Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Holidays and New Year!

I hope everyone is having a great holiday season. Looking back on the year I feel incredibly fortunate for all of the opportunities, experiences, people met, and just plain general fun I've had this year from my backyard to the other side of the world. Maybe it's my goal-oriented personality by I like this time of year to look back on the year past and ahead to new things yet to come.

Here's a short video I put together with some images from the past year... Enjoy!

Since I first traveled to Pakistan 2 years ago, I've received heart felt holiday cards from my friends over there. With so much negative news these days about the US's relationship with Pakistan, these cards are a wonderful reminder of the kindness I've experienced there. As my friend Kelly Cordes wrote about the same subject, how many cards have you sent for holidays completely separate and different from your own? How many totally foreign holidays are you even aware of? Thank you Ghulam and Ali Muhammad for your kind cards!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Game On!

There was a time not long ago that I couldn't wait for winter to begin. I would nab an ascent of the Black Dike as early as possible and even traveled to the Canadian Rockies several times to catch some Thanksgiving ice! In that last 4 years though I've stretched the rock climbing season as our east coast weather allows. This I traveled down to the Red River Gorge and the New River Gorge for most of November and left wanting more of that warm pocketed rock.

Then something clicks... I'm not sure what it is but every year all of a sudden I am psyched for winter. This year it was a photo posted online by my friend Eric Eisele of Cannon Cliff that sparked it. Out came the dusty ice tools and crampons, digging for warm layers that inevitably still have holes from last season. The whole process of packing for the first winter day out always takes twice as long.

Eric's shot of Cannon. Mean Streak starts with the pillar at the lower left corner
of the cliff line.

I left my house in Vermont at 5am and arrived in the Cannon parking lot a couple of hours later to meet Freddie Wilkinson and Bayard Russell. We had our eye on a route put up about 4 years ago by Will Mayo and Andy Tuthill called Mean Streak. Sure enough the 60 foot pillar at the start was in and the rest of the steep dry tooling, well it looked awesome. It was a great way to kick off the season!

Bayard styling the first pitch off the couch!

A short time-lapse that Freddie put together. More to come soon!