Oct 2011. The Endless Summer is a CLASSIC surf film of the 1970’s, the name says it all – chasing waves, bikinis, and that golden kissed skin, barrel after barrel, day after day, for all eternity.
But for a climber, I mean, a real down deep in the guts type of climber with scars on their knuckles, an ache in their elbow and dirt under their skin, October might be a more appropriate month. The nights are cool which provide a most satisfying sleep, (ideally snuggled up to a loved one) but sometimes a grumpy and disheveled big wall partner will have to do. The days are bright, often sunny with the occasional shower and crisp, nearly to the point of numbing tips.
Fact: On days like these, the body can perform at a higher level, the heat won’t melt away our mojo, or our skin for that matter. On the flipside, the cold won’t chatter away our reserves into a blue lipped oblivion. These are the days that attract climbers from all over the globe to climb in Yosemite National Park every year. And this season, I am no exception.
Rain falls today, but the forecast is calling for sun, and lots of it. Egg yokes across the board. I’m here with fellow Canadian Will Stanhope. Willy is a comedian trapped in a climbers body. He has a deep obsession for climbing, and a nearly fearless approach to it, but he’ll never stop cracking jokes. His steel fingers dig deep when they need to, and his light frame and long arms only help the cause of getting up fierce cliffs with quickness and control.
“Life is too important to be taken seriously” he’ll say, over a smoky flavored scotch.
We are here to try our luck on El Capitan, my first time ever. Inspired by Leo Houlding’s 9 year quest to free one of the most amazing new routes the World has ever seen, Willy and I have chosen to inspect The Prophet 5.13d, as a potential route for us. Unfortunately, the day we arrived a cold black cloud engulfed the Valley and left everyone running for a warm place to hide. Tomorrow is a new day, clear skies and 60 degrees. I have my bag packed, and my fingers crossed.
I hope October never ends.
NOTE: The above is NOT my picture.