Serenade

She plays, I sing. We had an epic karaoke session at home on Christmas. My daughter wanted me to sing this one, but I couldn’t remember the tune. She just learned how to play Havana is now learning this song, Girls Like You by Maroon 5.

“Spent 24 hours I need more hours with you…”
Havana, ooh na-na (ay)

Gravity

Alpinism has a gravity to it. If left unchecked it will pull you all the way in. Sometimes it’s for sharing, sometimes not. Climbing ice demands balance. Two sticks, check your feet. Commit. Find the edge, hold a single crampon point on a dime edge, press. Commit.

I thought a lot about partners this trip. Specifically about how to be a good partner. Good partners pull their weight. If you’re setting an anchor, moving to another spot and your partner offers to re-rig, you move all the packs. A good partner is on time. A good partner does what they say they’re going to do. A good partner offers to belay even if it’s not their turn in the cycle. A good partner knows when to tell a story and when to stay quiet.

When I climb ice everything fades to the background and I’m in a complete flow state. I love the creativity of ice pitches, more than rock it offers limitless options for upward movement. There’s a style to it. It’s where I’m most comfortable.

I love the different textures of ice: frozen neve, wet ice, still forming chandeliers, feeling the bonds between rock and ice through my tools. A delicate placement here or the solid thunk of a well placed pick.

I flew into Denver from Portland on Saturday afternoon, picked up the rental and started the drive to Ouray. I got to Montrose around 10:30pm and the thought of sleeping in the car and suiting up to climb in the dark and cold lost all its appeal and I checked into a motel. I was able to get a good nights sleep, repack my climbing gear, make lunch and boil water for tea for the day.

I texted my partner for the day, a climber I met on Mountain Project to let him know I was about 45 minutes out and en route to the warming hut in the park. Thumbs up, the plan is in motion. When I walked outside I paused slightly when I saw the car was covered in snow and heavy snow was falling I had no idea if the road to Ouray was going to be plowed or not at 6am.

We climbed from 8am until the park closed at 3:30, and then repeated the same the next day for 2 full days. I lost track of how many pitches we climbed. We TR’s some excellent mixed pitches – there’s nothing like the feeling of torquing a pick into a crack or stepping up on a single crampon point on an edge. The last pitch of the last day I climbed up and out with my pack on. I had forgotten what it’s like to climb steep ice with a pack. It takes a bit more effort.

A good trip this week. I’m leaving Ouray tired and satisfied. 2 full work days in Boulder and then back to Portland and my girls.

Pace

Stellar 10 miler today. Not my fastest, but I maintained a steady-state pace with a few random intervals thrown in for the entire run. Consistently around 7:40/mile with a dip into the 8:00 +/mile on the last 2 climbs around miles 8-9. Definitely had more left at the end and felt great. My focus was on form, keeping my hips underneath me and keeping my head slightly forward with my chin low. I also concentrated on pressure breathing – forceful exhales and deliberate inhales.

I ran 3 days during the work week this week, the last on Friday when I tweaked my lower soleus. I was in a flow state working with my desk lowered (not standing) and then quickly changed and took off with a couple of work colleagues. I think the tweak is attributed to just sitting, then quickly running without stretching or warming up. I rested it on Saturday, it felt better on Sunday – then felt much better when I started moving at the start of the 10 miler today. 

This year I’ve been running with my watch flipped around on my wrist quite a bit – recording the run but not paying any attention to pace. Today I kept it up where I could see it and tried to press a little harder if it started to drop below 7:50. 

I’m beginning to realizing I need to be in the gym more to prep for climbing season. As with earlier in 2018, I’ll need to reduce running mileage and throw in more time in the weight room. There is nothing that helps climbing mountains other than climbing mountains and lifting weights.

This was my interval jam today (wait for the drop):

Yes!

In the celebrating wins category, a colleague recently paid me a huge compliment. I won’t go into the specifics, but it was something I devoted a lot of time and effort to making sure met with success.

Ideas are cheap, execution is everything. 

Chris Sacca

This was a big system problem with a lot of detail and a lot of things that could have gone sideways. Something that impacted a lot of people. From concept to design to execution to communication, I worried the details.

He said that he felt like he was arriving into a city on a flight and I was the pilot, explaining that the plane was x miles out; relaying the temperature and forecast.  Tray tables up, seat belts fastened, seats upright. Attendants take your seats. Smooth landing. Thanks for flying with Chris Airlines.

Yes! Sometimes things go right.

Some nights I stay up cashing in my bad luck, some nights I call it a draw. Some nights I wish that my lips could build a castle, some nights I wish they’d just fall off.

fun.