Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Learning how to Breathe

My parents are crazy and have no idea what they are doing
Look Daddy, my forearms are bigger than yours. Wanna arm wrestle?

Once again, It's been way too long since my last post, but who's really reading this mindless jabbering anyway. So... a helluva a lot has happened since my last post. Life evolves, as it should.
The big news is that Jack Muir, my son, was born a little after midnight with a full moon hanging in the Autumn night sky. Every day since his birth has been a blessing. The realization that I'm a dad never really hit me like I expected it would, instead it has been slowly creeping up on me and invading my senses, my conscience, my reality.
Just now am I coming to grips with the fact that having a family takes work and commitment. It's not just my life anymore, but rather, our life and that means rearranging my time, and my needs, and my wishes to suit the family. I'm still working on this time management thing and by no means have I even begun to figure it out, but one thing I know for certain is that in order to fit in my personal pursuits I'm going to need to squeak as much out of each day as possible. I've started tossing around the idea of forgoing my "morning time" (basically sitting in front of the computer drinking coffee and eating breakfast trying to come to terms with the fact that I have to go to work AGAIN today) in order to get a quick 30 minute workout in before work. Crazy huh? Possibly so, but I'm going to give it a try and see if I can commit and get it done. Routine is not one of my strong points but maybe at the ripe (and crusty) age of 32 it will begin to work for me.
Besides Jack entering our lives and continuing to shape it on a daily basis, the other big news is that I'm climbing again (albeit not nearly enough) and at a pretty respectable level. I honestly thought I'd never climb like I used to after my accident, not even close to it. But since June I've been steadily climbing a few times a month and have been able to climb hard 5.12 again, although not on a regular basis. Consistency is the big problem, but as Tracy continues to remind me, our life has tossed and turned around and reformed in something new and consistency is very hard to achieve under these circumstances. She is right of course, but still something inside me, always feels like I'm losing my game, as I soften up. Who knows, and what does it really matter really. One thing I'm grateful for and certain of is that given the time and dedication I can climb harder than I was before the accident. I just need to learn how to breathe.

Monday, February 1, 2010


It's only a matter of time before you hurt yourself if you spend a lot of your time engaging in "risky" activities. I've never felt that my lifestyle was reckless, or even overly risky compared to the average joe. But, now that I've hurt myself I guess I was really living in a state of denial. It's not that I pushed the boundaries of safety on a regular basis, in fact I was a fairly conservative climber considering my level of climbing and experience. But as I sit here, 3 weeks out from rapping off the end of my rope and severely damaging my wrist and hand, I wonder was it worth it? Like all climbers, I've been in sketchy positions on lead that should I fall things could go bad. I rarely wore a helmet, in fact I didn't even wear a helmet on Half Dome, El Cap, or any Sierra route I've done. In retrospect, that was pretty stupid. As were all of the solo climbs I've done. I'm not a huge soloist, but I've done my fair share of solos on everything from single pitch routes, to backcountry peaks, to sporty onsight solos. If Bachar fell, anyone can. I know now that if I'm ever able to climb again, I will never solo again. It's just not worth it. Especially now that I'm going to be a dad. Plus, I'm more in love with my wife than ever before and life is just too beautiful to fuck it away by rolling the dice soloing.

So what does the future hold for me? I'm not sure yet. I have virtually no feeling in my thumb, index finger, middle finger, and palm of my left hand. I have very limited range of motion of my fingers. I'm going to do my best to try to get back full mobility in my hand but somethings are up to God to decide. I just hope he gives a brother a hand on this one. While I've been injured I've lost an incredible amount of fitness. I'm getting fat and weak from the lack of activity, my self pity, and lack of motivation to do anything but drink beer, eat junk food and watch the tube and surf the net. I gotta change this if I'm going to keep any remnants of my old life. After all, I'm going to be a dad in 6.5 months I have to get my shit together.

Maybe this accident happened for a reason. Maybe someone is trying to teach me that rock climbing is not life, but rather life is life. Rock climbing and all my other outdoor pursuits fit into life but they surely shouldn't make up the bulk of my existence. Hopefully, I will heal up enough to climb again, to be able to paddle a kayak, to do yoga and lift weights, to monkey around on a tree deep in the mountains, to hold by baby, to be able to work on my house, and to take care of my beautiful wife. But hopefully the mental scars of this accident will never fully heal and WAKE ME UP to living life in balance. Never again will I take for granted an easy climb in the mountains, instead I will breathe in the beauty of just being able to climb and be outside. Never again will I push myself to do another 3 miles to get a better workout, instead I will push myself to enjoy my family, friends, and the experiences that life brings us daily. I've realize that my climbing and lifestyle was selfish. I spent way too much time focusing on climbing. Needless to say I've met some amazing people, seen some beautiful places, and have had many deep profound experiences in the mountains but I think its time to scale it down a bit. Life is too short to spend the better part of your years stuck in a wheel chair, or brain damaged, or perpetual back problems, or with a hand that does not function. Life itself is a great adventure, one worth exploring throughout its varied terrain, instead of being so singularly focused on summiting that steep peak in the distance.