“Excuse me! Excuse me sir! What is it that you have on your back?”

That’s what we heard when we were walking to the Village Store after doing some climbing at the Awahnee boulders.

Trevor yelled across the street to the lady that it was a cushion you put on the ground while climbing. Which was true, it was a crash pad.  I guess he gets it often though, and I’m looking forward to the next time someone asks because his answer is going to be, “I’m narcoleptic.”

While I was in Yosemite I was able to meet up with Albert Spiwak, an old friend from Michigan. He gave me a place to stay, showed me some of the sites and things to do around the area and introduced me to a lot of people. Trevor is one of his friends (his name is Trevor James actually 🙂 ) that he introduced me to and I now count him as one of mine as well. I’m going to namedrop Dave, Eric, Carlee, Dan and Mike as well… I really appreciate all that Albert (and the aforementioned people) did.  One of those things that he (”  “) showed me was bouldering. It’s rock climbing without a rope or gear on boulders. The rocks range from the size of cars to houses. It really is much harder than it looks. I’m not that good at it and it really scares me but when I get back on the ground, for some reason, I’ve found that I want to do it again. Once you’ve tried them, rock climbing and bouldering really start to grow on you quickly. Watching them climb or watching videos of climbers makes my hands sweat and actually is very interesting. The holds, the cracks, the gravity, the balance,the ratings, the chalk, the moves: those are a few of the many things that you begin to realize go into climbing. It changes from something that’s a seemingly simple feat of strength to something that is very complex and engaging, even when simply watching.

I wasn’t really focused on taking pictures and only took a few. These are some of the smaller boulders that were climbed and I didn’t think of asking one of them to take my picture. To date, I have four climbs under my belt. And three out of four of them I did not think I would be able to do. In fact, the first boulder I climbed took three tries. I fell twice and ended up hurting my ankle but made it up in the end. My ankle is almost back to 100% at this point. I’m back in Mariposa for a bit, but looking forward to heading back to Yosemite soon and doing some more climbing.

Speaking of climbing, I was able to spend some time with Ron Kauk. Ron is a world renowned climber, famous for groundbreaking first ascents on some of the toughest routes in Yosemite Valley.  His famous route Magic Line has never been repeated. He trained and doubled for Sylvester Stallone in Cliffhanger and trained Tom Cruise for Mission Impossible II. I met him while grabbing some hot chocolate in the morning and met up with him again later that evening at a showing of one of his films in the Yosemite Theater. He’s a real nice guy and I enjoyed talking to him. The things that he has to say, even his demeanor and the tone of his voice, are interesting. He’s getting older, but still climbing strong and incredibly humble. He’s a genuine guy.

This is Ron. He’s good.

Something else that I was able to try was slacklining. I don’t have much to say about it. It’s basically a line tied between two trees and someone performs tightrope-like feats on it. It originated in Yosemite. I’m terrible at it. I’ve been told that it takes lots of time and practice, but I’m not sure how much of either of those I’d want to put into it. That being said, it is a good excuse to get out and spend some time outside with good people.

This is a picture of Dean Potter (mentioned in my “First Night in Yosemite” post) slacklining from Lost Arrow Spire in Yosemite.

And here’s Trevor, Albert and I “slacking”. That’s kind of ironic. Also, if you look in the background in Albert’s picture you can see someone admiring from a distance…


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