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Doing the Alsatian Swirl..

This is my story and I'm sticking to it.

Diary Entries

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Location: Boulder, USA

So I finally have something I feel I can write about......

Just got back from 5 weeks of climbing on the Greek Island of Kalymnos. Belinda and I had an amazing time. It seems a bit weird to travel to europe 3 years in a row to climb at the same place, but in the end I'm glad I did it that way. The first 2 years I was all alone and spent some energy organizing partners and dealing with them.
This year, I had BJ and we planned everything out and it was really mellow. We climbed hard, rested hard, ate hard, and drank hard. BJ and I both met our expectations in climbing and are happy to be free from injury! It was trip I dreamed of having.
Plus we got to spend our 1 year anniversary exactly where we met and BJ's birthday.

Friday, 27 October 2006

Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA

Alas, after travelling last summer I tried to cancel this webpage, but it obviously never happened. It was fun to re-read old entries.
Since July, BJ turned her whole summer and trip around to come visit me here in Boulder for five weeks. We climbed and/or ran for 34 out of 35 days. Ate a lot of good food, drank alot of good wine, ate alot of nachos at Mountain Sun and Kind-Cripplers to wash it down. She is in Spain now studying Spanish at Isla and we are meeting for 10 days at Thanksgiving to climb in Red Rocks and hang out in San Francisco. This is a layover for her on her way back to Australia.
But lo and behold, she has also decided to return to Boulder in January to reside with me till I finish my ph.d(hopefully in August) and wherever it takes us from there.
What a crazy year!! One minute I'm getting my head put back on straight in Kalymnos and the next minute "the crazy Australian" is moving in with me.
I am both ecstatic and scared at the same time.....kind of like being runout on a slab route. As usual, I'm going for it. How the hell else could you live?? Being scared all the time? It's the same as being dead to me.
Special people don't come along that often. It's important to recognize it when they appear. Fear and regret blind the vision you need to see such things, and it takes a ton of work to keep your eyes clear...but as usual with work such as this, the payoff is tremendous.

Thursday, 20 July 2006

Location: Boulder, CO, USA

Alas, being in Boulder isn't quite like being on the road. Especially since I have an apartment for the first time in several years. It feels nice. My belongings have dwindled to nothing and I moved into my new place in under an hour.
Climbing and running here is so much different than any other places I've done these activities in. Every one is so intense here, it can be really daunting at times.
It has been pouring down rain here for the last hour. Luckily I got off the rock early enough to miss being hit by this storm whilst climbing.

Thursday, 13 July 2006

Location: USA

Thinking today about the people who come into our lives and what their entrance means. There is a Taoist(or Buddhist) saying that is: "when you REALLY want something to happen in your life, the whole world conspires to make it happen." The problem lies in realizing that what may seem like a setback might actually be a leap forward. It's our job to read the clues and act when its time to act and sit when its time to sit.
I say all this because things are happenig so quickly, and the bit of anxiety I feel I hope is healthy and right. Trusting someone you barely know is that leap.
Hopefully a net will appear from somewhere.

What an obtuse entry! For those of you who know me, this probably makes sense.
For those of you who don't, good luck with the translation.

Today I return to my spiritual homeland.....Dream Canyon. If you are a climber and you travel to Boulder, it is the best place to climb around. 400 foot granite walls. Primarily bolted. Dominik and I are climbing Autumn, our favorite route. 3 pitches with an insane exit move 400' off the deck( 140 meters).
Just being in this particular area is great, especiallly in summer. It is 1000 meters higher than Boulder and most of the cliffs are shady throughout the day.

until next time.....

Wednesday, 12 July 2006

Location: Boulder, CO, USA

Ah, back in Boulder. After a half day of travel, Ian picked me up at the bus station and we went straight to Mt. Sanitas. The skies were of course threatening a thunderstorm, so we hiked pretty fast up to the top.
For most of the hike it was thundering and some bits of lightning flashed. It rained and it was amazing. Quite a homecoming.
Tomorrow it's off to Dream Canyon for a bit of Autumn and a bit of the Vanishing.

Sunday, 09 July 2006

Location: USA

I have been working continuously since my last entry. Something like 18 days in a row. Every morning I wake up and row, swim, bike, and or run. Sometimes more than one.
In two days time I am headed back to Boulder. Every time I get ready to leave one place or another, I always get a little weird.
So much is happening all at once, I guess moving around alot just adds to it.
I will miss SF, as usual....

Sunday, 25 June 2006

Location: SF, USA

Another day in Paradise #3. The fog has returned, and mornings on the bay are amazing. Whether I'm swimming, running, or rowing, it's all good.Especially when the foghorns blow. I have to work the next 10 days, so mornings are my life for now. I have finally made the jump into making sushi.
The rice is a pain-in-the-ass, but I'm getting it.
Cheers for now.

Wednesday, 21 June 2006

Location: San Francisco, USA

Another beautiful morning in San Francisco. I love riding my bike through the city seeing all the morning people doing Tai Chi in the park. Some of the older folks are sitting in wheelchairs and leaning on canes while they're doing it. It's so wonderful to see old people with smiles on their faces staying healthy at an advanced age.It gives me hope.
Anyhow, I haven't been climbing since the 7th and am beginning to miss it a little. I am off this Saturday so I think I'm gonna ride up to the Turtle Rock and have a bouldering session. There is a huge traverse you can do over and over again.
The water has warmed up to 58 degrees, which feels like a bathtub compared to 54. Oh yeah, after Turtle Rock it used to be my routine to take the ferry back to San Francisco. The one that leaves from Belvedere isn't a commuter ferry, so it moves much slower and tours Angel Island...makes for a great day.

Sunday, 18 June 2006

Location: San Francisco, USA

At work....last night I made sweet potato risotto. It's a pain in the ass, but you actually dice sweet potatoes into the shape of rice and then cook it using the risotto method.
It is quite luscious. I layered it with sauteed chanterelle mushrooms and seared scallops. It's nice cooking with no budget. I could never afford half the stuff I make for my employers.
Anyways, I'm trying to upload some more photos.
Cheers for now..

Friday, 16 June 2006

Location: San Francisco, USA

Another gorgeous day in SF. Have been waking up really early to get the morning glass on the bay. The water temps are absolutely freezing, hovering around 54 degrees Fahrenheit. I can hardly believe there was a time I could spend over 2 hours in water at that temperature....I'm lucky now if I can spend 10 minutes. Of course I couldn't climb 5.11 in those days....cycles.
A guy who knew me in those days told me I recommended a book to him 6 years ago called The Haunts of the Black Masseure. It's one of the first books written about open-water swimming. When he brought it up I remembered a funny story from it. In the middle 1800's the English and Germans only swam using the breaststroke, with their head out of the water. No splashing, very noble-looking. They invited some Aussie Aboriginals to join in a swim race, and the Abos used a stroke the Germans had never seen before, now known as the Australian Crawl, or freestyle in Olympic Competition. The crawl is really splashy, and the Germans thought it was "barbaric" and very "uncouth", and "reflective of the type of people who were using it." But anybody will tell you breastroke is worthless in the ocean, and the Abos kicked the Germans and Brit's assses in EVERY SINGLE EVENT.
I love that story.
Needless to say, swim events were split into categories soon thereafter.
Today I've been thinking about deep-water soloing in Ha Long Bay in Vietnam. It looks amazing in the video.

Thursday, 15 June 2006

Location: USA

So here we are, Summer 2006 in Kalymnos. The night I arrived in Kalymnos I went straight to the Glaros Bar. While having my first Mythos and asking Steve if there was anyone he knew who needed a partner, 4 Brits that I climbed with last year turned from their table and said hello. In a matter of 5 minutes I had a partner, a room, and a beer.
A few days later I met Monica, who was going to be in Kalymnos for the whole of the summer, so I thought my partner situation was settled. She got injured soon thereafer, and I started climbing with Matt and Elizabeth. Matt is an Aussie who owns a hostel in Gryon, Switzerland and Elizabeth is a West Virginian who is living at the hostel. They are a really cool couple, and the two and half weeks I spent with them really made my trip great. Matt and I had the same projects.....and got shutdown on the same stuff. He is funny as well, and will be a friend for life.
It was during our time together that the route Aphrodisia overtook my life. In passing, Dave Musgrove told me to try it. Both Matt and I got obsessed with it. I tried it on 5 or 6 separate days and took huge whippers on it. It wasn't until BJ came along that the thing finally fell. It got the point that people I didn't even know in Kalymnos were asking me if I sent it!
Of course after I sent BJ onsited it. Along with Les Amazones to the left, and Nabuchasourus to the right, both equally as hard.
The woman is a machine, and when you watch her climb, she is so relaxed, it's almost looks like she's not even trying.
I also put in a few burns on Remembering Wadi Rum, a route that I led on the second day of effort. A really cool thing about returning to an old area is doing routes that couldn't do the year before. For me that included 5 routes in the 6c+ range.
The trip ended with a 9-day stint with BJ and the Aussie/English gang. Ange, Cal, Christian, and Rosie.
Every time I travel alone I get caught up in the lives of these groups of people who have their own history.
And before you know it, I'm part of the history. It's what makes travel alone so special.
I often wonder what a trip to Kalymnos with Dana and the boys would be like? Climbing all morning. Laps to Telendos with Ian. Trying to get Dominik out of bed before 10 a.m. Drinking mate and capps....I love those guys.
Well, I left Kalymnos a very happy person with a worked-over body. Back in San Francisco, it's nice to be working a little. Swimming in the bay every morning. Sculling on the bay, riding my single-speed aroung town. there isn't a single neighborhood in this amazing city I don't have some memory of. A good cup of coffee, sushi, movies, pizzas, old friends.
So now I'm up to date. Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, 14 June 2006

Summer 2005...well, on April 25 I completed my number theory oral comprehensive exam which pretty much ended the "hardest part" of my ph.d. With my coursework I was pretty much ABD.
I left for europe soon thereafter and headed for Kalymnos. My time in Kalymnos was fantastic. I met a bunch of cool people and had my first taste of limestone and tufas. Unfortunately, I didn't spend all that much time on the overhanging stuff. At home, we climb alot of slabs and I feel pretty comfortable there. I kind of forgot the reason you travel is to expand your horizons and try stuff you can't do at home.
I remedied that this year.
But nonetheless, I had a blast climbing, swimming, and hanging out at the Glaros Bar. I actually swam to Telendos and back as well.
From Kalymnos I flew to Milan, ate a bunch of pizza and caprese salads, drank 500 cappucinos, and took the train to Cassis, France. Cassis is the home to a climbing area called The Calanques. Through my friends in Boulder I met Dominik. But we only got to climb once in the states before he left for a one-year post-doc in Davos, Switzerland. So when we met in Cassis, even though our group of friends were the same, we hardly knew each other.
We had an absolute blast! Climbing over the med, drinking wine and eating smoked salmon every night. Capps in Cassis.We did some cool multi-pitch stuff. There are some pix posted on my work website at under the heading Partners in Crime.
From Cassis I became a tourist. Went to Florence, hung out in Nice, flew to Ireland. Belfast was definitely the coolest part of Ireland. Would love to tour Ireland by bike....hell, all of europe.
When I came home I went back to San Francisco and worked again, just like this year. Swimming and boating in the bay. I began training for The Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon which I did for the 5th time in October.
So, I hung out in boulder all year. Climbed and swam and ran and hung with my posse. And decided to go back to Kalymnos in 2006 for 5 weeks. Only this time, my focus was meant to be steep tufa routes and projecting. And projects I found.....

Tuesday, 13 June 2006

Before I write about the South American trip in summer 1999, I have to mention my mom was diagnosed with cancer in August 1998. She passed 7 months later on March 30, 1999. Some of the more negative people in my life found it odd I was willing to travel all summer while in mourning, but I knew my mom well enough that she would agree with me on the trip.
While in Bolivia I wrote a family history, with what little information I had at the time. Since then my uncle has helped me to fill in some blanks.
Anyways, I went. While in the mountains I did 3 major treks. Instead of following the route that most americans took in South America, I chose to do a bunch of research and choose my own routes. I also carried my own gear, as opposed to hiring burros to carry it. At the time I realized I created a bit of trouble for myself, but after doing 10 days without seeing a single non-Bolivian on my non-standard trek, it was obvious the work was worth it. I only wish I was into photography then, as I have only 5 photos from that trip.
South America(and Bolivia especially) was/is amazing. I would love to go back and add climbing to the trekking.
This was also the first time I travelled where I knew I was coming home to a job and an apartment and money in the bank. It created so much space in my head for thinking about life, I was able to do a lot of work inside.
Amazing trip.
The next few years I did little travel. Working on my master's degree in the hell-hole they call San Diego. I did go up to Canada and visit my uncle in British Colombia.Did a bunch of running, a bit of bouldering, etc.....
In 2003 I moved to Boulder and get seriously back into climbing. There are around 4000 routes within a 10 mile-radius of the town-center. The running is fantastic as well, with 100's of miles of trails.
I spent 2 summers climbing in Boulder and working on ph.d prelims. In 2005 I realized in needed to get out again, so I spent the entire summer in Europe and San Francisco. My first leg of the 2005 Europe-trip was Kalymnos....and I haven't been the same since. But I'll save that story for the next installment.

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