How true this is in so many aspects of our lives, and certainly within the realm of we climbers. Alex Honnold's recent "Triple" has taken our sport into another realm...one can only wonder where this direction will take the sport.
In my nearly 38 years of climbing, I've seen these changes evolve climbing time and time again, especially in my own climbing career. From my start in 1975, I lived and breathed climbing 24/7, right up to June of 1991. That's when climbing began to take a back seat in my life....after the birth of my son, Paden. Seeing him come into the world, my priorities shifted instantly...from then on, all I wanted was to be the best Dad I could be.
This past weekend proved to be the best Father's Day a climber could ever ask for....a fine meld of two of my most favorite things in life. It actually began on Friday....three days that, to me, were my version of "The Triple".
As I reported here, http://www.supertopo.com/tr/Another-first-ascent-gem-Better-LAYToNidEVER-Grade-III-5-9/t11509n.html, Flanders and I were out Friday putting up this fine route. During the day, we discussed what was coming...a trip to the Valley to watch Hans and Alex make history.....completely psyched to witness that event. We had an amazing day.
Saturday morning found me busy with chores around the house, and packing stuff for the trip over the hill to the Valley later in the afternoon. Shortly after putting the finishing touches on the TR mentioned above, my wife handed me a Father's Day card that my daughter Micah had put together before leaving for Ecuador in late May. It goes without saying that I miss her terribly, and this card had me in tears. I share it with you here....
"Dad, Being your daughter has always made me feel secure and loved. Growing up, I always knew I could count on you....Especially the way you always had to KNOW where I was going and exactly WHO was going to be there. Sorry I couldn't get their blood types for you, too. BUT, you resisted the urge to put tracking devices on my car and phone, so thank you for that. I'm pretty sure the guys I knew, and maybe a few of the girls, were somewhat scared of you, so congratulations on that too! No one really messed with me because of you, Dad. I have to admit, that felt pretty good.....I hope you are having a wonderful Father's Day! Sorry I can't be with you! I love you so much for letting me go on this trip. No matter where I am I will always be your baby girl! When I come home, we'll climb to celebrate you and all your amazing-ness! I love you to the moon and back! Micah"
What a way to start the day....sure do love and miss that kid.
Though she is far away right now and unable to be with us, my son Paden was keen on coming along....such a blessing that, at 21, he still likes to hang with the old man! Flanders joined us for the trip to the Valley to bear witness to the Nose event, making for perfect company!
Thanks to Jeff "Fattrad" Elfont, we had a gorgeous, riverside site in North Pines, which we shared with Steve "theFet" Fettke, his brother Rich, and friend Jason...GREAT GUYS! We had a great time sitting around the fire, musing about just how much history Alex and Hans were about to make, drinking plenty of Nut Brown, and falling asleep under a canopy of stars in the best place on the planet.
Flanders, Paden, Steve and Rich
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Up at 0445 on Sunday, we broke camp and made a beeline for the Meadow, and in no time the masses began to arrive. There was a palpable buzz in the air for what was about to take place, and everyone was excited about it. It did not take long before Alex and Hans were thrilling us...beginning at 0552....
Hans firing to Dolt....
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...and moving above Texas Flake to the Boot....
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...running through the Grey Bands....
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Alex into Pancake after running up the Great Roof, with Hans just starting the GR...
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Hans nearing the summit
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The show on the wall had a sideshow in the Meadow, with a few hundred of us fortunate ones there for what proved to be a record-shattering event.
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The crowd had the feel of a soccer game, with lots of cheering, bells ringing, horns being blown, and an all-around supportive, psyched vibe. It was SO great to meet many faces from Supertopo there, and see plenty of old friends as well...
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Mark Hudon talking to himself, Mr. Tom Frost
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....and plenty of other usual suspects...
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I was so happy to meet Riley and his beautiful daughters, Paul Souza and his Father, climbski2, Mark Hudon, Pass the Pitons Pete...and chat with these great folks!
Alex and Hans did not disappoint....they are truly amazing athletes, and their feat was something that I will never forget.....as the Stooges would say..."Holy mackerel, what a show!"
The day was young, however, and it was Father's Day, which for me, meant some climbing was in order. We left the Valley behind and headed for Tuolumne.
Two years ago I had taken Micah up Holdless Horror, 5.7, on Dozier Dome, and Paden really wanted to do it after seeing the photos, so along with Flanders, we headed that way. Arriving at the base, we found another party getting ready for the route....only to take FOREVER to even get started!!!!
Holdless Horror, with Side Dish to it's right...
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We opted not to wait, and decided to head up the next route to the right, Side Dish, 5.8. I really wanted to climb WITH Paden, so I had Doug take the sharp end, and belay both Paden and I together. I tied Paden in on a Cow's Tail about 20 feet above me, and we set out. Here is a series of shots from both Doug and myself....
Paden getting started...
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...gaining the crack...
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Top of the 1st....
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Paden styling the knobs....
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....we traversed over and got back onto Holdless Horror....
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...had a great time enjoying the summit views and some food...
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....and enjoyed the wander back down along the cascades...
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....and the short rappel...
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Paden really enjoyed the route, and the experience was great for all of us! With the day getting long, we stopped to see Lynne at TPR, then headed to the Whoa Nellie for some much needed grub and MORE BEER!
What a great way to end a truly extraordinary day! However, it still wasn't over!
After arriving home and getting cleaned up, my 7 year-old daughter, Marina, climbed onto my lap and asked, "Dad, can we watch the basketball game?"
Yes, it is true, we do not all share the same horizons. I have been blessed to have a long climbing career full of fun and adventure, and now have something even more special.......my family. That I can combine these two loves has been pure joy.....those three days were the best "Triple" I could ever ask for. I hope the rest of you purpose to live your dreams!
And a special thanks to Alex and Hans for the thrill of a lifetime!