified by the activity of climbing, but we are unique individuals, with varying degrees of commitment to climbing, different lifestyles, different values and at many different points in our lives. I have been thinking a lot about community lately, about how a sense of community is a powerful force that can provide support and allow us to strive towards goals or happiness in a way that individual relationships cannot do.

These philosophical musings on community were sparked by the loss of my friend Micah Dash from the collection of individuals that make up the climbing community. Micah was a well known climber who received international recognition in the past several years for his bold alpine ascents and strong rock climbing abilities. I had the fortune of meeting Micah early in my climbing life, back in the spring of 2002 in Yosemite when he was on Yosemite Search and Rescue. Micah was extremely charismatic, was always joking around, laughing, telling stories complete with funny voices and sound effects. His motivation for climbing impressed me immediately - he wanted to be a great climber and wasn't afraid to work hard to meet his goals. He introduced me to his then-girlfriend Amelia when she showed up in the Valley, and we went on to climb all sorts of routes together and have remained close friends. Although we didn't see each other much recently, Micah was extremely supportive on my own dedication to the climbing life. Whether giving out beta on potential new routes in Asia or making suggestions on how to play the sponsorship game, I always felt like Micah was one of those people who would help me out if he could. The climbing community took a blow with his loss.

Not all of my recent musings on community have been sad, though. It's a really exciting and inspiring time to be a member of the Squamish climbing community. On June 20 Squamish local Will Stanhope completed the fifth ascent of Cobra Crack, a steep and beautiful 5.14 finger crack in the forest on the backside of the Chief. Although I wasn't at the crag for the send, I saw several of Will's redpoint attempts last week and it was pretty inspiring to watch him fully going for it way way way over a single cam. I can only dream of having that kind of headspace, but hopefully I will be able to channel some of the amazing pysche the Squamish climbing community is feeling for Will towards accomplishing my own climbing goals.

My camera has crapped out, which is one of the reasons it's taken me so long to motivate to write a post. It is way less inspiring to blog without a few photos or my cheesy videos to organize things around. I have actually been climbing quite a bit since I returned from Greece including a few quality newer multipitch routes on the north walls (Polaris and New Life). I also had a great day with Senja Palonen on the Grand Wall and the Roman Chimneys. Neither of us had done the Roman Chimneys before, so we really enjoyed the challenge of figuring out four burly pitches after finishing the Grand Wall. I have also been spending some really fun cragging days with the always fun ladies Mandoline Clark and Jen Olson at the White Cliff. Thanks to Colin Moorehead and Paul McSorely and others there are some new anchors, new bolts and new routes in that zone that make it well worth the hike. I redpointed the tricky 12c fingercrack Vital Transformation as well as a pumpy mixed gear and bolts Future Shock (12a). The easier routes such as Bush Doctor (11b), Backwoods Beebop (10d) and Transmigration (10b) are all quality as well. One thing I love about Squamish is that even after 9 years of climbing here, new and old crags-du-jour keep this place so far from boring.

Well that's probably enough of a rant for this time. To keep this post from being all text, I have put together a short slideshow of some shots from Kalymnos, mostly non-climbing, to get you psyched for your future island paradise vacations.

No comments: