Saturday, November 18, 2017

Where has the time gone?

Almost Thanksgiving already, and somehow I haven't posted on here since February.  In fact, I started writing this over a month ago and am just now getting around to finishing it!  Partially it was the fact that other obsessions led me to spend far less time on the computer than usual, which isn't really a bad thing.  Specifically, I've been making it a point to read new books this year (14 so far!) instead of just reading the same Tolkien stories over and over, as well as playing a ton of fiddle.


I actually did do less climbing this past spring than I wanted to though, continuing struggle with back injuries that I later found out were due to having two bulging disks in my lower spine.  The good news is that stretching, PT, and changing how I do many basic motions throughout my day has made a huge difference for me, so I feel like this winter I'll finally be able to get my climbing back on track.  I've even been able to start getting out on several of the overhung boulders that I had resigned myself to never being able to touch without injury, and it's brought a whole new level of excitement for me.  I'm not an old man yet!

So what else has my year brought?  Well, two big trips to start with.  In the spring I spent a fantastic week visiting my mother-in-law in Vietnam, which had hands down the most welcoming people I've ever met while traveling, as well as some of the best food.


This summer I had planned to roadtrip out west and eventually join friends in Squamish, and then they decided to go climb for two weeks in France and Switzerland instead.  So across the ocean I went!


Other than that, I've just been putting in a bunch of training time at the gym and then getting out locally whenever I can.  Back in March I got Taimur out for a tour of Bushwhack, where we knocked out the short slab that had shut a bunch of us down a couple years ago.  It was crazy to see how easily he smeared up in his Agros when my old Miuras had always greased right off, but with my own pair not arriving until the next day, I managed to find an edgier way to the top in my Shamans.


Last weekend I went back out with Indy and Rob, where among other things we dropped a rope so Rob could enjoy the slabby glory of Nine and Three Quarters without worrying about the backbreaking fall.

                                   Photo by Mark 'Indy" Kochte

I've started getting out to Catoctin/Cunningham a little more, and have been especially happy that my back has been able to handle the steepness of the Jonah boulder.  While it hasn't quite felt ready for the first move of Never Let Me Go, it's held up nicely for Baron Harkonen and a couple of fun variations.

                                                              Photo by John Brunson

As usual in the Fall, I've also been making some after work trips to Northwest Branch, running through my usual circuits and especially happy to find all of the holds on Seam Nightmares finally useable again.


And with perfect diabase temperatures setting in, of course I've been making the trip up to Gretna whenever I can.  So far I haven't done anything too exciting, but my back has finally been feeling good enough to try Equilateral, although I was so tired that I peeled off the last move by the time I had worked out my sequence for the rest of it.  Guess that just means I'll enjoy it even more when I do top it out.

                                                                                       Photo by Mark Profeta
Until next time!

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Brian Malone said...
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