In front of us, grey pads the size of lunch trays were suspended along four lines of wobbly straps.
The main climber finds the perfect project, battles both physical and psychological hurdles, comes to some kind of internal peace with the whole process, and eventually sends the motherfucker. Part of what makes these stories enjoyable to read is that hard routes can bring out some really important, but not always obvious lessons.
The true, lasting meaning, we like to say, is found in the friendships and partnerships that we build while pursuing our climbing goals. Climbing is either a beautiful gift or a curse.
Friends and climbing partners are fleeting, too. This is a story about the day we sent Logical Progressiona big-wall route in Mexico. The experience was incredible because I was with three good friends: Justin died in Nepal in And Kyle, along with his partner, Scott Adamson, vanished while climbing on a remote peak in north Pakistan a year later.
I think about Kyle and Justin all the time. Their absence from this world is felt by so many who are left in a wake of confusion, anger, and frustration. In many ways, I am still processing what has happened to my dear friends. Waves of sadness overwhelm me at times, making it hard to stand up or focus.
At other times I am able to think only of the enchanting adventures, contemplative conversations, and the simple yet enriching moments we shared as friends. These pendulum shifts between various emotions will never go away, as I am starting to learn.
I see both light and dark in climbing. Through this recognition, true learning begins and a full awareness of the brevity of our time becomes clearer.
If we only take the surface level experience—endlessly chasing the next hardest project, the next most futuristic alpine objective—then, in my opinion, climbing becomes too much of a selfish pursuit.
Maybe the most genuine aspects of any tale are the sputterings and the silences, the acknowledgments of failure, the glimmerings in the dark.
Perhaps by doing so, we might find some light illuminating a new way forward. Maps, candy wrappers, and rollies are scattershot across the dashboard. We have been pushing the pedal with relentless enthusiasm since the Nogales border crossing just south of Tucson.
The road is so dark that even the yellow median lines seem to fade in and out of the headlights. Massive potholes devastate my shocks and jostle my entire body, adding to the paranoia I feel about driving at night through narco country. My head buzzes, and my eyes are having a hard time distinguishing between the shadow-life and reality.
Looping around a large switchback, we are suddenly confronted with the blinding floodlights of a military roadblock dead ahead. Bottles of tequila and Carta Blanca lay on the ground around the entrance.
Five armed police pour out of the shack, and quickly approach our vans, rifles in hand. The men circle our caravan, establishing a perimeter of space. One comes over to my window. There is a strong scent of tequila on his breath.
They are walking among the guards, calm as cucumbers, handing out packs of Marlboro Reds and porno magazines. The guards look pleased with the offering. I follow suit and step out of the van. Kalous, perhaps being a couple decades wiser than the rest of us, seems hesitant. He lingers for a few moments then joins the party.
Kyle lights a cigarette. He takes a long drag, then blows a set of impressive smoke rings that get the policemen to loosen up.Here is the best place to find Sarracenia photos. This site is supported by donations to the International Carnivorous Plant Society.
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Hayden Kennedy, Chris Kalous, Kyle Dempster and Justin Griffin take on Logical Progression (a), a big wall in Mexico’s Copper Canyon. In the wake of tragedy, however, the .