I can’t overestimate the importance of women having control over the little things in their lives. It sounds so small, like ‘I want to listen to this song on repeat for the next 3 hours.’ Or, ‘I will be stopping to pee right now at this gas station.’
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To be a steward of climbing, to take care of and preserve a sport is a strange concept. The sport is alive and well and does not need caring for. What needs tending to is the natural spaces this sport inhabits. To be a climbing steward in Yosemite is to protect the rocks, the trails, the vegetation, and the trees.
The best day of climbing I ever had, the air was on fire.
It was summertime in Squamish, a small town just north of Vancouver in British Columbia Canada. This town, up until recently had been known as a sleepy kiteboarding destination and—to those who cared— a place where you could find some of the best bouldering in the world.
We see two people soloing intersection rock in the distance, one is possibly naked and the other is wearing a pair of hot pink booty shorts.
Mike grabs the binoculars, “Yep. He’s definitely naked.”
5 minutes later the naked guy rides by on a bike. There’s a chalk bag clipped to his waist that is almost covering his junk, and he hollers loudly as he wizzes past. “ANARCHY!”
“Well,” Mike puts his hands on his hips, “that happened quickly.”
I was lying in my bed, half asleep, when I heard the first knock.
It wasn’t so much of a knock as a bang. Someone was pounding on the side of my house. In the large metal box that is my van, it reverberated around the small space and startled me awake.
I blink and it’s morning.
My shoulder hurts so I roll over onto my other side.
I blink again and the sun has risen higher in the sky. I’m on my back. I look over to see Mike with his puffy jacket covering his face.
I never thought I would be bored at 500 feet off the ground.
Standing on Ahwahnee ledge on the West Face of the Leaning Tower, I pace back and forth in anticipation. Or what amounts to pacing when you have less than 3 feet of space to move around in.
Big wall climbing is the culmination of all of the climbing skills I’ve been honing over the last 5 years.
It takes technical skills, mental toughness, physical endurance, and good communication with a partner. I borrowed gear from friends, grilled them on the terrain, looked over maps that climbers before me had drawn, and scrolled through comments people had left on the mountain project to try and prepare myself mentally and emotionally for the hardest thing I had attempted to date in climbing.
When you jump on you typically meet a few people who are riding the same wave as you. You’ll see them in Indian Creek, lose track of them for a few months and then see them again in Squamish. The circuit brings you around and around, like a merry-go-round of climbing destinations. After getting on, it can be difficult to get off.