For some strange reason!

Oddly enough, while I am here in India sitting in 36 degree heat drinking sweet lassi's and bouldering with the setting sun, I am still inspired by the mountain masters.  Those bitchin hard men who put most of it on the line, for the line.  That loose frozen snow covered limestone of the Canadian Rockies is a mystery to me, and as much as I am curious about the art of alpinism, I am also far too addicted to warm weather rocks to find out what all the fuss is about.  Don't get me wrong I enjoy good ol' Rock Alpine, the kind of climbing that invloves 20-30 feet of snow traversing to gain a 2000 foot granite spire in mid summer. This I can, will and do participate in, but the mixed climbing of scary shafts in bleak minus 20 degree weather while hauling small packs of emergency gear and ice tools just doesn't appeal to me, not yet at least.  All the more reason for me to be in awe of the men and women who are.  I stumbled upon this article on and can't help but feel excited for them.  I can almost see the attraction, the pictures are rad and it seems like a great way to have an adventure, not too far from home.  Congratulations to Rob, Steve, John, Ammon, Rapheal and the rest of the friends keeping the fire piping hot.  For some radical pics and a good story check out these links…

Also, congrats to Mike Doyle for sending the Mandala V12/13.  One of the proudest lines in North America for certain, and although it has now seen hundreds of ascents and most recently an ascent by the beautiful and talented Lisa Rands it is still a dream line and a fine accomplishment. I would like very much to stand atop this block.  Earlier the 'way too strong' McColl did the sit start (i think) bumping the grade up to V13/14.  Shit man, I don't even want to know what that feels like.  Razor blades on the tips.  Perhaps as climbers we all deal with a bit of pain, perhaps that is what seperates our great acheivements from the good acheivements, the ability to deal with a little pain and discomfort, from high mountains, to sit down starts, to painful locks on steep cracks.  Pain needs to be enjoyed or ignored, even if just a little bit.  We climbers are sick individuals.

Today was a rest day in Hampi, everyone here is feeling under the weather, a cold that has been passed around has found its way into my system and it sucks.  Lot's of sleep, ginger lemon tea and reading.  I am reading 'A walk into the woods', by Bill Bryson, a truly funny story about an unhardened man and his friend Katz in search of adventure on the Appalachian Trail.  If you get a chance pick it up, it will have you in stiches.

Also, and I am not sure exactly why I am sharing this information, but recently CBC asked me to participate on the Television show, "Test the Nation"  I have never heard of this before and it sounded interesting.  I looked into it and discovered that it's a show where they gather a group of people from all over Canada, whether they be artist, cheer leaders, doctors, lawyers, bus drivers or extreme athletes and they test them with skillful questions about the world we live in.  Sure, it's all in good fun. "Over one million viewers" was the catch phrase to lure in the talent.  But after deeper consideration I was compelled to decline the offer. I hate being on camera, pictures are one thing, but on video I usually shy away and crumple into the corner sucking on my thumb.  In addition to this, I am not a big fan of TV (apart from the Simpsons), especially game shows, so I didn't feel a connection to it's purpose.  I think people should only do what they love and the rest will fall into place.  So I won't be flying to Toronto on March 28th, but perhaps I will try and tune into the network when it comes to air, just to see what sort of action I missed.  Hopefully it won't be much.

With that being said, I hope everyone is doing exactly what they want to be doing today, we only get one spin on this dustball and we may as make it count.  Being sick is hard for me, I want so badly to go exlpore the '90 degree arete', which is a 7a that hovers around 12-14 feet high, it's a perfect corner with crimps and smears, but I know that if I go out, I wil only be set back another day.  I better go back to bed and tear into my Bryson book.  If you can and are able, go outside today get some fresh air and do something interesting, for all of us sick folk who wish we could.  Sniff sniff.


  • Suzanne

    Get well soon, a cold/any virus sucks.

    Another good book to read: The innocent man, John Grisham, though it likely will not make you laugh.

  • Hey Sonnie,

    Gotta say I love your blog man. I’ve been climbing for nearly 10 years and learned climbing seeing you, Chris, Dave, Dean, Tommy, and bunch of others do and say things that made me grow and love the lifestyle of climbing even more. I’m your age and kinda followed the same path as yours, going from bumbling, “are you sure that thing is gonna hold me, Oh shit” top-roper to now spending my summer months in the Valley, Tuolomne, RMNP, and the high Sierras. I still love playing on the little stones, sending that radical looking bolted line at the New, but more often than not, I like pulling out that rack and going for something epic, something big. Last year, me and my buddy freed the Harding Route on Mt. Conness. Damn, that was a great experience. Hopefully, this summer we will tick most of the Reg. Route on Half Dome free and climb other cool lines in Cali. Cheers to a great blog and for making average fellas like myself fantasize about big adventures in the mountains, or rad sends on smaller lines at the local crag, hell, even making a tree climbing circuit on the local trail. By the way if you’re ever near DC I know of a great (spliiiiitttter), as good as anything in the Valley or the Creek, crack that goes at 13b at Old Rag, VA. Could be a great line to onsight, redpoint, get back in shape on, whatever. Many other good single pitch cracks there as well. Let me know if you’re ever interested.

    i swear I’m not a stalker, I’m just bored at work and jonesing on climbing. 🙂

  • Ellian

    Still enjoying your philosophies on life from back here on the Rainy Beautiful westcoast – I was in India last year for four months, traversing the Himalayan ranges in the North – which I hear is pretty different – pretty breathtaking too =0) Anyways, just thought I’d mention that if you ever need good listening for a long bus journey the BILL BRYSON tapes (available on itunes and other places) are absolutely side splitting – all of them. He narrates them himself, and not only do they include all his books, but alot of collections of articles he wrote for various newspapers too – perfect for those long ‘comfortable’ Indian bus journeys! – keep up the love of life -in the mean time we’ll be doing it back here =0) in fact I’m going to go for a run through this beautiful rainstorm right now and watch the breakers take their temper out on the endlessly striving sands – peace – ellian

  • sonnie

    Hey Guys,

    Thanks for the get wells and kind words, and the book recommendations too.

    Munky, yah, sure you’re not a stalker. Whatever you say sport!

    I’m joking of course, I truly welcome your comments, I get a lot more emails than I do comments and I too send out a good tally of letters, often to people I’ve never met. It’s a great way to meet people, and interact, that, I suppose is the whole reason for doing all this, meeting interesting people from places you’d never otherwise meet, and of course, to share stories, inspiration and beta. I can’t say whether I’ll be in DC anytime soon, but when I am, I’ll give ya a hollar. Until then, thanks for the note, and don’t work too hard.


    Good tips. I’ve done the Grisham on tape before driving through Colorado. But on this trip, I left behind any sort of music device. It’s funny to see how many cell phones they got here and ipods too. As much as I’m glad to be gimmick free, I miss my music collection. Also, reading is really good for my brain, if I don’t stimulate the cells, I will certainly grow a lot dumber than I already am (impossible to believe I know) but it’s happened before. Smirk.

  • sonnie

    P.S. For other interesting climbing blogs, check out Chris Lindner (supermodel/surfer/5.14 machine), Dave Macleod(climbing coach, super nice guy and international headpoint madness), Mike Doyle(who, with his girlfriend are on a year long round the world roadtrip) , Jamie Chong(who keeps it real in Vancouver and Hueco tanks alike), Katie Brown(no introduction required, but writes with a brilliant flare and strolls up 5.13 cracks of any size during her spare time). All good stuff. Cheers.