9 days.

I am bubbling. My insides are not boiling, but there is a life to it that is more than just stirring. I am beginning to feel the excitement. I am not ready, as anyone thinking they are 100% prepared for any objective in their life, will be wrong. I can always be better, I can always be more prepared, and this can be as much as knowing what piece of gear to leave behind or bring. Intuition is key.

I am off my last ‘rest period’ on the weights, but I have been visiting the crag twice a week. I cannot say that my climbing skills have improved much. I have not been pushing it there, just focusing on leading routes 5.10 and under. I do not want to injure myself before my trip back to Alberta. I want to be more comfortable with ropes.

I spent January to March this year taking training as a job. I was off work, and decided to focus on my body and mind like I never had before. I hit the weights, trail ran, and climbed canyons in Kamloops. I spent about a month in Calgary. Bolder Climbing Community became my second home during this time. The hotel gym and pool was used, specifically the hot tub, but the bouldering gym is where you get strong.

I rehashed old injuries. I worked on my shoulder. I got the click out of my right ankle. Things felt good, and as I thought I was going to be back right then, but I wait. The timing involved with wanting larger summits is so necessary. Peak fever begins at home, on the computer screen. This temptation must be able to be settled then, for when you are sleep, oxygen, and calorie deprived, and you can see the glory staring down at you, decision making becomes a life and death deal.

I am training still. I will be training until the last breath I take. My life is the mountains, so I train and live in them. Running, biking, weights, yoga, meditation, cragging, and beta time are the tools you have to prepare. I use them. I am looking forward to hitting the road, so I train, I practice knots, I follow weather, and I will always better myself for the things I love.

Crag life can train the mind, if done properly.

Life is flying by at the moment. I have decided to branch out into the community in a new way and it is paying off.

My mountain career started with me finding a few friends in my Physics classes during my first years in university. I was invited on a few boot pack missions out to Rae Glacier in 2005, which lead to much more fun and a few glacier crossings on Robertson where I was tied in. I was not one for the social life, so I continued on my own years later, when my old partners had dissipated into the crowds. I was getting out snowboarding almost daily for many years of my life, and have clocked over half of a year on snow more before. Huge thanks to CUC in Lacombe, AB, and the summer hockey camps. Life in Calgary was different when I moved there at 18.

I thought what I had for snowboarding was going well, until I discovered REAL backcountry shreds in my adult years. Snowshoes, crampons, axe, and a board on my back was my deal through most of my University days. Having suffered a femur incident in 2004, I was done with handrails and running from security to get my shred on. I only wanted the powder. The issue was that I had no friends who shredded where I wanted to go. I was familiar with Kananaskis and had ventured to the Knob’s, Black Prince, and Tryst often. So that is where I went. Alone.

I took an in class avalanche course held at the UofC – long before actually taking my AST1, with The Snowboard Club, but missed the field day. The folk I was going with at the beginning of this had done countless drills with me, and we tested snow conditions. Ending up solo, and wanting to be safe, I would eye conditions like a hawk, dig pits, and turn around often. I found shreds that were more in the trees and not in any slide paths. This meant that I often had little baby shreds in places that most boarders, and ski touring folk, would not venture into. I stagnated my growth in the sport, but learnt a ton about mountaineering accidentally.

My solo life ventured into a quest to get my fear of heights removed again, and seeing all the easier trails and backcountry campsites in Kananaskis. I never used ropes again. I never got into bouldering again. I stopped any progression of up by removing community from my mountain life. As a result, I brought my band’s character into the mountains and blogged ridiculousness.

What is the difference now? My life is different as I have a regular community that I interact with as a human. I see the people in my life daily or weekly, in person, and hardly ever over the phone or internet. The people I get to climb with a few times a week here are amazing. I was holding on to such a large fear of not being included, for so long, that I had segregated myself from my peers and the people that I shared beta with. The community that I did not allow myself to be included in, has now become the highlight of my days.

My time at the crag, learning the craft, and practically practicing ropes is just half of the dance that climbing is about. I hated climbing with another’s eyes on me, and only liked climbing with one or two friends I knew. Now I love the banter, the coaching, and all the tips that I can get. Life at the crag is ALL at the moment. My training there has an effect on both the mind and the body. I am looking forward to my journey to the Columbia Icefield’s in the next few weeks. And I know I will be ready. Tomorrow, is another day, with more training. Train daily for the things you want to succeed at. Just find the Balance in it. Train your body as well as your soul. And reach for it with all your heart.

One month.

I have been writing, and it has been corrupted. The blogs I write never get posted and I feel like it is not completely my fault but something screaming at me from my subconcious to wait. It is one month until I am in the Columbia Icefields, and that means it is crunch time for training.

I finally made it to the local crag, the Esler Bluffs. I was told the entire day how the place was special to the long-term locals. How it holds a spiritual meaning almost, as their centre of community. The crew there is small and they are a tight family of support and strength. I was honoured to be invited and thankful for the belays.

The life here is simple. The people work, mostly for natural resources and government/park relations, and they climb. They care about the community and the well being of the land. And I stick out as a newcomer.

I am a newcomer to climbing, and a newcomer to the town. I currently am not working, just volunteering while training for my passion and my fun. I am treating this training for alpinism as a job, and take my time at the crag as a blessing. I have not settled in a place since moving into my car in 2016, and am more than ready to be back to reality.

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I have not been discussing my physical training much here, as I am not an expert in Kinesiology. I do discuss my training for the mind. As the spiritual journey of self and perseverance associated with climbing is half of the game.

The balance I am finding daily in my life is found as I follow my intuition and instinct. I am looking forward to visiting the crag again tomorrow and working on my skills in a practical way. The cycle that brings new experiences and challenges also brings healing, and my time of solo meditation is done. It is my time to move forward with respect and an open mind. I have one month until I begin my climbs in the alpine.

Meditation to centre

Finding the centre. Finding the Balance. It all begins with self. For most of us it is about dropping the ego. For few of us, it is about learning the worth of preservation.

The aspects of alpinism that involve the psyche are hard to train. The more you try, the further you will be from achieving the zone that is required to move with elegance. The ‘zone’ is the same as opening your third eye.

The ability to open yourself to the life around us is within. It can be trained, and it lay within the subconscious. When in the zone, movement becomes fluid. Anticipation becomes second nature. And the intuition to solve problems and move on is provided.

After I had wrapped up my duties for the day, I went to the local park. It was dead. The date dawned on me and it being the last 4:20 where cannabis would be illegal in Canada, I knew that the majority of the people I would want to reach today, would have their head’s full of crazy ideas about sticking it to the man.

I grabbed Black Beauty and headed up Fox Mountain. It has been a few days since my runs have taken me up there, as I am holding off for more snow to melt on those trails, and was not even in search of a view. I was seeking solitude.

The chilly Spring breeze that provided me with the spark to dig into myself was there. The smells of flora breaching the litter was around me. The sounds of the town below were muted. I found my peace.

Looking within leads one to let go of the experiences holding us back. Letting go is a huge part of the cycle. Life moves on. Move with it, or you will be left behind. Relax, for whatever you left will be revisited. You will not be the same, and that is always a great thing, as it provides us with the ability to grow.

Challenging yourself in the gym, on the trail, or at the crag, is only part of alpinsim. I am training my mind. I am also training my fingers. It has been 3 hours outside, and I am writing. Barely moving and meditating, but now it is time to write. It is time to share.

I don’t know about having a gift of anything in this life, but I do believe that training and determination goes a long way. I am training myself to stand high, and write about my journey. I hope it reaches you, as it reaches within me.

Step 1: The plan for April

My plan for April…

I screwed my April. I had the hope to move forward with nothing. I planned too many steps ahead, lost a ride. Couldn’t pull nothing off. It worked out. There is always a path. There is always a way. I have set myself up in firm ground. There is climbing nearby. Cliffs to rap and play. Trail running from my door. I found home.

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I have some work here, and time to train and write. Despite my initial ‘plan’ not working out, I found a way. In this case completly turning around and bailing. New plan. Firm ground. Courses in June. Meditate, train, act.

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