becoming

Climbing hero Will Stanhope told me today that one of the best quotes he’s ever heard came from a Bob Dylan Documentary.  As one of the GREATEST singer/song writers to walk the planet, the narrator describes Bob as someone who is constantly creating, and always becoming.

The Trade Show in Salt Lake City was nice. I ended up renting a hybrid Toyota to get there, got over 50 mpg from SAC.  Sick.   Seeing my friends again was the highlight for me of course, but the downside, was witnessing the dreadful waste we created.

I had lunch in the convention center, pressed for time, a bad move on my part, and the food came in a thin, cheap, plastic container.  I used it for about 4 minutes, then needed to dispose of it,  arghhh!   There were thousands of other attendees at the show, and they too needed to eat.  I asked around where the recycling was, nobody had a clue.  Not even the organizers.  One chubby lady with a clipboard said to me, “there’s a trash can behind you”.  I looked at it, overflowing with 4 minute plastic.  In the end, I walked 5 minutes across the building to find a recycling bin, while passing about 10 trash cans along the way.

I should not be surprised, but I am, this is “THE” Outdoor Retailers Show, and these people should care about the planet, shouldn’t they?  After all, it’s our playground.  OR people are selling the latest adventure, the newest gadget, the greenest ideals, and yet nearly everybody still chooses convenience.  I wish we didn’t have to choose, I wish, what was right was always right before us.  We should be demanding recycling bins, at least.  We’d all like to do good things, but there’s a limit to how far we’ll go.   Apparently it’s 5 minutes.   What I learned (again) is that if you want to help people do good things, one must make doing good things easy.  We humans are far too lazy, too selfish and too shortsighted to do otherwise and that’s why our children will probably choke on our own plastic waste one day and die miserably.  Sorry about the rant, I’m just frustrated.

Back to Bob Dylan.  I decided not to buy myself a new van right away.  I held off my impulses to let my thoughts sink in, and I’ll hopefully make a wise decision later with less pressure.  How mature of me, ha ha ha.  Douche.  In the meantime, I jumped in the Big Willy Wagon with a six pack of Sierra Nevada’s and we’re now in sunny Moab, Utah.   The idea of “becoming” came up during the drive down to the Creek this morning.   I lured Will into a trip here because of some projects I had seen years ago.  I convinced Lydia to check them out with me this fall, but it was too cold to climb on them.  So I took some snaps to remember them by and we went home.  Below, are the pictures I took that convinced Will to tag along on the First Ascent Mission Expedition, Indian Creek.   January, 2011.

I fuggin LOVE new routes, I’m not always looking for the hardest ones, although I probably should be if I want to continue being a sponsored climber.  But shit, what’s wrong with just climbing something beautiful, if it’s hard, it’s a bonus?  Every new line we  climb as a collective is a rare gift, no matter the number attached to it, and that’s what being here now is all about.

I didn’t have to drag Will to the wall today, which took over an hour to hike to, he practically skipped.  With nothing to warm up on, I aid climbed the first of two cracks I found and set up a TR.  After one inspection each, we pulled the rope and grunted through thuggy ringlocks on our way to the top, both on our first redpoint attempts.  Stoked.  For me, it’s about the excitement that comes from the unknown of a virgin wall and sharing that experience with a good friend.  It’s about imagination and becoming.

The big star is out this week, the atmosphere is favorably blue, and there’s another FA we’d like to try tomorrow and perhaps another after that.  Someone once told me that creating a new route is like bringing it to life – I thought about that for a while and decided it was the opposite for me – it is the routes themselves, which bring US to life.

L’il Lydia bundling up after a second squall swept in and chased us away back in November.

The wall from the steep hillside, a very foreshortened view, but you get the idea.

Splitter choss.  That finger seam on the upper half is about 50 feet at least.

This was the climb we did yesterday.  It don’t get much better than this.  Rattly fingers, ring locks and a footless bulge to overcome on bullet windgate.

  • I was kind of surprised by the lack of recycling options too with plastic cups and glass bottles everywhere. Weird.

    Either way, it was good to connect with you. Have fun in the Creek!

  • Amanda

    Wow, that’s really surprising and disgusting to hear that the OR show didn’t provide recycling in the cafeteria. I hope you sent someone at OR a link to this blog post. With companies like Patagonia with the mission statement “…cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis” exhibiting at OR, one would think there would be enough pressure on the organizers to provide basic recycling facilities.

  • Damn those lines are gorgeous! Did you guys name them? And I’m curious, why you didn’t go for the onsight lead? Was it because there were no warms ups, or it was dirty, or you just didn’t feel like it? Obviously I don’t mean this critically at all, I’ve never even done a new route, but was just wondering.

  • I really enjoy reading your blog Sonnie. Your ideas are refreshing and simply down to earth, and your pictures bring life to your adventures. Thanks for the updates, give Lydia a hug for me next time you see her.

  • You shouldn’t apologize for the rant. If ever there is to be change, it will only be because of those pioneers such as yourself who are not afraid to blaze new trails and ascend new heights. Much appreciated man.

  • Splitter choss indeed! Looks like some fun new stuff. The whole OR show is an exercise in hypocrisy when it comes to being environmentally conscious. Let’s fly/drive/ship a bunch of crap and people to a location in the middle of the county and then talk about how “green” all our products are. Right…

  • Sonnie

    First, thanks for reading this massive entry above, I hadn’t realized how lengthy it was until I posted it. Ooops.

    Narc, so great meeting you too man, keep up the good work, climbers need you. Gabe, I will do, cheers and thanks:) Amanda, I’ll be sending a letter soon to whomever needs to read it, trying to increase the amount of recycling options, but we can’t blame the retailers to soon as a collective, they likely don’t make the decisions at these events, at least not yet, and certainly not alone, but we can pressure them, and things will improve. But sadly, this is a small model of what’s happening all over our continent. Cole, thanks for appreciating their beauty, I thought the same as you. Trust me, on any other day we would have just given er shit, but it was freezing cold, we were in the shade and knee deep in snow and there was nada to warm up on in the area. The line was perfectly clean, but it was more important for us to have some fun, stay warm and to make sure we open the climb rather than pressure ourselves with style. However, I encourage you to come down and make the first OS. You’ll love it. I promise:)

  • kevin

    what buttress is the new line on?

  • Sonnie

    Kevin, not sure it has a name. It’s back behind the ‘Cliffs of Insanity’, to the right of ‘The Wall’, a ways back there. 1 hour walk or 4×4 required. We dubbed it ‘Beyond Insanity Wall’ – it may be in the guidebook, we just don’t have one, so your guess is as good as ours. Best o luck.

  • Rob

    Dude I totally agree with you on your rant. However, I can remember one of my friends saying that there are some cities that separate the recyclable stuff from the non-recyclable stuff at the plant or whatever. Don’t know if SLC is one of them. But here in TX it’s hard to find recycling cans anywhere and there is gross litter almost everywhere you look. I feel like sometimes people take the land for granted… we’ll all pay someday for it too.

    Anyway the roots look great. I would ask what they go at but I kinda want to find out myself.

  • Rob

    Dude I totally agree with you on your rant. However, I can remember one of my friends saying that there are some cities that separate the recyclable stuff from the non-recyclable stuff at the plant or whatever. Don’t know if SLC is one of them. But here in TX it’s hard to find recycling cans anywhere and there is gross litter almost everywhere you look. I feel like sometimes people take the land for granted… we’ll all pay someday for it too.

    Anyway the roots look great. I would ask what they go at but I kinda want to find out myself.