I found the leftover campfire smell soothing. Don't judge me.
Last Wednesday I hopped a plane and flew to California. To clarify, there was a lot more thought and planning involved. Twenty-five climbers, linked by twitter, met in the desert for a long weekend of climbing and bonding. I now call "Face Collecting" my official hobby. In the past year and a half I've met more amazing people than in the previous five combined. My "know in real life" list is long and out of date and I love it. My life is richer, and I am braver than I was before. This week in Joshua Tree was epic, and I wouldn't have experienced it without these amazing people.
11/11/10 - Thin Wall in Real Hidden Valley:
- Ain't Nothin But a J Tree Thing 5.6
- Almost Vertical 5.7
- Butterfingers make me horny 5.8
- Child's Play 5.10c
- The Eye 5.4
11/12/10 - Atlantis Wall in Lost Horse
- Men with Cow's Heads 5.5
- Solar Technology 5.7
- Ceremony 5.10c
- Vorpal Sword 5.8
- Fantasy of Light 5.10a
- Minotaur 5.7
Gun Smoke in Echo Cove
11/13/10 - Lost Horse
- The Swift 3 pitch 5.7, 10a finish
- Bacon Flake5.8 + lava and tarantulas
Headstone in Ryan Campground 5.9
Men with Cows Heads was the first thing I got on the next day. After a good 15 min spent figuring out the crux, then getting up the guts to commit, I sent it like a champ.
By far my favorite thing this trip was Saturday dinner around the campfire. 25 friends, 8 different conversations, beer, a telescope, and the glow of the fire. I gave myself a moment to back up and just watch. So many smiles. I want that scene burned into my brain. I learned lots about climbing this trip (yay cracks! Thanks Laurel!), but the biggest lesson was that people really are the most important thing in life. Sitting around the campfire I saw that - old friends (Peter, Dave, Rick) and new (EVERYONE ELSE!), friends from opposite sides of the country, from all different backgrounds, enjoying eachother's company. The climbing may have been great, but the people were even greater. If we strive and achieve, but we forget to love and value each other, our success is worth nothing. It takes effort to take care of our friends and our community, but it's worth the work.
It's worth every moment, smile, penny, phone call, email and tweet.