Wow. It’s been far too long since I’ve written a blog post. I’ve sat down many times with the intention of writing one over the last month and a half, but the inspiration hasn’t been there. My life has taken some exciting turns and I feel it’s important to bring everyone up to speed before I attempt to return to a more regular blogging schedule. So here goes…
After returning to Boulder from my trip to Fontainebleau in March, I experienced a serious low point in my overall motivation for climbing and for my direction in life. We all reach those times where our current situation begins to feel stagnant and for me, this time around, it was too difficult to ignore. After processing and confronting a number of potential issues, I settled on my current location as the primary issue. Don’t get me wrong, I love Boulder. There’s a reason that I lived there for almost 6 years, and I can’t say with certainty that I will never return, but let’s just say that I’ve grown tired of the “scene” for the time being. That sheltered, jaded attitude that we all joke about is real, and it can truly take the wind out of me sometimes. Relationships, both personal and professi0nal, change over time and sometimes not for the better. It’s a sad reality and it’s something that I’ve had a difficult time trying to swallow. But all things happen for a reason. As your perspective starts to shift and your motivations follow, new opportunities present themselves. Considering my options as I slowly began to extract myself from Boulder, a few truths became apparent to me. Traveling for climbing brings out the best in me and returning home after time abroad is less and less appealing every time. So why not alter the lifestyle for constant travel? At first it seemed impossible. Money and lack of constant work being the number one issue. But as the days passed and the number crunching commenced, along with a dash of creativity, the whole idea slowly began to seem more and more probable. Phone calls were made, proposals were sent, ideas were circulated, and in the end, the support of my family, friends, and sponsors sealed the deal. With this validation, I quit my job, put my car up for sale, and attempted to sell most of my material possessions. My ties with my current situation were severed quickly and totally. I bought a ticket to Cape Town, South Africa, a place I have always wanted to experience, and for the first time in my life didn’t buy a return ticket to the USA. It was stressful, uncomfortable, and scary, but also extremely fresh and exciting. We complain about our obligations in life, but it’s only when we rid ourselves of them do we fully realize how much they contribute to our stability. Moving forward, stability will have to come from other sources.
I’m sitting here now in the kitchen of our apartment in Cape Town. Living with me is my girlfriend Mary Mecklenburg, and our friends Paul Robinson, Alex Kahn, and Griffin Whiteside. The first leg of my new journey is well underway. We have all been here for around 5 weeks and lucky for us, we still have around 7 to go. We are currently exploring and developing the immense bouldering potential in the Cape Town area and capturing all the action for our new film titled Chasing Winter. It’s been a wild ride so far. Cape Town is well on it’s way to being one of my favorite places on earth. The food is dirt cheap and absolutely phenomenal. And the rock? My god. It’s ridiculous. I had no idea that such perfect solid, stone existed. Fontainebleau is really the only competitor. And the boulders are scattered for miles in one of the most beautiful settings on earth. Vibrant flora and fauna, perfect white rock, and immense blue ocean surround us. Inspiring bouldering projects are everywhere.
Topside from the front gate of the house.
Razor wire around the house…
False Bay from Echo Valley
Can you see me?
Table Mountain in the distance.
Paul Robinson before the First Ascent of Honig V13
Myself on the 2nd Ascent of Honig V13
When it rains and we can’t go climbing, we go surfing. It’s difficult and I suck at it, but it’s rewarding in many indescribable ways. The frigid water and constant fear of sharks is all very raw.
On the climbing front, it’s been a slow transition back into shape for me. The last few weeks in the US were filled with so much work and preparation that climbing, for the moment, took a serious back seat. I lost some strength, but slowly it has returned. And it’s that good strength this time. The outdoor strength. Highlights for me so far include a First Ascent of this immaculate roof that I dubbed “Inclement Summer” V12:
And a recent First Ascent of the incredible “Ground Swell” v13:
Both of these boulders will be featured in Chasing Winter along with a bunch of amazing First Ascents from Paul Robinson and the rest of the crew.
All told, I couldn’t be more excited for the future. In early August I will be traveling up to Germany for a week to compete in the Adidas Rockstars competition. It’s going to be a good one!
Upon returning back to Cape Town, the crew will be joined by the young Ashima Shiraishi and her coach and fellow climber Obe Carrion. I couldn’t be more excited to share our home and climbing days with these legends of the past and future. It’s going to be a blast.
On September 5th, Mary and I will be flying from Cape Town to London. Then it’s off to Lillehammer, Norway, for “The Battle”, a climbing competition that I am very excited about:
After that, it’s Paris for the IFSC World Championships where I will be representing the United States in the Bouldering discipline.
And then, it’s looking like Mallorca to experience the famous deep water soloing that exists on the island. Es Pontas still needs a repeat…
After that, it’s up to the weather. Maybe Spain for sport climbing and then Fontainebleau and Switzerland through till Christmas. It’s all up in the air. I’m open to anything and everything. Psych is high and anything is possible.
I will be blogging much more regularly, so stay tuned.