Monday, April 4, 2011

Cloud Nine with a Chance of Snow Pellets

We had an amazing weekend of climbing. Still floating on cloud nine, I'm trying hard to temper the feeling just enough to not crash if it fades. And maybe - just maybe - I can keep it simmering on the low-burner to hang onto this goodness for longer than usual.

Sara and I headed down to Smith Rock this past weekend for our second Solo in Tandem outing. While a 12+ hour drive might seem excessive for a 2-day weekend, to me its a small price to pay. Its so refreshingly good to be out there. On the drive back to Bend after climbing Saturday, we both agreed - Smith is one of those special places where we can actually let go of everything that constantly buzzes in our minds 24/7 at home.

Driving down, I was a little worried; rain had been predicted for Saturday. In hindsight, I need to remember that a 30% chance of rain in the high desert is different than a 30% chance of rain in Seattle. What precip that we did get came down in the form of snowflakes and snow pellets - against a backdrop of blue sky and blazing sun. We danced between wearing puffys and wool hats to just jeans, tanks, and sunscreen. That's a battle I'll happily fight again, especially considering it poured at home all weekend.

Heading towards the Marsupials
For whatever reason, its hard to always feel like "me" at home. Its nice to unbury that girl I've hidden under the weight of the day-to-day in places like Smith. The vibe was good, we were surrounded by a great group of friends - new and old. Sending our hardest leads for the season, Sara and I both climbed strong and with calm.

But unfortunately, she got sick. So what started out as a great "tandem" weekend turned "solo" half way through. I wasn't sure I wanted to go solo. But Sunday packed it up and set out with a good friend who's a guide and the woman who flew out from Oklahoma specifically to have him guide her on Smith's warm, orange rock for 5 days. Watching a newer climber learn to use her balance, her feet, her power, was so exhilarating. Do new climbers know that watching their discovery gives us who've been at it for a while bit of renewal for our own love of the sport?

View from the top of the Cave Route
We're home now and its raining tonight. Down booties and fuzzy sweatshirts are the fashion statement in the little green house as we attempt to stave off the cold, kick colds to the curb, and heal slightly shredded fingers. After a 5am wake-up this morning, the effort of the work day has drained me. But it doesn't matter. That feeling is still simmering, I'm at my center having reconnected with all the little parts and pieces of myself, fingertips to toes. Not that I ever lost any of those parts, but sensation kind of disappeared, numbed by the stresses of work and house and life. Being out there, so focused on my projects, with good people I trust, I was given the gift of space and an opportunity to breathe. I couldn't have found that alone (I certainly couldnt have climbed alone). And there's the tandem; I needed that group of friends to have those specific moments to reconnect with the happy, free, eyes-wide girl inside. Its nice to know she is still there even if I lose her every now and then.

Cloud nine. Floating on cloud nine.


  1. Nice! Maybe you should go back next weekend!

  2. NIce master! wanna you come this year k2 mount ............... ..?

  3. Good post :) I'm anxious to get up to Smith sometime.

  4. Haley - do it!! That place has special energy.

    Laurel... dont tempt me. :)

  5. Great inspirational post, T! Can't wait to get some hands and feet on rocks this year with you gals!

  6. Teresa:
    Your post on cloud nine is awesome. I had such a good time climbing last week with you, Sarah and Austin. I learned so much. Most importantly that i cant wait to get outside and do it again. :)