Over the past year, we have all ridden the wave of 2020 (and 2021!) and everything that has come with it. Perhaps a fitting end to the last presidency, this year seemed especially full of political turmoil, social unrest, and time spent in solitude. I don't think it was a good year for anyone and, for now at least, it seems far from over. Throughout all of this, however, life goes on and for those of us fortunate enough, we are still able to work and even play a little bit.
Here are some photos and words capturing some of my past year, working and playing.
Our spring began with a trip to the desert with some close friends. Normally crowded, the area was empty and we enjoyed entire walls to ourselves.
Back in Montana, winter still had it's icy grip on the mountains. We managed, however, to sneak in some rock climbing more and more as summer approached. Spring and fall climbing in Montana can be best, and Gallatin canyon provided. I managed an ascent of a route that I had tried numerous times over the years: Der Fruh-Lowe. I also started to project an old aid line in Clarks Fork, Waterline. With the help of many good friends, I fixed some lines and worked out critical bolt placements. Guiding soon took over for the summer and most days were spent locally, while a few great trips took us to the Winds, Yellowstone, and other nearby places.
The season ended abruptly with plans to hit the road towards Washington, but Waterline felt close and I hadn't gotten many chances over the summer to get back on it. I gave it several attempts with Jonah, coming close on the first difficult pitch, before we gave up. A few days later, Nic came down and we gave a well rested effort. I managed to fire the first hard pitch on the second go, then sent the rest of the route first try, despite having never linked the sequence on a higher boulder problem. We climbed the rest of the poorly protected upper pitches to the rim, likely making the 3rd full ascent of the climb in the 20 years since it had been established. Another memorable day in that magical place...
A topo for those interested. Please reach out for more beta!
Back on the road, Anju and I ventured to Washington to see some friends and climb. The weather had other plans and shifted the smoke to make the air less than desirable. After a few days near Leavenworth, we found ourselves on the coast, climbing near Anacortes. Eventually we made it to Index, one of my favorite cliffs! Once some rain cleared the smoke out, I took yet another AMGA course while Anju flew back to Bozeman for immigration meetings.
Soon we were headed South to Cali, stopping at the Promontory (a must visit crag) along the way. Some time was spent in Tahoe, Placerville, Yosemite, Santa Cruz, and finally Bishop for the next few weeks. We managed to escape the worst of the smoke, although it lingered throughout much of our stay. During this leg of our trip, a few routes in particular were highlights for me. Romulan Warbird and the Prow on Cardinal Pinnacle were two routes that I had been eyeing up for a while, so it was nice to climb these. I also got to put a couple of burns on yet another dream line, Ecstasy, but did not manage a send.
After the weather became too cold, we went even further South to the sandstone paradise of Red Rock. Here we spent a number of days climbing with friends on many classic lines. A few that stood out were: The Delicate Sound of Thunder, Strategic Arms, Stratocaster Direct, My Little Pony, The Velvet Tongue, Seduction Line and Jet Stream.
Two weeks of sunshine and red dirt was enough, so Anju and I drove the truck back North to Bozeman, selling the trusty camper on the day of our return. We kicked off our ice season and soon enough work was overwhelming between guiding and building a new Sprinter for a friend.
The winter passed by soon enough, with lots of guiding interspersed with hours at the shop and the occasional day spent with Anju on rock or ice. By February, I had completed yet another AMGA course and was wrapping up my Pro 2 avalanche course. The van was wrapped up soon after and work flow came to an end, allowing for a few more personal days. Late in the season, I managed to rope up with a friend, Manoah, on a route that he helped our friend Matt establish: The Rave. We climbed up to P6, the crux M10 cave before bailing mid pitch as the send psych had completely gone during this section. Not that long after, I climbed the Nutcracker for my final day on ice of the season. It was a fitting end, as it was one of the first routes I climbed this year too.
Now, Anju and I are packing up the truck for a road trip to the West coast. Hopefully this time I'll get around to making a post before the next year passes!