Rocks Rock

When I finally finished designing the basics of my website, I had a large set of photos with which to choose it’s content from. The hard part was whittling it down to a few that I thought were “website worthy”. Now, after a couple of months of giving myself some time to critique the website with a little more of an objective eye, I see that I’ve indeed been remiss in including photos of rock climbing….lots of ice, just no rock.

Well, that is something I endeavour to remedy in short order. Rock climbing has long been something I do whenever the opportunity has arisen. I’m by no means a world class climber, but I consider myself pretty solid at the moderate grade level (trad, sport and ice) and truly enjoy the processes of climbing. Sounds cliché I know, but it’s true. And to that end, I’ve written countless essays, missives, epistles and short stories about why I’ve chosen to pursue these shenanigans associated with vertical world. But I will spare everyone another droning communiqué on that subject.

Anyhow, to begin to rectify the lack-of-rock-climbing-photo situation on my website, I’ve fortunately got a couple of climbing trips coming up in the next few weeks.

First, Jason and I are heading to Taos, New Mexico next week. I have a secret spot out on the West Rim of the Gorge where I’ve camped for years. Although extremely flat and vast beyond reasonable comprehension, I have unobstructed views of the Sangre de Cristos to the east and the Jemez to the west. And just a few meters from my super secret campsite, the Taos Gorge falls hundreds of feet down a sheer rock face to the Rio Grande River below. To rise before daybreak and sit on the rim with my coffee waiting for sun to rise is in a word, magical.

A couple of weeks following the Taos road trip, I’ll be heading to Moab, Utah to hook up with the First Descents organization to photograph young adults attending a climbing camp. I first crossed paths with First Descents a few years ago but have just recently got re-acquainted with them. Strange how it happened actually, but since then, I can say that I’ve seen a side of goodness and giving that I haven’t seen in quite some time.

First Descents is an organization started by Brad Ludden (a truly awesome guy and I’m certainly privileged to call him a friend) that offers one week kayaking, climbing and mountaineering camps for young adults with cancer. It gives everyone attending the opportunity to take on stiff but achievable challenges, meet people in similar situations and give them the building blocks to overcome fears and accomplish goals. It’s also a format to gain back some self confidence that may have been stripped away by this horrible disease.

This past weekend I attended the First Descent Ball up in Beaver Creek. I was in all honesty completely blown away with the outpouring of support from the community, past participants and individuals alike. Contrary to what you might think, it wasn’t a complete downer of an evening only focusing on the negatives of cancer. Instad, it was a sincere celebration of the battles being waged, the successes won, and yes, even a celebration of the battles lost. It was probably one of the most humbling, eye-opening and uplifting evenings I’ve ever had. The people at First Descents ARE making a difference, a big difference ,and I was happy to be a part of it.

Okay, that said, I am stoked to be able to go to Moab and hang out with my friend Karen and the other peeps from First Descents as well as all the campers. There is no doubt they will inspire me, humble me and teach me a thing or two about truly living in the moment and genuinely appreciating life. And it will certainly be my privilege and honor to be able to be there with those guys and try to capture some images of the emotions, excitement and energy of the week.

With these two events on the horizon, it shouldn’t be long until I have a ton more photos to sort through for consideration to include on my website. I think I’ll probably change the tab title that is currently “Alpine” to “Ice”. I’ll then add another tab called “Rock”. 

Rocks rock any way you look at it, but sharing them with old friends and new friends alike always makes them just a little more special.

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