Sometimes lemonade can be so sweet

Back to the blogging world…we’ll see how long it sticks this time.  🙂 I have really enjoyed reading other climbers’ blogs recently, and it’s definitely helped increase my psyche for climbing and life. So, in an effort to add even more stoke to the fire, I thought I might put some of my recent thoughts out on the interwebs as well.

Climbing continues to be an amazing teacher, and it’s taught me some real nuggets of wisdom lately. I’ve been attempting to rest the elbow tendinitis I acquired after a summer and fall saturated with climbing, so I haven’t touched rock (or plastic for that matter) since the very beginning of 2014. January seemed like a better month to rest up and let my elbow heal than July or August; one month turned into two and a half months, and I’m just now starting to climb again.

At first, I was super bummed about not climbing for awhile, and wondered how the heck I would fill the void. What would I do with so much spare time, how would I stay motivated and fit, when would I hang out with my friends, how would I possibly live without climbing!?! Okay, so that last question is a bit over the top, I know, but maybe a slight subconscious sentiment behind my angst. However, it didn’t take me long to start looking at the situation from a different perspective. Here was a chance to try other activities, to learn something new, to split my time between more interests.  For all of those things that I’ve always said, “If only I had more time…,” I now had more time!

Will Gadd recently wrote a very Gaddian post about asking, “Well, what CAN you do?” instead of the passive acceptance of saying, “Well, what can you do…” in the wake of a crummy situation (like being injured and not able to climb).  I feel like this take-ownership, take-the-bull-by-the-horns sentiment is a pretty pervasive theme in my life right now, in a really good, get-after-it, empowering way.  So with climbing on the shelf, I learned to ask, “What CAN I do now?”

[I do want to acknowledge that injury and life setbacks can be a whole lot more debilitating than what I experienced. I can just imagine someone reading this and thinking, “Of course she was able to ask this question and have a good attitude! She still had her legs/functioning heart/income/climbing partners/whatever!” And yes, it’s true, outside of pulling-hard-climbing, my possibilities were endless. Certainly not dire straits, and I know that. That said, I think we all live our own lives, have our own experiences, and struggles are struggles are struggles, and learning is learning is learning.]

So what did I do?  Well, I joined a yoga gym with a sweet Groupon deal.  I ran more, and I drove more to run on trails, picking up my distances to up to 20 miles at a time. I went skiing, and fell in love with it. I tried to take up TV watching, but that lasted one, slightly depressing evening.  Mostly, I just climbed more. Ha! Different kinds of climbing; as I explain to my non-climber friends, “I don’t use my arms as much.” I got to venture into some realms of climbing and alpinism that I have only tread the borders of before, and it was SO MUCH FUN.  And on top of it all, I learned over and over that it’s really more about getting into beautiful places with good people than anything else.

So after what are usually the most arduous seasons of the year for me, AND after being injured, I feel like I’ve been getting out more than ever. Usually I spend the winter months feeling cabinfeverish and attempting to eek out cold days at Index, trying to get to Vantage and Smith on weekends, and mostly wishing I was climbing and not being able to. Super contrived! This year, I’ve just embraced what is (snow, ice, cold, bad elbows) instead of getting my panties in a bunch about what isn’t (rock, sun, warmth, functioning elbows), and suffice it to say, I’ve been surprised by how awesome this non-climbing season of life has been. Makes me wonder if myopic vision in other areas of my life is keeping me from living more fully and richly.

We can’t always get what we want in life. It’s worth a shot, and when things work out, awesome.  But sometimes, things happen that we can’t do anything about.  Injury, weather, relationship stuff, car problems, job issues, the needs of others, NPS closures, stuck haul bags (haha, Polly), whatever.  And when stuff happens, and I can’t climb, or have what I want, I’m learning that the world is a big enough, beautiful enough place, that there’s something else out there to embrace, pursue, and love. There’s always lemonade to be made out of lemons, and sometimes it’s oh so sweet.

All that said, now it’s ROCK CLIMBING season!  And I’m back and more excited than ever.

The pictures that follow are a little taste of the sweet, sweet lemonade that was my winter…

Josh Garner in the morning light on Hood, climbing it for the umteenth time, but on a new route for him (the Wy’east Face).  When I wanted to climb Hood, I knew who to call!
Josh Garner in the morning light on Hood, climbing it for the umteenth time, but on a new route for him (the Wy’east Face). When I wanted to climb Hood, I knew who to call!
Spent a sunny central Oregon day skiing the Middle Sister with my good bud from Bend, Kevin Grove.
Spent a sunny central Oregon day skiing the Middle Sister with my good bud from Bend, Kevin Grove.
Looking down on the summit of Rainier with Dan Aylward, Tim Matsui, and Sarah Hart.  I think we were able to make it up and down so fast because we were fueled by “your mom” and “that’s what she said” jokes.
Looking down on the summit of Rainier with Dan Aylward, Tim Matsui, and Sarah Hart. I think we were able to make it up and down so fast because we were fueled by “your mom” and “that’s what she said” jokes.
Dan coming up one of the sketchier sections of Colonial Peak, an objective that has been on my radar since I first picked up tools last year. We chose a really mellow line and soloed the whole thing, and it was one of the most enjoyable days I’ve ever spent in the mountains. Constant movement, some challenging/scary sections, beautiful views, burning lungs, good conversation.
Dan coming up one of the sketchier sections of Colonial Peak, an objective that has been on my radar since I first picked up tools last year. We chose a really mellow line and soloed the whole thing, and it was one of the most enjoyable days I’ve ever spent in the mountains. Constant movement, some challenging/scary sections, beautiful views, burning lungs, good conversation.
North Cascades!!! I wish more people could get up there, just for a day, and experience the fresh perspective that it brings to see such wild beauty.
North Cascades!!! I wish more people could get up there, just for a day, and experience the fresh perspective that it brings to see such wild beauty.
Hanging out on Saturna Island with these amazing folks was food for the soul.
Hanging out on Saturna Island with these amazing folks was food for the soul.
Here's Matt skiing into the "dirtbag" skiier camp @ Stevens Pass. Not as dirtbag as climbers, that's for sure, but hey, it's cold and snowy.
Here’s Matty skiing into the “dirtbag” skier camp @ Stevens Pass. Part of my minor love affair with skiing was realizing that they too have a beautiful and fun culture and community, similar to that of climbing. Not as dirtbag as I’d like, that’s for sure, but hey, it’s cold and snowy.
The crew in Canmore. We drove 12 hours, woke up at 4:30 three days in a row to climb, and drove 12 (actually, 24 with the highway closure) hours home. We didn’t stop, and we sure didn’t stop having fun either. These guys are pretty awesome.
The crew in Canmore. We drove 12 hours, woke up at 4:30 three days in a row to climb, and drove 12 (actually, 24 with the highway closure) hours home. We didn’t stop, and we sure didn’t stop having fun either. These guys are pretty awesome.
Tim belaying Dan up the final pitch of Murchison Falls, on the Icefields Parkway in Alberta.
Tim belaying Dan up the final pitch of Murchison Falls, on the Icefields Parkway in Alberta.
Dan soloing up one of the many steps of WI3 ice on This House of Sky in the North Ghost. This was such an enjoyable, beautiful romp!
Dan soloing up one of the many steps of WI3 ice on This House of Sky in the North Ghost. This was such an enjoyable, beautiful romp!
Yours truly, chilling (quite literally) in a cave before a climb in the Canadian Rockies.
Yours truly, chilling (quite literally) in a cave before a climb in the Canadian Rockies.

2 thoughts on “Sometimes lemonade can be so sweet

  1. If you’re interested in doing some trekking in Nepal in October, let me know…I’m putting a group together. So far there are three of us, planning to do the Manaslu Circuit…

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