I’ve been in the Red River Gorge for 2 weeks now, and experienced every kind of weather. From sunny warm days to torrential downpours to frigid and snowy. That’s what it’s like down here – a crap shoot. I feel fortunate to have had some really awesome days of climbing and although I probably wont have time to send any of my projects; I have some nice routes to return to next year. Tomorrow is my last day of climbing before heading back to Boulder, and then I’m off to Mexico for an Athlete Summit with The North Face.
Me on Transworld Depravity (photo courtesy of www.joekindkid.com)
condensing rock = worst case scenario
I’m staying in a house with several other climbers, some old friends of mine and others acquaintances who I’ve grown to know in the past few weeks. Joe Kinder, Colette McInerney, Andy Mann, Sheyna Button, Jonathan Seigrist, Marisa Aragon-Ware, Scott Milton, and Dave Graham – all together, living under the same roof, sharing a kitchen and a single bathroom. The dynamic of such a living situation, although exasperating at times, has been high energy and enjoyable. I recently contemplated this idea with Joe and Colette. The climbing life is unique in this way. How often does it happen where nine different personalities, some of them strangers, are thrown together in one house to live and tolerate one another? I can only think of examples on TV. Thankfully, our experience didn’t turn out like the Kentucky version of Jersey Shore or Bad Girls Club.
The Pig Sticker! Good thing no one got on my nerves. (photo courtesy of www.joekindkid.com)
Kentucky Joe Haynes taught us all the safe way to play with guns.
I’ve had the pleasure in the past week to climb with Dave Graham. I’ve known Dave for over 10 years, and have hung out with him quite a bit recently in China and at other events, but I rarely do I get the chance to climb with him one on one. Most everyone knows how good of a climber Dave is, but I’ve never fully appreciated his approach toward climbing before. Dave is one of the most intelligent and energetic people I know, and at times his mind seems to be firing at speeds faster than I can follow. As a result, his thoughts come pouring out in a flood of words and phrases, sometimes in different languages and accents. It can be hard to follow his train of thought, and it’s easy to get lost in the tangents. On the flip side, this makes him a highly engaging and entertaining person to be around.
Dave with his new Hot Topic Rewards card. He loves that place.
Dave is one of those individuals who doesn’t train for climbing. He doesn’t believe in it. Instead, he believes in his own creativity and self-expression, and it’s evident when he climbs. He never stops believing in his ability to do a move or complete a route. “I just have to find my way!” He would shriek after finding that a certain body position or sequence wasn’t working. Inevitably, he would find something that worked for him.
I always think of my climbing in terms of whether I’m “fit” or not. If I’ve been training hard, eating right, and getting enough sleep, then I believe I should be climbing well. If not, then my confidence suffers and so does my climbing. I’m beginning to think that this idea is flawed, and that although some of these elements are necessary to perform well (and live a healthy life), it doesn’t always have to be this perfect combination. As Dave has shown me, sometimes using your mind is more important than everything else.
Here are some more photos from the past few weeks:
Joelette. Check out Colette’s mom headband!
Colette ninja kicking Joe. The only violent occurrence of the whole trip.
Two perspectives outside my bedroom window.
A particularly intense and stressful Jenga tournament. Lev HATES Jenga so much now.
Neal Sipahimalani coming heartbreakingly close to sending Lucifer. Do it this weekend dude!
Bright orange lizard at the Motherlode
A Kentucky sunset.
Kentucky Joe Haynes. He loves camo, really.
Dave and the fire. We got really into building fires.
And chopping wood.
And shopping at Hot Topic.
Colette taking a photo. I’m so artsy!
View from the Natural Bridge
Lev Pinter working on his property.
Lev’s oil rig (He’s so American)