Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Darkness slowly washes away the beautiful, rugged sunset. We linger on the summit, staring into stacks of black, cutter ridges. Here, in this moment, I feel like my climbing truly means something. I glance over at Cole and sense that he is navigating through similar thoughts. The memories start to flood my mind... Epic journies on city buses and bikes to reach the local sport crag. Falling off chossy problems onto homemade crash pads. Cheering each other on at junior competitions. Early road trips to Smith Rock. Sharing the buzz of seeing El Cap for the first time. Endless wandering through Washington's deserts in search of anything worth climbing. Tears and laughter. Tough times and brilliant moments...the list goes on. For twelve years we have fed off each other's motivation and passion. We've never bailed, decided to take it easy, or hit snooze on the alarm. Never. On this day we punched out three amazing alpine towers. Our movement was continuous and methodical. We tiptoed across run out slabs, dangled wildly from bombay chimneys, peeled back cuticles jamming thin cracks, and fought the pump on a difficult boulder problem late in the day. For us, free climbing these three spires had been a long time goal. Now, at the end of our mission, "free and in a day" seems a silly way to measure success. Our lasting friendship is what amazes me most and as we descend a sharp ridge suspended among the stars, I quietly wonder what adventures are to come.