June 18, 2009

Squamdog

Paul Mcsorely reaching for a hold that nobody ever uses on Flight of the Challenger (12c) at the Pet Wall. Apparently, when you are strong like bull, you can pull off nothing. Will Stanhope took a rest day from sessioning the Cobra Crack to hang from the top and shoot. This is probably the coolest crack I have ever climbed.

Just got back to Canmore after a few days climbing and hanging with friends in Squamish. The change of scenery was just what a brother needed after a long stint in the Rockies. The granite was pretty good too.

Jasmin Caton egypting on Vital Transformation (12c). Like Jasmin, the crack is hard and beautiful. Unlike Jasmin, the crack is really effin painful.

Will Stanhope one falling the Cobra Crack. If I didn't know better, I would have wanted to try this after watching Will almost float the thing. That said, it is probably the hardest crack climb in the world. If you look close, you can see Will throwing down some pretty rugged hand and finger work.

The happy couple Will and Jason.

The lake at Murrin Park has looked a little spooky ever since a truck rolled on HWY 99 and spilled oil in to the water.

While out on the coast, I learned of the deaths of Jonny, Micah and Wade. The team was climbing in China and was probably hit by an avalanche. I didn't know the guys well but we did share some close mutual friends. Over the years, I'd heard and read a lot about Jonny's adventures. The guy charged hard but also had the rare ability to capture the experience in thought, words and film. It's a tough thing to do and Jonny did it well.

Everyone knows the risks and everyone knows it's dangerous. But unlike most people, alpinists see the risk not so much as an opportunity for loss, but ultimately, as an opportunity for gain. What is there to be gained from walking hand in hand with Death on a beautiful rock spire in the middle of the Asian nowhere? For most, probably nothing. For some like Jonny, Micah and Wade, enough to risk their lives for. "Regardless of the outcome," says Jonny in his movie Long Ways, "There is always something valuable you take home that makes the rest of life much more rich."

Take 10 minutes and watch Jonny's movie below. About 1 minute in, Jonny asks, "What is it that's calling you? How are you gonna get there? What's it gonna take?" Simple questions. Hard answers. Micah's line about wearing "yamakas bigger than this bivy" is pretty profound as well.


RIP Jonny, Micah and Wade.

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