Wednesday, June 12, 2013

No big deal, yet a really big deal

I walked all the way around The Stanford Dish for the first time yesterday. And today.

I know many people who thought this would never be possible.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Kind words

One of the things that Steve (my neighbour on my first plane ride to Kauai and now a good friend) said in response to an email update of mine was: "You shouldn’t doubt yourself one bit, or feel inferior to anyone.  You can see by now that there is nothing to have high insecurity or self-doubt about.  Try to turn the corner to focus on the many of life’s challenges, not just the frustration that you can’t do physically what you did in your 20’s. "

Simple words, but the part about insecurity and self-doubt really touched me. I do feel that this trip has helped a lot in terms of recognizing that there is a lot more to me than just being able or not able to climb, run etc. and having a disability. In some ways I did feel slightly inferior because of my physical limitations, but I don't think I feel that way anymore. Not to worry, I'm sure I'll find something else to feel insecure about :)

It was wonderful to see Heather in Reno yesterday. Heather was the first person to my hospital bedside in Reno, before my first surgeries and she had never seen me out of bed and upright before; so it was wonderful for both of us for me to swing my backpack onto my back, walk towards her and give her a big hug.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

An eventful Monday climbing

Met Clint at the Lembert Dome picnic area. Really glad that he drove up to climb and hang out with me. All the photos below are courtesy of Clint.

Started off on Golfers route on low profile dome...much longer and more runout than either of us remember. I was belaying Clint in the furnace so I was pretty dehydrated, sunburned etc by the time we were done there. No matter. We decide to do Holdless Horror on Dozier. Neither of us remembered the approach so there was a fair bit of bush whacking and we got a late start. Still a fair bit of snow at the base - alpine climbing! My energy level was very low and I was not at all psyched abt getting up this thing...but I thought, if Alex Honnold can do the Half Dome - el cap link up, I can stick it out for a couple of pitches.

First pitch. A snowy start.
The climb started off hot and blazing. I have ridiculous looking tan lines on my back as a result. Clint and I were not too psyched abt the second pitch where it gets a bit wide. There were ominous looking clouds in the distance and we saw rain to the north and heard the thunder.  At that point we decided it would be better to get higher up and then look for the rap route to the left of the climb. then we got hailed on. Then rained on, then the wind picked up. Wonderful. After some traversing and down climbing, we find the rap station. We descend as quickly as possible, down a bloody waterfall, wet ropes and all. Took at a couple of full rope length raps; I'm still not a huge fan of rapping. Or lowering. Pretty psyched to get out of my soaking wet shoes and shirt into my soaking wet approach shoes and jacket which had been left out of my pack in the open. More meandering through the forest for awhile before we get back to the car just before dark. Race to the Mobil station for a humungous bowl of veggie chilli (still cant believe I ate the whole thing, such a glutton). In short, awesome day :) I think clint and I are pretty good people to be around when climbing situations get a little iffy - I was glad to have him as my partner.

Days like that remind me how climbing combines so many different things to make it the ultimate activity/sport.

A long wet final rappel. Still not a huge fan of it.

At least we caught a double rainbow at the end. Notice the soaking wet pants, jacket and bloody knee. Good times.

First multi-pitch and lead post-accident

Did South Crack on Stately Pleasure Dome w/ Kent. The approach was a little tiring for me, and I was slow heading up and on the descent. Built my first natural anchor, hanging belay, and did my first lead. Good to get those fears out of the system. Kent was a wonderful partner - we had a lot of fun climbing and hanging out together. Made it to the Mobil station for dinner and some live music, then to Benton Hot Springs for a sunset soak, before heading back to 120 to spend the night off the road there. What a wonderful day.

Still had to get over the fear of leaning back on my anchor

Top of the climb

Leading. I sewed that crack shut.

First time in Tuolumne since accident

Wei came up for the day to climb in TM with me. The last time I had been to TM before my accident was with Wei too. I remember we had a great time climbing American Wet Dream and thrashing about on Galen's Crack. This time, our/my goals/expectations were significantly lower.

We started off on Puppy Dome and then climbed at Daff Dome. The approach and descent was quite difficult for me. I think it was the first time I really just enjoyed being outside and enjoying our surroundings and view, regardless of how shitty I was climbing.

Moving up the crack awkwardly

Fairview Dome across from us. One good looking dome.

Drove back to the Valley to have dinner with Kent. He had brought up all the vegetables, spices, grains to make a fantastic dinner, knowing that I did not have my usual cookware with me. We hung out around a fire, drinking wine and eating chocolate. A wonderful day.

An Eastside day

Went back to Rock Creek to hike to Ruby Lake. Still some snow at elevation. I was moving quite slowly today; my left leg tends to drag when it is tired and I was tripping a lot :(

I met Patrick and Holly, two of the people who helped with my evacuation the day of my accident. I didn't even know what they looked like and didn't know how our encounter would go. I didn't break down in tears or anything like that. It was just like hanging out w/ two fellow climbers. It was wonderful to be able to see them under better circumstances. Holly, in particular, asked very good, probing questions about dating, sex, etc. post-accident. We hung out at open-mic night at the Black Sheep coffee shop in Bishop. There were some, erm, interesting performances.

Patrick, it turns out, is a guitar and banjo player. Here he is performing w/ another local climber (Patrick is on the left playing the banjo). Ugh, trouble loading video.