My brother Bryce came in town for Labor Day weekend and we were able to spend one day climbing with Mark and Tori at Lisa Falls in Little Cottonwood Canyon. I'd never climbed there before and it was pretty fun. The weather was nice and being next to a little waterfall made it extra nice. Some moderate sport routes that were a lot slabbier than they looked kept us entertained most the day. Then we went around the corner to climb a mixed route that was a lot harder than it looked and even got to top rope a ridiculously hard route up a blocky face. The moves Tori's doing in the last few pictures are way harder than they look.
For Alicia's birthday I signed us up for a cooking class at Gygi to make French Macaroons! It was so much fun! I haven't taken a cooking class since I was in 7th grade. Even then we were making stuff like lumberjack casserole. Strange though that in that class I won first place for my bread and then failed miserably with my pie. It's been backwards ever since. Anyways, we made French Macaroons, possibly one of my most favorite cookies ever. They are so amazing. They change my life every time I bite into one. Partly because they cost somewhere around 2-3 dollars each from a fancy bakery and partly because they have the most incredibly crunchy crumbly texture with a mouth watering chewy center that you can't find in anything else no matter how hard to try. There's some mystique about making them and little tricks and such to make them turn out just right so the class was fantastic. We got to make the Strawberry Lemon flavored ones and I must say, I think ours were the best. It was fun being in that big kitchen too. I've been dreaming of that oven and Kitchen Aid mixer ever since. We all got to share the results and take them home. Macaroons are so expensive that I think the class paid for itself in the amount of cookies I came home with. Alicia took some better pictures of the finished product and put up the recipes on her food blog here. I devoured them all and left the next morning for a week in the Tetons.
I've climbed Steort's Ridge so many times I can't count them all. But I was finally able to go and lead the entire thing. All 3 pitches. That last one had eluded me but I finally did and even ran it out at the top. My brother Andy came with me and made it an interesting day. At least we made it out safe even if we had to leave behind my beloved yellow mastercam I bought just for my Squamish trip last year.
The weirdest stuff kept happening. First he dropped the nut tool at the beginning, then the cam got stuck, then he left the whole anchor behind including my ATC so he had to give me a sketchy lowering job so I could try and get the stuff, then the old solo climber came up behind me and gave me some gear of our that the party behind us had. (at first we thought Andy had dropped that too, but it turns out the other people took it out of my pack at the bottom on accident) We never got the cam out, but everything else worked out ok. And I lead it all so I was happy.
That's Andy down there working on the stuck cam. I will give him credit for finding and bringing up my headband when it blew off my head. I can't see climbing without one with all my "chicken" hair in my face.
...if I don't invest in a gear sling soon my harness is going to slide right off my hips from all the gear clipped to it. I'm saggin!
This is one of my favorite questions ever. I love asking it to people and is one of my standard first date get to know you questions (along with how do you like your steaks cooked.) I love the answers and think it says a lot about someone in what they wanted and how it compares to where they're at now. My answer would have been a science teacher…hey that still is the answer. I never really waivered, I'm fairly reliable when it comes to stuff like that. I know what I want. But that doesn't mean I will say what I want. I had lots of other answers when people asked me that question, just to spice things up. I had some long sprees of Taxi Driver, Heart Surgeon, and Hell's Angel. That's right, I liked to tell people that when I grew up I was going to join a biker gang. I even went so far as to put some Harley Davidson posters up in my room. The funny part of it was that I'd never ridden on a motorcycle. On my 18th birthday Norm took me riding on his scooter (which you have to admit isn't much different when you're riding in the back) but that was as close as I'd come. I think holding out paid off too, because I was finally able to take my first motorcycle ride and it was perfect. We rode David's Harley up Big Cottonwood Canyon on a summery Sunday afternoon. I got to wear a real Harley helmet and leather jacket. If it'd been just a little colder up at the top I could have put on the leather chaps that we'd brought along just in case. That's right chaps, and not the cowboy kind, though they're cool too. Everything looked better without a roof over my head and it reminded me of driving the Fiat with the top down. Plus I was instantly admitted to the coolest club of subtle head nodding and sly two finger waves to all the other Harley riders we passed. That might have been the best part, but it's hard to really choose a best part since it was all so much fun. And what does David want me to do in exchange for this service…take him geocaching. I totally won on that trade. Even better if we take the bike caching.
Alicia and I hiked up to Donut Falls with her kids…the snow is really sticking around late this year as you can tell and Alicia and I didn't make the best choice in foot gear either. I baked some donut muffins to eat at the falls, Alicia made sandwiches, Zoe got put in the backpack and we headed up the trail with the boys. Navigating the unexpected snowbanks in our sandals and stopping to examine all the worms in the runoff slowed us down a bit, but it's not like we were trying to get anywhere fast. In the end me and the boys could just barely get close enough to see the falls in the distance. The snowmelt runoff was so high that it was going over the donut hole as well as through it. Still a fun hike and a day out in the mountains with friends. (and sorry Jake, but Alicia's better at this kind of (baby)backpacking that you were)
Big Sigh....it's always sad to say goodbye to a really good climbing partner. There's lot of good climbers but once in awhile you find one that is just such a great fit. Style, ability, patience, knowledge, sense of humor... While I'm happy to see Bobby get married and move to Washington with April (who is one of the nicest girls I've ever met) I'm sad to see him leave Salt Lake. He has been a great climbing mentor to me and has helped me improve my climbing by leaps and bounds just by his confidence alone. We had a great road trip to Red Rocks together, some good gym sessions, a day out climbing with Andy, a few days of intensive trad leading lessons to prepare me for Squamish, as well as many other days climbing the local crags after work. And last of all, he managed to find the time for one last day of really great climbing in Little Cottonwood Canyon together just days before he left. We'd tried to go with April the week before but got rained out of the canyon. But not before he convinced me to do my first Little Cottonwood lead climb up Bushwhack Crack! (that was a huge climbing milestone for me in itself. Being the first climb I attempted in the canyon two years ago and having sat down crying at the bottom because I couldn't get my feet off the ground...I've come a long way to say the least) It felt odd to have Bobby clean that route for me instead of the usual way around...For our last day of climbing...it was similar to our first. We met around noon went up to Bushwhack which he lead one last time. We linked over to the base of The Hook which I got to lead...I love that climb.Then we went up the Hook Variation, just like so many times before, it didn't feel like an ending. We both had to get going but just couldn't resist the perfect weather and the solitude up at the top of the rock and convinced ourselves to do two more routes. We went up the second pitch of The Hook which is an odd wide crack, then top roped the slab climb Hook Direct. It didn't hit me till the last rappel down when I said to him his usual line, "See you on the other side Ray..." that it was the end. Such a bittersweet day of perfect climbing.
(can you name the movie that quote comes from???)
For Alicia's birthday she wanted a berry themed dessert table. She made a delicious blackberry chocolate cake that had the most fantastic marshmallow chocolate frosting, and some really good mini strawberry shortcakes that we will definitely be putting on our list of wedding options at Sweet Lime. Then she modified our cake balls and instead of using normal cake and frosting in the middles she used fresh raspberries and pound cake (genius!) They were amazing. I brought some marshmallow surprise cookies and foraged around their yard for flowers to put on the table. It was a minimal spread but everything we especially fantastic. She made a cake for my birthday back in May and it was amazing too. I never wrote about it though. You can read about it here and if you want any of her recipes she used read her post here.
"There's plenty of money out there. They print more every day. But this ticket, there's only five of them in the whole world, and that's all there's ever going to be. Only a dummy would give this up for something as common as money. Are you a dummy?" -Grandpa George
"Be a half-assed crusader, a part-time fanatic. Don’t worry to much about the fate of the world. Saving the world is only a hobby. Get out there and enjoy the world, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, husbands, wives; climb mountains, run rivers, get drunk, do whatever you want to do while you can, before it’s too late." –Edward Abbey
Life is hard? True- but let's love it anyhow, though it breaks every bone in our bodies. -Edward Abbey
"Candy doesn't have to have a point. That's why it's candy." -Charlie Bucket