Thursday, October 30, 2008


I wandered down the aisles grabbing last minute supplies for our trip to Squamish. I filled a small basket with beer and cheese and bread. As I grabbed the bags, stuffed the change and the reciept in my pocket from my shopping, my phone rang. Max called me from the car. “Hey can you pick me up some cheesey popcorn.”
We arrived in Canada around two am Monday morning after a half hour detour driving lost along random streets in Surrey. The next morning we met Thomasina and Cedar at the Adventure Center and headed to the boulders. It’s been awhile since I climbed in Squamish. There was a lot of trash, bits of tape, band-aids, and empty chalk socks laying around the base of the Black Dyke. The noise from the highway construction blasted into the forest. The rock felt smoother and more polished than I remembered and a lot of the forest felt damp in the morning. By late afternoon, the dankness disappated and the bouldering got good, really good. I flailed while Max sent Baba Hari Dass, and Sit Down to Holm Boy. Thomasina wanted to save skin for the next day.
That night we stayed at the Smoke Bluffs with Thomo, Cedar, Tim Doyle, Israel, Peter Michaux, Ben Harden, and Brent Michelson. Tim, Thomo, Max and I hung out and slandered then got a slow start the next morning to go bouldering. Max and I went over to Golden Boy, which he fired after a few tries of falling at the end. I sent the Sit Down to Holm Boy. That was really rad. I’ve tried that problem a lot over the past four years and it was nice to finish it. Max and I headed out to the Apron where Max fired off Gull Skull. I climbed Cutting Edge, a problem I’d never done. Then we met up with Thomo and climbed on Tatonka. Max and Thomo both fired it. Max and I went to the grocery store and while Tim Doyle watched Cedar, Thomasina fired off the first female ascent of The Egg. Yeah for Thomo!
The next day Max and I drove back. We got stopped at the border and my Saturn was searched. The border patrol confiscated our avacado and hassled us but eventually let us go.
Our original intent for heading up there was to do an interview of Thomasina. She’s been crushing lately. She fired off a bunch of hard problems in Bishop earlier this year then made some rad ticks in Leavenworth. I needed a good photo of Thomasina for the interview but it never worked out. Oh well. I was really happy to see my Canadian friends and get to hang with Thomasina’s and Cedar. They are two cool Pidgeons. I wish I had spent more time in Squamish this summer. I may move back to the Northwest next summer.
I’m leaving Leavenworth on Sunday. Hopefully the weather will stay clear. The forecast calls for rain. I’d like to send my boulder project before I leave. The last time I got on it I fell with my fingers diddling the finish jug. But I need some serious fitness pretty quick if I want to make my November climbing trip pan out. I’m thinking a lot about Zion these days. I’d really like to finish that thing.

Tim's Windshield

Last week, Tim Doyle drove along the highway in his 1985 Toyota minivan, traveling at roughly 60 kilometers per hour. As he neared town, a Squamish District school bus passed him going 40 kilometers per hour. When the two vehicles passed each other, a Canadian threw a banana out the window. The fruit smashed into Tim's front windshield making a softball crack in the glass and creating a long split down the windshield. Tim turned the vehicle around and chased the school bus. When the driver pulled over to pick up another student, Tim ran up to the yellow beast, slapping on the side of it until the driver let him in.
"Who the fuck threw a mother fucking banana at my window?! You could have killed me! What the fuck!" Tim screamed. The bus driver offered no help nor did the dozen ten and twelve year old students on the bus.
Later, Israel suggested that Tim have the banana finger printed. I recommended that he demand blood, urine, and semen, analysis from all passengers. Regardless, the windshield will cost two hundred dollars, which Tim was hoping to spend on gas to Yosemite. Hopefully, Tim will be able to get compensation from the school district or at least shake some milk money out of the punks who broke his window.

Friday, October 17, 2008


A man with a rifle slung around his shoulder dragged a large carcass behind him as I climbed in Forestland. The deer's tongue hung out the side of its mouth swinging in circles as the corpse bumped along the small path between the boulders. The hunter stopped, propped his foot up on a knee high boulder, and wiped the sweat off his brow. I stared.
"Nice buck you got there," said one pebble wrestler.
"Yup," the hunter grabbed the deer's antlers and swung its head towards us. "This sum-ma-bitch is a tweleve pointer."
The deer's tongue flopped to the other side of its mouth.
"Pretty proud. P-retty proud. I sawed her in half so I could get her to the car. My boy's wrasslin the other half down. Anyway, got to keep humpin' if I want to mount her today. See you folks later." The hunter grabbed the straps around the deers neck and continued the plod to his car.
Five minutes later, a tweleve year old boy came huffing down the trail, towing the deer's ass and hind quarters. He stopped to breathe for a second, then continued after his pa.

My dad hung a deer from the crab apple tree outside of my grandma's house. My brothers and I watched the blood drain for three days. Nick poked it with a stick and the enormous carcass swung. My dad yelled at us to stop messing around. That winter we ate venison stew, venison steaks, venison stir-fry, venison sandwiches, venison and eggs. We all got pretty sick of venison. Whenever we thought we had stuffed the last piece down, my mother would pull a little more out of the freezer. The meat was cheaper than anything we could get at the grocery store.

There is not much sport in hunting. There's a man with a high powered rifle, complete with techy scope, and there's a deer or elk or bear or some endangered species with little to no knowledge of rednecks wanting to kill it and mount its head on the wall. I guess I do not like hunting much. Seeing the hunter and his son drag the deer by the boulders angered me. Why did they have to kill it? At the same time, I remembered how much venison we ate that winter. We ate the shit out of my father's buck...damn near literally.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Leaving Leavenworth

I leave Leavenworth in three weeks. It will be nice to quit my crappy job but I am not happy to leave my friends. Hanging in the Peshastin house for the summer has been really fun. And I started climbing again. The bouldering here is really good. I am bummed to leave that.

Last week, Thomasina, Cedar, and Brent came down from Squamish to climb for a few days. They stayed in Peshastin and crushed. Brent hiked a bunch of hard classics and Thomasina flashed Atomic Energy, a V9! Very proud. Having Cedar around was fun. She's an awesome little girl. I really liked having Thomasina around too. And it was cool hanging with Brent too.

Anyway, just counting down the days, thinking about heading to Squamish for a couple days, provided it doesn't rain, and hoping to be in shape for a late November trip to Zion.

Oh and my labtop shit the bed. Kate Rutherford gave it to me a little while ago. It was super generous of her. It was old though and the furious pounding on the keyboard fried the rig. If anyone wants to sponsor or sell me an old labtop, let me know. I'm in the market.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Bus Boy Hell

My mother popped me out on December 6, 1981. That makes me twenty-six years old. In between then and today, I managed to graduate from both high school and college, finishing the latter with a degree in Economics and Business Management from the University of California at Santa Cruz. In high school I maintained a 4.0 grade point average at Vermont Academy, graduating cum laude with distinctions in history, mathematics, and English. I played defensive line on the varsity football team, was capitan of the cross country ski team, acted in a few school theatre productions, and was president of the Saturday Morning Swim Club, a polar bear swim team. I entered college a merit scholarship winner but I smoked a lot of hippie lettuce, and skipped classes to go rock climbing. I exited school with far less ambition then I entered. Now, I barely have the qualifications to be a bus boy.

Half of the time, I am broke. The other half of the time, I do not have any money. I finished school at UCSC in the middle of June and headed straight to Yosemite. Graduating was not good. With the sponsorship of Pell Grants and Federal Direct Subsidized Loans, I managed to pay for climbing trips, buy gear, and climb a lot for four steady years. Recieving my degree meant a dry well; no more student loans. I needed to work and be able to climb somewhere. My old friend and climbing partner, Jens Holsten, instisted that I could find a job in Washington. “It will be rad," he told me in the Toulumne Meadows parking lot. "You can stay at the climber's house in Peshastin, you'll just have to spot and belay for room and board. Plus, we can carpool to Leavenworth." The Icicle Ridge Winery needed help in a couple days, and Jens, a typical dirtbag, needed a ride. Imagine that.

I climbed for eight weeks. It was sick. I pulled, cranked, fell, then pulled and cranked more. On week eight I started pulling and cranking, then felt a pop and my palm tingled. The tendons to my pinkie and ring finger tore apart Suddenly my right hand was useless. That meant no climbing and worst yet, no sex life. Jens assured me that I could make it through the recovery, at least I could find employment. He found a job, pouring wine at the Icicle Ridge Winery for minimum wage. Even Max, my roommate, had found work. The Fudge Hut employed Max, having him sell chocolate and wear the local costume for Octoberfest and the tourist filled summer months. He packed fudge in his leiderhosen.

The manager at Viscontis, John Morgan examined my resume. He told me I was overqualified for the position. Obviously, he had never seen me work. He needed help though and three weeks later he hired me as a bus boy for the Italian restaurant. I clear wineglasses, set tables, and box food. I also break glasses, arrive stoned, and hide behind the ice machine when the restaurant becomes busy. The other bussers wonder why I work there. I am old. I have a college degree. The servers think I should apply for John’s job, a position with responsibility, benefits, and stability. I wonder if they hate me.

I'm stuck in Leavenworth, working in bus boy hell, saving money to move and get another dead end job. The move will take me a month. I will drive to San Francisco, climb, drive to Utah, climb, drive to Vegas, climb, and then drive to Boulder. The four weeks of blowing the little bit of loot I scratched from carrying trays of lasgna, will be worth it. I hope.