Yesterday was my last official day at the Red, bummer. The air was just starting to dry out and although it’s still 85 degree’s here – it’s better than 75 and humid. The grip is tighter. I’m sad to say I missed seeing a whole whack of my Ontario friends who were down for the weekend, but that’s life, can’t win ’em all I guess, I’ll see them again soon. To the ones I did see, it was great and thanks for taking the time to catch up a little. There is still a small whole in my life where the people I learned to climb with are missing, call me a nostaligic little bitch, but I get all weepy when I think of Lions Head and the late nights at Joe Rockheads. I did however get to party with Dario and friends. The first time I met the big D was in the spring of 1996, 12.5 years, he was 13 years old, the same age Mark his little brother is now. Crazy. Man I am getting old. I can’t believe I still remember the love shack and the Lexington Crack Shack and the crux moves on Convicted. Although I forgot the knee bar. DOH! A little has changed, but its still got all the same charm it’s always had, and that same shade of red leaves, red necks and red finger tips. I love it and vow to return for a longer visit next year. I must. Without the red, I feel like an alcoholic with an empty bottle.
Yesterday was the day of clinics. Many of us took out a group of motivated climbers to the crags and taught them to the best of our ability and resources, safety tips, photography tips trad climbing, rappelling, technique, and all that stuff you just can’t learn in a book. The best clinics are run by guys like Peter Croft and Tommy Caldwell the ones who have years and miles of experience. They don’t just teach, the tell stories. Like the time Peter was free soloing in Yosemite and it got dark on him. He started to solo back down this 5.10 offwidth when he suddenly realized his knee was stuck. Night fell and he fought with his bloody leg for an hour. Finally he realized that he needed to climb up about 50 feet for it to be able to slide out. Moral of the story? – There’s only one Peter Croft.
At the end of the clinic I met up with Cedar Wright for a session at the Mother Load. I tried this 5.14 a few times and decided to wait until the end of the day (after it baked in direct sunlight to give it a redpoint try) I fought hard through every crux and finally my ass sagged on the last hard move and I could not recover, tips ripping off the jug and my heart sinking into my stomach with a 40 footer. But the fun was in the trying, not in the doing. If I had stuck the move, I’d be happy, but I was equally as happy not sticking the move. I tried hard, I grunted, I squeezed, I wheezed and I screamed. And when I faced the moment of truth, not knowing what the outcome might be, that was when I was the most excited, the real fun begins when you just don’t know what comes next.