Monday, June 27, 2011

Leading Steort's Ridge with Andy

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!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A check off the bucket list

What did you want to be when you grew up?
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.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A snowy spring hike to Donut Falls

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)
The buttermilk donut muffins!!!!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"See you on the other side Ray" (...Bobby)

Big'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 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???)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Alicia's Birthday Desserts

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.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Maple Canyon Climbing

When you start climbing you slowly start to pick up on the names of climbing destinations. Some are across the world in places like Pakistan and Italy, some are closer but just as classic like Squamish B.C. or Joshua Tree and The Gunks. It's really fun to be a climber from Utah because as these world class destination names come up you start to realize that many of them are in our state! We are really spoiled here in Utah with such amazing stuff practically in our backyards. One of these places is Maple Canyon. Maybe not as widely known as Indian Creek and Zion, it's fairly well known and popular. I'd heard about it a lot and finally got a chance to head down there for the day. Mostly it was Spencer and I doing the climbing so we did as many routes as we could fit in. His wife came and played around with their boys and took some pictures. The rock is cobble stone and hard to explain but trust me it's weird. It wasn't my favorite either. It took me a long time to get used to and when I did, it just reminded me of climbing in the gym. Don't get me wrong, it was really fun and pretty and unusual, but there's lots of other places I'd rather climb. Maybe if I ever get really hardcore and like climbing overhanging stuff I'll come back and see if my opinion changes. These pictures below are a series Spencer's wife took of me going up one route. Climbing, clipping the anchors and coming back down. Sort of fun I thought.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Aaron's First Birthday!

If you know me you know I'm still friends with my former in-laws. We have lunch, I talk to my ex-husband and sometimes go see a movie with him. I sometimes miss all the extra nieces and nephews I had in that family (they have A LOT). So I was excited when Rebekah invited me to her son Aaron's first birthday party. I'd never even met Aaron since he was born after my divorce. He's their 8th child and was born with trisomy 18 so him having a birthday party at all is pretty exciting. I was glad to go, it was sweet to meet him, and it was fun to see so many of his cousins that I hadn't seen in years. They were so grown up I couldn't believe it. What a fun day.
They had a balloon release for all the other kids he's been around that haven't made it has far as him. Prayers to heaven. It was a sweet idea and looked cool too, but I must admit I didn't bring a balloon and when they handed me one to let go I cringed inside thinking and wondering where these balloons were going to end up. Ugh the sea turtles! But I let it go anyway... The funniest part of the evening was when I got a text from Bryan saying hi and asking what I was up to...."Um, I'm at your nephew's birthday party where are YOU?" He showed up shortly after that and we had a good laugh about how, just by looking at our shoes these days you can tell how incompatible we are. His are even more ridiculous than they look in real life believe me. He's still a nice guy though. Glad I could be on good enough terms with them all that I could share Aaron's birthday.
Rebekah keeps a blog on Aaron's life and it's pretty sweet and informative. Follow it here...