Ethan Pringle and La Reina Mora – The Full Story

By Bolt Clipping, Film, Trip Journal3 Comments

“I’m so over it.” I told James Lucas at our small dinning room table in our dimly lit communal area on the night before my last day in Cataluña.  “Like, no part of me wants to go try it. I just want to go climbing and have fun tomorrow for a change.” I could feel my pulse in my hands, almost imperceptibly. My fingers throbbed with blood trying to repair the tissue around the gobies I’d repeatedly torn open in the pockets at the red-point crux of my project. The blood circulated harder still from the inflammatory Spanish foods I’d consumed that day (the peppered sausage, the salty bocadillo) and from the inflammatory thoughts and emotions that had plagued my being. I was midway through the nightly process of applying Neosporin and Band-Aids to the wounds. Wax paper scraps from the bandages, and an assortment of other random items lay scattered across the table. For the last month I’d been doing battle with La Reina Mora (meaning “The Moor Queen”), a stunning 40-meter long 5.14+ test-piece in the famous El Pati sector of the Spanish mega-crag Siurana. It had become glaringly obvious to me and everyone watching that what was holding me back was no sort of physical limitation – it was in my head. Ten days earlier I had a breakthrough attempt on which I stuck the red-point crux from the ground, but pumped off above the last bolt of the route, one moderately difficult move away from success. My…

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My Own Little Odyssey

By Bouldering, Climbing, Conscious Climber ProjectNo Comments

Either skip to the bottom or click here for the video. Cover image courtesy of Owen Summerscales. On top of Nosos sits the Manhattan Project boulder, home to a few moderate classics, one project likely in the V13-14 range, and a one-move wonder. It was this single move that Eric Bissell and I spent most of an afternoon trying, back in spring 2014. It was a more innocent time: ISIS had yet to dominate our nightmares, you hadn’t heard of Donald-Trump-the-politician, and this one move had yet to be completed. Natural Perfection I was ecstatic to find something like this. Even Eric Bissell, a Yosemite levitator who doesn’t much care for dynos, lost sleep on account of this boulder problem. Yosemite maestro Keenan Takahashi trained specifically for this move, and in Spring of 2015 drove his Honda Odyssey all the way from California to Nosos in a straight shot, and after a handful of attempts was able to set it free. While everyone had been attempting to grab the slot right-handed, Keenan launched with his left and caught the jug. He waltzed up the V0 glory moves to the summit of the boulder and named the problem The Odyssey, after the minivan. This move embodies everything I love about the Ortega quartzite. Two parallel seams run about 4 feet apart, slanting upward to the right ever so slightly. The bottom seam is hardly even a fissure, except for one 8” wide portion where the bottom lip protrudes, creating a 1/2…

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Why The Fuck?

By Birthday Challenges4 Comments

Ten years and one month ago, I lost a friend. Her name was Kendra Payne, and we met through the adventure program at UCSB. We shared classes, homework, and the occasional excursion to the outdoors…I remember her pulling off a palm-down mantel 60 feet off the deck on her first toprope. She inspired me to commit to a semester abroad in Australia. Two weeks before I was to fly across the Pacific, she was killed in a cycling accident. We had planned to meet for coffee that day, but I never got a phone call from her. Last night I slipped into muscle memory again, and, mind idle, I flipped to Facebook. The first story on my feed informed me that I had just lost another friend. It felt like waking up in the middle of an avalanche. Steve Edwards. Stainless. The strong, silent type. No recounting of his employment, no listing of physical achievements would do any service to his legacy. I suspect he’d hate me for saying something like this, but Steve was more than a friend, he was a life-idol. There aren’t a whole lot of people out there like that, people who inspire you to just be a better human being. And there aren’t a whole lot of people that strong, that kind, that awesome, who can do nothing but be themselves and still make the people around them better. I met Steve way too late. We were getting our first big break, a series with EpicTV about Birthday Challenges….

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From Visitors to Guests

By Climbing, Conscious Climber Project, Trip Journal2 Comments

“Throughout the fall season, we will be releasing a series of videos, photos, and blog posts that will present some of the common issues that bouldering areas have, and how developers and early visitors can ensure the sustainability of these playgrounds.” – The RV Project And so, as 2015 draws to a close, we look back on our previous promise and note, with chagrin, that we have not kept it. The quote attributed to Lew A Wallace proved prescient, for indeed, our season in New Mexico did not go according to any plan whatsoever. It started with a bang, quite literally. We then spent a while trying to figure out a place to put our trailer where it would be safe from bandits but accessible in inclement weather. Previous experience had told us it would not be a difficult task. Now we know what to expect from that type of planning. We expected to hit the ground running. Instead, we arrived largely ignorant of any of the peculiarities that give this place its enchanted, and sometimes haunted, feel. Instead of a daily routine of developing boulder problems, filming, and editing/writing/publishing, we realized we needed to step back and understand what this place is really about. Ty Tyler from the Access Fund came by for a visit, and we were able to learn a great deal about how to think about developing a new area. Yet this locale is much more than just an un-trampled hillside in danger of trampling. It’s a…

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The Inaugural Joe’s Valley Bouldering Festival

By Bouldering, Climbing, Stuff We're Psyched On, Trip Journal2 Comments

We over here at RV Project HQ (currently: Spenser’s Parents House, Berkeley, CA) are still beaming after an amazing weekend at the inaugural Joe’s Valley Bouldering Festival. It’s been a crazy couple weeks since the Fest, but now that we’ve got fast internet and cell phone reception, it’s time for a recap. I feel like there’s so much to talk about that it’s hard to figure out where to start. To me, the primary goal of this festival was said best by Steven Jeffery,   Even with the crappy audio, you can probably understand that we wanted to get climbers and local community members together, to just hang out together. And maybe we’d understand each other a bit better because, let’s be honest, us climbers don’t have much contact with the people of Orangeville or Castle Dale (except for the brief stops for sustenance – donuts & coffee – at the Food Ranch). The festival was based around bringing together bouldering, history, and community to highlight what makes Joe’s Valley such a special destination for climbers. Why in the heck do we love climbing those little rocks so much?! In the days leading up to the festival, the excitement from the local community felt pervasive. Firewood was delivered directly to our campsites, the Food Ranch made stickers specially for the event – the whole town seemed to be talking about this festival. This is primarily a photo essay of what made the Fest special for me – to check out the schedule in its entirety…

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A Visit From The Access Fund’s Ty Tyler

By Conscious Climber Project, Ethics, Trip Journal5 Comments

Ty Tyler. Now there’s a name. Technically, it’s a nickname, but whatever you want to call him, Ty is the National Stewardship Director for the Access Fund. It’s his job to ensure long-term sustainability and stewardship of our climbing areas throughout the US. He travels more than we do. Ty worked a trip to La Madera into his schedule, and schooled us a bit about how to think about developing. Potential The first big question to answer is, “what’s the potential for this place to really blow up? How many people are going to be coming here?” We identified a few key attributes to look at that can help answer this question. Access- Is it close to the road? Is the road a good one? How long is the hike in? Number of climbs, particularly moderates- Is there enough to keep people interested? Will the concentration of climbs attract a broad spectrum of climbers? Is it only high end climbing? Camping- This one’s pretty self-evident. Climbers are often campers. Is it easy? Quality of climbing- Also self-evident. Distance- Is it close to large populations of climbers? Of course, there is no set formula to apply, but looking at examples of existing areas is always a nice model. Chaos Canyon, for example, is a million-mile hike into the stratosphere. But, it has good rock and tons of climbing, and it’s closer to the Front Range population centers than any other summer climbing destination, not to mention the scenery. Joe’s Valley isn’t…

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Lizzy Asher’s Highball Birthday Challenge

By Birthday Challenges, Bouldering, Climbing, Guest PostNo Comments

A big thanks to our badass friend Lizzy for crushing this challenge, and then writing this great post about it! Missing out on Squamish this summer didn’t feel quite so bad after getting to relive one of our favorite days. Last summer I decided to do my first climbing birthday challenge at age 28.  The goal: to complete four famous highball boulder problems which I had never before climbed in a single day: Ride the Lightning (V8), Teenage Lobotomy (V7), Funeral Arrangements (V6), and Black Slabbath (V7). As my move to San Francisco and the final “writing stage” of my PhD in climate science and oceanography approached, I sought to prepare for the social and intellectual challenges that I would face with a physical challenge requiring mental fortitude and discipline.  I also wanted to say good-bye to Squamish, with its familiar forest and boulders, where I had logged hundreds of hours becoming acquainted with the subtleties of granite climbing.  Finally, I had spent the previous winter working for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO with little time for anything but work and training with a core group of climbing friends, and I came to I relish my hours at the various Boulder climbing gyms.  When summer arrived, I was eager to see if my gym-wrought fitness gains could help me reach new climbing heights. After some deliberation, I settled on this particular group of boulder problems for their aesthetic climbing movements, my previous yearnings to climb each one…

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The Millennium Way: An Interview with Alison Bagby

By Guest Post, Stuff We're Psyched On, The InteriorNo Comments

This post is only tangentially related to rock climbing. It has more to do with bragging about how awesome we must be, because the people discussed below consider us their friends. Alison and her husband Jeremy have appeared on this blog before, and it’s true that we are acquainted via the climbing gym. It’s true that they are both very strong climbers with impressive ticklists. But today, we’re going to talk about food, more specifically Millennium. Millennium is a vegan restaurant that serves incredible food and cocktails to match. Formerly located in the Tenderloin in San Francisco, they recently moved to a new location in Oakland, with much better street parking options. They’re open for dinner 7 days a week, and they’ve just started a Sunday brunch (and soon Saturday), as well as a weekday happy hour from 5:00-6:30. We wanted to know a few more details, so we asked…and then we typed it up. Enjoy! RVP: In a few words, what is Millennium? AB: Millennium is a globally inspired, upscale plant-based restaurant in Oakland, Ca. We work with small farms and change the menu constantly to showcase the finest local, sustainable, and organic produce at its peak. RVP: How long have you been involved with Millennium? How did you start out there? AB: I was hired as Assistant General Manager in January of 2007 after being persistent in response to a craigslist ad. RVP: When did you become a partner with Millennium? AB: I became a partner only in our new East Bay location. Chef Eric Tucker & I…

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Introducing the Conscious Climber Project

By Bouldering, Climbing, Conscious Climber Project, Stuff We're Psyched On4 Comments

“Every calculation based on previous experience fails in New Mexico” – Lew A. Wallace, Governer of the New Mexican Territory (1878-1881) Exotic Locales, No Passport Required The days continue to march inexorably forward, like the thousands of Barbie dolls marching into an oven that are on display annually at Burning Man. Time might fly when you’re having fun, but it flies even faster if you simply let it slide. “Not much” or “nothing” is never the correct answer to “what’s going on?” Pausing often to reflect on things is the simplest way I’ve found to stretch out my time. Like a rubber band with an intricate drawing, I can only enjoy the rich tapestry of events, and feelings, and relationships that make up my life if I pull the ends apart and dive into the details. I’m suggesting that being aware and conscious is the secret to prolonging life. New Mexico is nicknamed The Land of Enchantment, and climbers may be familiar with a particular tower that fell under the spell. But aside from the remote and mysterious Enchanted Tower, and the fact that one must pass through during the annual Hueco migration, New Mexico is almost entirely off the itinerant climbers’ collective radar. Put simply, New Mexico is not on “the circuit.” That’s about to change. Roy and Not Roy Folks, if you’ve been down with The Proj for a long time, you may recall a post from Spring 2014 excitedly showing pictures from Roy and La Madera. In fact, if you…

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Real Shit in New Mexico

By Bouldering, Climbing, Conscious Climber Project, Trip Journal6 Comments

A brief note, here, to warn you that this post gets mildly graphic. There are no gruesome photos, but I do talk about some serious stuff. Read on, but be prepared. I nearly died the other day. We’re in New Mexico, and it’s a few days into our fall season here. A cornucopia of nascent bouldering attracted us here, while anticipation caused our plans to grow in scope until they eventually snowballed into what we’re calling The Conscious Climber Project. Much, much more on that in the next post. It was at one of these nascent boulderfields, called Posos, that we intended to spend the weekend getting a tour from William. William is an energetic and wide-ranging explorer of boulders, having more or less discovered most of the modern, high-end boulders in northern New Mexico. A seemingly interminable drive up a dirt road, first smooth and later rocky, led us onto an undulating mesa decorated by a stunning patchwork of pine forest, grassy meadow, and rocky outcrops. Posos hovers around 9000 feet above sea level, making it a reasonable bouldering destination for summer. Our trailer made it to the primitive campground, but slowly. And barely. In the morning, we were treated to a pair of quartzite formations straddling our campground. Both contained must-do boulder problems on some of the coolest rock I could ever imagine. William, along with Kendo, gave a quick introduction to the area. After lunch, the three of us jumped into William’s truck to go hunt for…

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Crunch Goes the Ankle

By Bouldering, Climbing, MusingsOne Comment

A huge thanks to Kati for being such a good sport throughout this whole ordeal. Above: The aftermath of what’s described below. Responsibility and Obligation The thing about life is that shit happens. We take reasonable precautions, but shit still happens. It’s an old trope trotted out often in the comments section whenever rock climbing finds its way into the mainstream news outlets, but it’s always good to keep in mind that we ought to live maximally, lest we get caught in a freak tornado filled with sharks while playing it safe on the couch. I’d much rather be killed or maimed in a climbing accident than a car accident. Highballs play for keeps. It’s part of what makes them so fun. The climber can achieve momentary mastery, being in control in an objectively dangerous situation. It feels good in an entirely personal way that must be experienced to be understood. It’s kind of a personal spiritual thing, although I’d be lying if I denied that a portion of my joy comes from getting away with something my parents wouldn’t really approve of if they knew what was going on out there in the woods. I’ve sort of fallen in love with the Rockshop, a many-acre expanse of granite formations a mere 45 minutes from Lander. The chaotic jumbles contain endless hidden projects, their surfaces weathered by icy winter winds into a fine patina with brilliant texture. As with many locations, the most beautiful lines are a bit taller and more dangerous….

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Yearning For The Simple Life

By Bouldering, Photo, Trip JournalOne Comment

It’s been a little while since we rapped at ya, like in the familiar. I recently read through some of the older posts on this blog, and got hit with a wave of nostalgia for the flippantly written trip diaries of the yesteryears. Truth be told we’ve had a bit of a wacky time of it lately, from leaving the Bay Area on Wednesday June 17th along a circuitous path to Salt Lake City. Another trip journal entry seems in order. If all goes well, the older me will thank me for leaving this little easter egg for him to discover when he’s digging through the archives. Old Stomping Grounds, New Beginnings First stop was Pine Mountain. It’s all of the following: beautiful; one of the first places I went bouldering outside of Santa Barbara; where Vikki climbed her first boulder problem; a remote cluster of sandstone with a view to the Channel Islands; a place we hadn’t visited in 6 years. It was in the upper 80s, so no mega-sending went down, but it was relaxing. We slept like people are supposed to, deeply and long and under the stars. We spent one day at Pine, and on Friday drove down to San Diego for a visit to Vikki’s mad scientist parents. Saturday, we had the pleasure of watching Ben and Zhuojin celebrate their marriage (conveniently, not far from Vikki’s parents’ home). Ben is one of my oldest climbing buddies, and they are extremely appreciated members of the People Who Have…

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Behind the Magic of Red Point Climbing Holds

By Climbing, Guest Post, Gym ClimbingNo Comments

Meet Nikita Taylor, David Beriault, and Aaron Culver – referred to as NT, DB, and AC from here on out – the three Canuks that make up Red Point Climbing Holds. The company formed from the imagination of a 16-year-old Nikita (whom we met in Squamish almost 2 years ago) and has grown into a full-fledged passion project, spreading grippy holds across the world. Hope you enjoy their story! How & when & why was Red Point Climbing Holds formed? What did you think was missing from the climbing holds market? NT: I started Red Point in 2012 when I built my little home wall. I began making some grips in my garage for fun and joined forces with Dave Beriault, an engineer and climber. At the time we were just experimenting. The possibilities were limitless and we didn’t know what we were looking for. We didn’t expect to grow to what we are now but after meeting Aaron Culver, who is our phenomenal in-house head shaper, we got a lot more serious. In the beginning, we were more interested in just making cool holds but we have reached a point now where we can look to push the envelope. Related to the above — What makes you different from other climbing hold companies? Team Response: The market is fairly saturated with a large number of companies. It seems everybody is nearly on par in terms of material, warranty and quality so it really comes down to design and shapes. At this point…

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Training Gains – A Female Climber Perspective

By Climbing, Gym Climbing, Staying Healthy, Training, Trip JournalNo Comments

We’ve been back in the Bay Area for about a week now and are on an edit Jumbo Love + gym training regime for the month. We are both feeling really weak right now since we barely climbed the past few weeks of filming, but are determined to get back in shape before we head to Wyoming in July. Current status: extremely sore, but hopeful because I know the training schedule I set for myself is solid. Here’s a piece I wrote for Mojagear.com (original here) last month on the training program we use as our guide – The Rock Climber’s Training Manual. Recently on The RV Project blog, I wrote about our perceived reality of living on the road (we are going to be climbing all the time = getting hella strong and crushing) versus actual reality (weather, work and travel commitments make it next to impossible to continue to improve at climbing without a plan). We’ve spent the past 3 years pretending like we had all the time in the world, that our lives were as carefree as our Instagram portrays. Finally, we’ve accepted our reality – coming to terms with the fact that we’re busy, really busy. And, furthermore, we want to be busy. Just climbing hasn’t gotten us appreciably stronger, we’ve both plateaued. The only way we thought we could break through is to regain some structure. We needed a plan, we needed goals, or we were going to continue to disappoint ourselves. As Spenser described, after a lot of research,…

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Larger Than Life

By Bolt Clipping, Climbing, MusingsNo Comments

The Elephant in the Room The past couple of days have been a bit of a blur. Most likely, if you’re reading this, you’re familiar with rock climbing. From that I’d deduce that you’ve heard the news about Dean Potter and his partner Graham Hunt’s fatal wingsuit flight in Yosemite (edit: read about Graham Hunt here). Many, many stirring tributes have been posted, and I’m sure that many, many useless internet comments will be/have been appended to those. I’ll leave the bulk of the eulogizing to those who knew him better, and I encourage you to spend some time studying Dean’s legacy. Yet even as I write this post, I can’t help but reflect on how influential he was to a younger me. I believe every child feels that he or she is somehow “different,” but parents and teachers and mass media cause us to become a bit smoother around the edges as we grow into adults. On one hand, a society requires a certain allegiance to order, but on the other hand, nothing good ever came from people obeying conventions. I remember hearing of Dean’s controversial 2006 ascent of Delicate Arch, and thinking that he was somewhere between a genius and a total asshole. But I remember thinking, and realizing that simple concepts like Leave No Trace aren’t so simple after all. Remember 1984, and how dull and grey everything was. Dean never lost his color. In a game without rules, Dean further defied convention by inventing entirely new games. Say what you will about selfishness or…

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Who’s Your Daddy? The Life of a Climbing Father

By Bouldering, Climbing, Guest PostNo Comments

Hi, I’m Andy White. I’ll pause for a second while you ask yourself, “who the hell is Andy White?” Well, in the broad scheme of the climbing world, I’m not really someone who’s all that important or well known. Yeah, I’ve penned guidebooks and magazine articles, have been part of a few bouldering film projects, have put up hundreds of boulder problems in our region, manage our local bouldering blog, created and organize our local, annual bouldering festival, act as head routesetter at our gym and get the opportunity to serve as an ambassador for some terrific climbing companies – all while performing my “real job” as a full-time teacher. Still, I know there are many other people out there who have done much of the same, while also crushing harder than I do. I guess what gives me something to talk about is the fact that I sometimes manage to do these things, with varying degrees of success, while also playing the all-important, and at times, climbing-antagonistic role of father. This madness all started a few years back, when upon our return from yet another carefree and blissful trip to Bishop, Staci and I found out our little family would be growing by one. After all the initial excitement and happiness, I have to admit, I started to think about how this would affect climbing… yes I have a problem. I’d seen many friends and strong climbers take a step back from climbing after having kids, and I was…

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Everything Real Big

By Bolt Clipping, Musings, Trip Journal7 Comments

For more frequent updates, video clips, and photos, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Also, there’s a little teaser clip at the bottom of this post. Enjoy! It’s truly hard to believe that we’ve been doing this travel/climb/document thing for over 3 years now. Year 1 was a bit of a dizzying doozy. Year 2 was when we first stepped into the world of semi-professional media. Year 3 was the year of Shit or Get Off The Pot. Year 4 is the year of Love. Jumbo Love. For the past 4 weeks, we’ve been living at Casa Mike in Las Vegas. Ethan, Georgie, Vikki, and myself are here with the main goal of going up to Clark Mountain and filming Ethan on what is arguably the hardest sport route in North America, Jumbo Love 5.15b. Side goals include Georgie sending 1000 Churches 5.13a, and myself sending Jumbo Pumping Hate 5.14a, both at Clark’s 3rd tier. What’s It Like Up There? Everything about Clark is bigger and badder. We are out the door by 8:30. It takes a bit less than an hour to get to the Yates Well exit, and another 30-40 minutes to drive the infamous 4×4 road to the parking lot. The Third Tier (AKA The Monastery, not to be confused with the several other crags with the same name) is less than a mile from the parking lot as the crow flies, but the hike takes about 40 minutes. The first section is an uphill trail of increasing steepness, leading to the…

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Relationship Redux

By Bolt Clipping, Climbing, Trip JournalNo Comments

Spenser and I have been together for almost 6 years and living in a 6×10 foot trailer for the last 3. Spenser carries the heavier things, primarily drives the truck, and snags things that are out of my reach. I do most of the cleaning, organizing, and picking stuff up off the ground. We logically took on these roles, and this seems to happen in every relationship, romantic or otherwise. We all play a specific role in our jobs, our friend circles, our families. Whether you’re the black sheep, the prom queen, or the jokster – you fall into a role, you become an expert, you form habits, and build patterns of behavior – and, even if these habits make you unhappy, they are still hard to break. Like I mentioned last time, you get comfortable and you settle into your part. Some people are happy and fulfilled in this comfort zone, others (like me) are not. I believe that you are meant to play certain roles – for example, Spenser will always be able to reach higher than me, as I’m not willing to wear to 12 inch heels, ever. But, there are other roles that I don’t want to be typecast to, comfort zones I want to get out of. Because of this, when we left for Spain, I had high expectations for myself. I didn’t want to relinquish myself to playing the part of the stereotypical bouldering fanatic who was terrified of sport climbing, and swore off ropes. I thought I had trained diligently and was ready to kick…

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Les Gets Lessons

By Musings, Road Trip Beta, Trip JournalOne Comment

As Spenser mentioned, we easily fell into a tranquilo rhythm in Spain. We certainly packed a lot in with filming and climbing, but there was never a rush. Maybe that’s why we missed our train to Bellegarde, France last Friday morning. We left our Cornudella apartment with plenty of time. We stopped for coffee with more than enough time. As Spenser went to go order a second round for him and Ethan, I felt a slight pull to leave. That old nagging feeling that we’ve got somewhere to be. Chug those coffees and let’s get out of here, I said with little urgency in my voice as I moseyed to the bathroom, not realizing that those couple minutes would make all the difference. Sitting in Barcelona traffic at 7:30am, the apprenhension began. Still sitting in Barcelona traffic at  8am, we realized we really f’d up. We arrived at the train station at 8:23am, the exact time they closed boarding for our 8:25am train. In preparation, we had said our goodbyes to Ethan in the car and we ran to the gate…both knowing it was likely futile. An hour and too many Euros later, we boarded a train to Paris. Both of us hate throwing money at a situation, but sometimes that’s all you can do. I was not willing to miss seeing my best friend since middle school get married, especially not because of our stupidity. After 13+ hours and a couple chocolate croissants, we arrived in Geneva exhausted. Neither of us slept much the…

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Projects, Projects, Film Projects

By Bolt Clipping, Climbing, Trip Journal2 Comments

The region of Catalunya is like a limestone analog of the US Southwest’s sandstone landscape, with flat-topped mountains guarded by sheer cliffs, a Mediterranean climate, and tall pines in place of diminutive pinyons. The result is a less dramatic but far more intricate topography, made more marvelous by the traces left by myriad cultures throughout the centuries. Wandering the harsh landscape around the Four Corners fills one with a sense of desolation. Driving the pleasant and hospitable countryside of Tarragona fills one with a sense of calm and well-being. Both have ample evidence of ancient human habitation, the former of the Stone age and the latter of every age from prehistory to the present. Above all, the Spanish countryside feels tranquilo. We have fallen into a rhythm here. We wake and make coffee, not too early and not too late. James Lucas, who sleeps on the couch, usually gets out earlier than us. We might do a little work in the morning, we might walk around the corner to the bakery and produce market where our California Spanish facilitates simple transactions and friendly smiles (Catalan is a complete mystery to us). We eat simply and generally healthily. When we feel ready, we pile into a small car and drive on small roads to Siurana, a small distance away. We warm up, we climb. We enjoy the spectrum of color as the sun sets over Cornudella de Montsant, and we pile back into the car to reunite with James. Sometimes we meet friends at one…

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