Royal Arches 5.10b or 5.7 A0
Trip ReportKicking Off CrushFest 2015: "Brothers Reunited"
On August 23, 2013, at the age of 31, I had two stents put in my heart. My right coronary artery was 70% blocked and my circumflex artery was 90% blocked. Yet, I was running 3 miles 1-2 times per week. The doctor said that I had "heavy vessel collateralization," meaning that the arteries were bypassing the clots, which was made possible due to my extremely high level of activity in the mountains. The doctor, Dr. Fearon of Stanford, said "that's what saved your life." If I had lived a more sedentary lifestyle, I wouldn't be here today.
Cory, the young 11 year old lad that I mentored through Big Brothers Big Sisters, and I had been climbing a lot that summer and once I had my heart operation, I had to take a break from climbing to recuperate. Grad school was beginning to take its toll and I had to decide whether to recommit to another year with BBBS. The following semester was going to be difficult given that I would be starting my clinical internship and would have little time for myself, let alone climbing with Cory. When November rolled around, I had to make the tough decision to not recommit.
Graduate school throughout 2014 was difficult and I was in school from Spring, through the summer and Fall. I always thought about our adventures together. It was always a humbling feeling to see a young boy latch onto something with all of his heart and energy. I missed going on trips with him and hearing about the things he was learning in school.
In January of 2015, Cory tracked me down on the SuperTopo and sent me an e-mail. Him and his mom had moved back into town from up the hill, which would make it easier for us to get together. I picked Cory up one day and we went straight to the gym. Cory will be 13 this Saturday. He sure has grown and matured. He was climbing stronger than he ever has after a year and a half of not. So we did the next logical thing…..agree to attempt to cut our Royal Arches time in half! Royal Arches in January?! Oh yeah! The perks of being only 2 hours from Yosemite during this dry season!
Here is the TR from our first time on the Arches when Cory was 11: http://www.supertopo.com/tr/Goals-Heroes-and-Digging-Deep-on-the-Royal-Arches/t11990n.html
Cory climbed solid on our second go and he didn't feel the need to puke either! :) It was a gorgeous and unusually WARM day on route. I had worn jeans and was wishing I had worn shorts. I quickly realized that school had made me sluggish, but it was too gorgeous of a day to rush things. We did the route in 8 hours and took us 4 hours to rappel in the dark. Even at night and only wear t-shirts and a windbreaker, we were sweating on the rappel. It wasn't until we were back down on terra firma that we were freezing cold due to the temperature inversion.
Our time was 12 hours car-2-car instead of the 15 hours when he was 11 years old. Considering that this was Cory's first climb in a year and a half, I was pretty impressed. Since then we have just been gym climbing and Cory is climbing harder than I do. Kids….pfft! We have some pretty big plans for the summer as Cory is not just my young mentee, but my climbing partner.
I hope that our adventures will inspire others to become mentors. There is nothing more humbling than hearing a young boy say, "thank you for changing my life and inspiring me." This experience has been my greatest honor and privilege.
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