Guiding, Teaching, Climbing, Learning

Where has the Summer gone? A Wrap UP!

August 23 2012. The days have been flying by, and pages of the calendar getting ripped off like toilet paper. Guiding has picked up to the point that I was just desperately hoping for a rain day, a no show or a silent moment from my cell phone. Arg, sore shoulders from coiling ropes, belaying off the anchor and heavy winching times. Summer is usually the time of intense socializing as well, but this has not been the case. Sometimes avoiding the endless nights of bbq’ing, cocktails and drinks and just having dinner with a beautiful lady and getting some sleep is the plan.

October 12 2012 – Hhaaha, how fateful those words above were. More than a month has passed and the work didn’t cease, the sun shone down for weeks and weeks and weeks, the school year began, the body stayed sore and tired from endless guiding days. The weather has been the best of the best for weeks now, cool mornings, warm and climbable in the sun and dry like I’ve never seen it. The trails are powder lines and by the end of each day your nose, ears and throat are filled with dust like a proper desert day.  The guiding season was the busiest I’ve ever worked, with some great days on multipitches like The White Feather and Photophobia and days spent coaching and teaching with Sonnie Trotter and Jamie Selda in our Stone Master Crack Clinics.

However, a rest was lurking just ahead, out of my sight. In September, stepping out of my Van to begin a guiding day I suddenly lost control of my mouth and speech. A stroke, an ambulance ride to Vancouver and a week’s stay in VGH, a battery of tests from a UFO abduction film produced some odd details and a big question mark. The speech deficit returned in a day but no concrete reason materialized as to why a 36 year old athlete who has never smoked or drank overly much, who runs and watches their diet, who climbs as much as possible and generally tries to not take their body for granted would have a stroke. Connections to childhood heart surgery were made but I’m left taking a baby Aspirin a day and wondering what will happen at the cardiologists appointment I have in a few weeks. Winter heart surgery perhaps, but for now I keep running and try to take advantage of this incredible extension we were given to our summer. Things happen, enjoy the moments as you can’t plan out your experiences and paths.

Climbing has been incredible this summer, with so many highs in my season that I’m left unsure where to go next and exploring a few different options. The ascent of Freerider in the Spring catapulted me into a confused zone of what’s next? What could feel like that? Ahh that stone, those moves, those features and the high you get from climbing on a wall for days with nothing in your mind but the meal ahead, the water you’re about to drink, the jokes with your Bud and the next pitch you don’t want to screw up. Intense. You can’t put a price on morale so the shift became one to single pitch new route exploring, hunting for new lines in Squamish. This summer was unprecedented in the amount of quality new areas springing up, new lines being cleaned and cleaned off and the sheer number of difficult Crack lines springing up out of the moss. Two whole new crags were developed in Squamish featuring steep 5.11 and up crack climbing and the Prow Wall on the Chief is literally groaning now under the weight of the new lines that appeared on that shield high up on the second peak. Skycragging is a term that was probably coined in Squamish. The idea of sessioning single and small multipitch routes high off terra firma is a new norm for Squamish rock climbing. The Quercus Wall alone gave many climbers weeks of onsighting and redpointing on the lost satellite of Petrifying Wall. Some highlight lines – The Shapeshifter, The Crosmanaut, The Man From Delmonte, Trippet Out, Handslaughter, Feed Your Monkey(Horne Lake), Safe As Milk and Speechless stood out, embossed in gold. This morning was the very very first morning I woke to rain in weeks and it was welcome, if reluctantly. It’s time to shift gears and work in schools with kids now, shifting climbing to something purely personal now. No Fall trips are on the horizon, a sad thought, but learning more about my heart and how it might get repaired seems a tad more important right now, a real reshuffling of priorities. Squamish has lost a lot of it’s community this Fall to roadtrips, you all know who you are and I hope everyone has incredible times. The gang in Yosemite especially, you all are where I want to be.

I’ll leave you with the only pic I have of the Season’s capers – Speechless. I tried to get some photos but it never seemed to work out so all I have is a view from the bottom when it still had it’s fixed line on it. Hopefully Fall holds dry rock, trips to Horne Lake and maybe a rare sighting of a Narwhal? Enjoy…

High up on The Prow Wall.


One response

  1. Barbara

    Hi Jeremy !
    I found your blog some time ago and always enjoy reading something about your climbing adventures. Now such scary news about the stroke. I hope you are all well and fully recovered now.
    Take care !

    November 8, 2012 at 9:07 am

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