Wintertime in Squamish…
The trip to the Red has ended and I’ve been home for a week and a half. It is so so good to be home, as much as I enjoy being on the road, climbing full time, in a new destination. The trip was almost too well planned, with accommodation, transportation, friends, and amazing quality stone all on hand. Everyone got along despite the normal tensions of 8 grown ups (hahahahahahahahahahahahaha as if…) all living in a small cabin. Practical jokes flowed freely, coffee began around 5:30 am each day because of some hyperactive individuals, 100’s of pitches were climbed, many many Mexican meals were created and loads of chilis were chopped fresh, bottle upon bottle of hot sauce was emptied and many Miller’s were drained. It was so quiet and relaxed because not much else happens in this wet, rural part of Kentucky. I read 4 books, Filth by Irving Welsh being the most disgusting, the most irresistible. I read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, incredible that a 19 year old girl wrote such a tale or morality and good and evil in 1816! The climbing stood out because of the beauty of the stone and the sweeps of the many caves and overhung waves of Corbin Sandstone. Cliffs were nestled deep within dark, dripping carpets of deciduous trees and only announced their presence when you were standing beneath them staring straight at them. The real trip was sharing that cabin with the magic 8, climbing with friends like Sarah Hueniken, Tree, Evan, Jazz, Jan, Doug, Peter and most of all my partner in crime Mandoline Masse-Clark. Conversation, sharing meals, realizing the humor in the frustrations of climbing, being exhausted together, sleeping for 10 hours a night and doing all over again are what I’m going to remember for quite a while. Not this route or that, although Superslab stands alone.
I came back to Squamish and realized how totally unique this place is. What a home! What a place with magic! The community in Squamish is very different come the end days of October and through out the winter. There is a growing sense of community here as dirtbagging gives way to houses, condos, relationships, babies, jobs and things other than climbing, god forbid. I only needed a day out in the sub zero cold among the boulders in the North Walls with some new faces to remind me that climbing experiences are only as good as the people that share them. The Grandwall Bouldering Coop, the weight room and running around in the dark and snow is going to be my physical outlet over the coming months. Let’s hope for a few more dry days like the ones that got us out over the weekend. Only 23 days into November and we’ve already had a foot of snow wall, a windstorm and then a rainfall warning that erased almost all sign of that snow. I think this winter will combine the snow of 2010 with more days out on the stone.
I also came back to a Municipal Election, an event that I too often pass over without thinking. Not this year though. I put a bit of research in and with a friend, Jen, the morning of, we made our lists, debated points and rehashed our own political concerns. It was an interesting election for the fact that the choices spanned incumbents experienced in the game to friends I’ve enjoyed a beer with or climbed beside in the Smoke Bluffs. What’s wrong with choosing to vote for someone because they lack the official experience or education or lofty credentials of some of the more traditional choices?
In fact, perhaps they might have perspectives and motivation to work at ideas or solutions that others would drop as unrealistic, idealistic or a waste of time. In fact, the experience of getting elected into town council might provide powerful motivation to educate themselves on the processes and the issues, making them very effective local politicians. Maybe local politics doesn’t have to resemble it’s federal cousin, mired in bureaucracy and stagnation, and instead looks and sounds more like local people taking the reigns and giving direction to a town they love. Development, local businesses, incentives, funding, grants, environmental concerns, jobs, industry, the arts, tourism…the list goes on with areas that require attention and care, because there is someone who feels strongly about it. My choice for mayor didn’t make it, one of my Councillors made it and none of my school trustee choices made it but now I can complain and stay up on the issues because I voted. Mr. Audet, I voted for you, bummer you weren’t elected. It was a bold move on your part, I high five you for the effort. I hope that’s not the last we see of you in this arena.