Wednesday, October 5, 2016

What Time Is It?

 For the last two months I’ve been going through the motions.  I haven’t really put a lot of heart and soul into my climbing; instead I’ve been pantomiming a routine that I grew so accustomed to during my projecting phase that I felt lost in its absence and too lazy to think of a new one.  I had a lot of fun bouncing around Squamish on the occasional weekend, even getting a chance to explore a crag closer to home that I had never been to called Miller Highlife (easily one of the coolest and most unique little crags I have ever been to).  I wanted to reaffirm to myself that I could indeed still onsight 5.12 and it worked out here and there so I was pleased and was able to get that quick fix I was looking for. 
I think the consistently poor nature in which I kept training and neglecting to rest set me up for some potemtial physical burn out.  The training routine I had been involved in over the summer led to some incredible gains in strength and power endurance for me which ultimately led to sending my project, but instead of taking a well-deserved rest after the send I kept going (burning the candle at both ends you might say).  In retrospect this was not a smart move for me.  It’s never smart to keep doing the exact same exercises for months at a time with no rest.  Because of my inability to slow down I’ve acquired what I can only describe as a possible case of tendonitis in my forearm/elbow region.  I’m not entirely sure that’s what it is, maybe it's muscular or maybe I just need to take a couple weeks off, but there is definitely something going on.  The upside is that I can still climb on it, it doesn’t hurt while I climb (yet), the bad news is obviously that I will need to take some rest soon and we are right in the middle of the ‘good’ season here in the PNW; although looking at the extended forecast and out my immediate window it certainly doesn’t feel that way. 
This is all to bring up a topic that I don’t think gets discussed much in lieu of casting a brighter spot light on ‘sending sick hard projects’ and dominating competitions.  I never really hear that much about professional climbers ‘resting’ (even though there have been a few recently e.g. Jimmy Webb, Alex Puccio, Shauna Coxsey) although the way these guys go through PT and training it’s almost as if they were never hurt in the first place.  Rest to someone like my self – skiddish, paranoid, weak minded- is like the sound of death rattling its scythe outside my window.  Which loosely translates into: I’m scared to rest because I think I will lose ALL of the strength it has taken me so long to build up!  Which is really a silly way to look at resting but a way in which I think most climbers at my level view rest.  I’ve been climbing for almost a decade now but really I have only been ‘training’ for climbing for the past two years, the point being that my approach and experience level with training is immature and undeveloped.  I’ve certainly stumbled across a lot of exercises that have propelled me forward in climbing physically, but I haven’t yet built my experience up in a way that includes a cyclical approach to training and progression.  Instead I have more of a ‘free-market’ type of attitude in which my brain (the shareholders) want to see quarterly profit gains (higher and higher numbers) at the expense of, well, anything and everything (my poor aging body). 
This certainly isn’t sustainable, for me or for the free-market economy (let alone the planet earth we are destroying for it).  It’s quite hard to step away from climbing when it seems to encompass everything from what you enjoy doing to how it shapes you physically and mentally.  It’s the one and only thing I truly look forward to doing during the work week and it’s what I base a lot of my weekend plans around.  To just stop the routine introduces a small amount of dread into my life, but it’s not an overwhelming prospect. 
Amidst all of the angst I feel about taking a small break there lies a lot of relief as well.  I’m psyched to take a step back for 7-10 days and truly let my body heal itself.  I was having this ‘rest’ conversation with my friend Erich and asked him what he does as far as cyclical rest goes during his constant training cycles expressing to him that my anxiety around resting came from feeling that I would lose so much of what I had worked so hard to gain.  He said ‘Oh yeah man, you do lose it!  BUT, it comes back and you end up gaining more than you previously had.’  Words from a wise man indeed.  I always end up thinking about THIS weekend’s trip, or NEXT weekend’s projecting session and never think about the long game (the trip at the end of November, what next ears project is going to be and how to train for it, etc).  Its’ comforting then to talk with someone who has had a phenomenal season so far and know just from his experience this year alone that resting will make you a stronger climber.  It needn’t be so taboo or dreadful to think about, resting needs to be incorporated into climbing and training for climbing as a serious part of the art of progressing. 

Jeremy Zachariash on Chronic (8a)
JZ just moved back to the NW after having spent a stint in Vegas.  He's pretty much done every hard line in Washington, so lets hope he gets psyched and starts establishing some new shit!

Erich Sachs working the moves on The Whore of Babylon (8c)
Erich has been having a dream season with a quick ascent of The Sickness (8b+) and a FA of Unsung Heroes another 8b+!  He's putting in work on Lost Horizons (8b+) now and is hoping to complete the triple threat of 5.14's by the end of the month.  Nice work Erich and congratulations on becoming a father!!

Erich Sachs working the moves on The Whore of Babylon (8c)

Sean McColl runs a 60 second speed lap of Pulse (8b+)

A wayward para glider sailing in from a jump off the Chief

An unknown climber on Aborigine (6c+)

Wind surfing on the Howe Sound

Morning sun rise and Mt Geribaldi

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Standing Watch

We followed a road.  Where it would lead us we knew not.  It curved and snaked its way through a valley split in two by a river that, like most rivers ebbs and flows.  This river slithered through the valley bottom like a curvy silver Chinese dragon.  The forest floor was thick with the sweet smell of decay, of new life; soft and porous like a sponge.  We approached the river at a bend, its placid surface a deep emerald green, in sharp contrast were boulders as white as bleached bones strewn haphazardly amongst the river banks.  Up into the forest we ventured.  Following a drainage our path a tumultuous jumble of granite blocks polished to a fine grain, as smooth as glass.  The burnt orange bodies of Autumn, curling inwards, the satisfying crunch underfoot, the sound of their heavy contribution.  We aimed upwards, massive granite walls meeting their crescendo in the heavens towering above us.  The lighthearted transition of the seasons abundant in every step we took.  Farther up this small depression we went until it narrowed to a comfortable niche.  The other side of the thickly forested valley could be seen and splitting it in places like beautiful scars were pieces of wind hardened granite and cascading waterfalls.  A quilted patchwork of almost vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows wove their way across our view.  We were home. 

Warming up on a fantastic 6c+ called 'Welcome to the Good Life'

There were even hobbits up here!

Just one of the many opportunities to go horizontal on Disorient Express (7b+), so many roofs here!

Kevin on Welcome to Highlife (7a+) a varied climb that kind of has everything.

Nick climbing through bulges and Big Leaf maples on the extension to Welcome to Highlife (7b)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Winter is Coming


Oh my.  How time can truly fly.  Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind (Nathaniel Hawthorne).  Clocks slay time…time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life! (William Faulkner).  As if you could kill time without injuring eternity (Henry David Thoreau).

And nothing could be truer than the spirit these quotes embody.  I find it absolutely fascinating how time can exist in one moment and then cease to exist in the next.  The moments that filled the last three weeks have ticked by like the clocks in Faulkner’s quote.  But eternity blankets those moments in which we have forgotten ourselves in nature and in love.  The early mornings in which I find myself being pulled from sleep and a warm bed are not filled with the rising suns light anymore.  A small shift is not far off, I can feel the air changing and the true season for climbing is beginning.  What could be more exciting?!!    

 Kevin about to launch into getting a good highpoint on Lost Horizons (8c)

I’ve been sitting on my thoughts and updates of my comings and goings for the last few weeks and finally a good friend of mine requested that I post something, so here it goes.

After the ‘big send’ I felt an enormous amount of relief.  All of those feelings of inadequacy and doubt that had latched onto my psyche during the projecting process faded away and I was left with clarity.  That clarity lead me to Squamish, a land so inexorably beautiful and magical that it’s odd to not want to immediately move there upon visiting.  I had fashioned a groove so deep in my weekly routine that walls had started to close in on me and the only way to break out of this rut-like trench was to turn my focus to onsight climbing.  It was like a breath of fresh air.  For the last three weeks we have made two trips to Squamish and one trip to an old crag where I cut my teeth as a new climber (Exit 38’s Nevermind wall).  All three trips yielded some good onsights and even better some great opportunities to work on this highly elusive and difficult to cultivate skill.  Here in the NW we have a ton of rock but due to other obligations, seasonal fluctuations, and/or travel troubleshooting sometimes it feels like we have very little.  You run into this problem in Squamish as well, but when you do get those good weather days and you find yourself in the heavily saturated rocky corridors of the Sea to Sky Highway it’s very easy to get hooked all over again. 


Justin working the complicated and pumpy yet beautiful sequence on the bomb-proof rhino-stone of Lost Horizons (8c)

What I’m trying to say is that onsight climbing is easily my favorite style of climbing and one that I have been historically terrible at.  The last few trips to Squamish and the subsequent new rock has absolutely enlivened me.  Onsight climbing is fraught with nerve wracking self-doubt and high expectation and the best part about is that it sucks you into being present.  It is absolutely a form of meditation in a way that differs from project climbing, hard redpoints or otherwise.  After you get a couple good ones under your belt you feel the momentum of confidence and all you want to do is go for more.  If I could just quit my job and go on the road for the next year and visit all of the amazing sport crags this country has to offer I would no doubt be in heaven.
On a side note, the coolest thing I got to see in Squamish was Sean McColl at the Big Show doing a speed lap on Division Bell.  It literally took him under 60 seconds to climb from the bottom to the top, sheesh.  Not only is he an extremely fit dude he is also a really humble and funny human being.  I love it when that happens.

Summer abruptly came to a close here in the NW.  While we were in the throws of some uncomfortably warm temps we lamented Fall's crisp embrace, yet now that it's gone I look back on those sun-saturated days spent bathing in the warmth of the lazy sun and regret I did not spend more time working in the garden, lounging on the porch or basking in the power of Prometheus's glow.

 The weather for the last few weeks has also not been ideal for hard climbing.  With temps reaching into the low 90’s on more than one occasion seeking shade at new crags has been a welcome reprieve from the sweltering heat.  But now, as I alluded to earlier, we are facing the beginning of the Fall climbing season!!  Starting this week the clouds have moved in, the temps have dropped, and looking around I’ve noticed those Fall colors starting to creep across the bright green façade of summer.  It's this time of year that gets me into the mood!  September is meant for climbing, okay, maybe September AND October, but with the oncoming weeks' temps forecasted to be in the mid 60's it's hard not to think about sending a project or two. 

Ruth aiming for a repeat on the classic Aborigine (6c+) on a baking day at World Wall.  We were in the shade all afternoon on a day where the temps reached a high of 92!  Yowza!  That's hot anywhere.  But surprisingly the climbing was legit, except for a few near encounters with lazy hornets, we had a pretty decent session.
Steven Dimitt, the man with all of the beta you'll ever need to know about Smith Rocks came up for a brief visit and a casual send of Technorigine (7b+), also on a sub par condition day.  He donned this bright red shirt nonetheless and sweated up this ultra-classic 95 foot route just so I could snap a couple shots of the send.  It was awesome to be at the anchors as he chugged up the last few feet sticking the high step with nail biting anticipation and letting out a deeply held breath of success.  We will be seeing Mr. Dimitt this weekend for three days of rhino-stone wrestling, get psyched!!
And then there's beer.  Awwwww, delicious beer.  I've tasted a lot of good IPA's this summer but I'm nominating Reuben's brewery as the producer of my favorite IPA of the season, their Summer IPA has been hands down my favorite.  A close second was Bale Breakers' Top Cutter IPA.  Although, in the end, it doesn't really matter what you happen to swill, as long as you are in good company, the sun is shining, and you can relax on your backyard deck surrounded by massive trees and a beautiful garden.  Heaven.

SO proud of this woman.  We will see some good stuff from her in the years to come. 
I finally dedicated a weekend to doing something besides climbing.  My amazing older brother had a birthday in late July and in early August we swooped him up and made him walk the slopes of Mount Doom.  It had been almost exactly two years since I had summited Mt Rainier and returning to it's door step at Camp Muir with two of my favorite people in the whole world was rejuvenating.  It was also a perfect day for a long hike. 

Embracing my faves at Camp Muir with Mt. Adams in the background.

This Summer has seemingly been all about some sort of progression.  Progressing physically and mentally on the rock by sticking it out through mentally-trying high points and subsequent failures on hard projects; to pushing through those barriers and sending.   To trying new routes, getting scared and vulnerable on onsihgts and getting a renewed perspective on climbing on new routes in new areas.  And finally learning how to train in the gym without getting hurt but at the same time getting stronger.  I think the best thing to come out of the last 8 months has been my ability to recognize when to push it and when to rest.  I credit this approach for all of my success in climbing this year and I look forward to refining it even more.  Of course I’m sure now that I’ve written about it my next post will be on the harrowing injury I sustained to my finger/shoulder/wrist whilst training, typical karma.  My plans for the upcoming climbing season revolve around three places: hard projects at Little si, onsight climbing at New Halem, and bouldering  in Leavenworth.  Let’s see how it goes. 
Happy start-of-the-climbing-season to you all, I hope everyone reading this is of course surrounded by people who love them, inspire them, and motivate them to be something they didn’t believe they could be.     

Friday, August 12, 2016

What We Tell Ourselves

As soon as I relinquish my unyielding grip on outcome and success I end up getting what I want.  Certainly not an intuitive practice.  Climbing is not just a physical game, we all know this.  Yet, we spend so much time in the gym beating our heads against the wall and torturing ourselves over hangboards, campusboards, circuitboards, and every other kind of board you can think of (until you’re actually bored) in the hopes of becoming stronger than our projects.  As if all it takes to get to the next level is strong fingers?!  What an insult to this beautiful game we play.  Climbing, in fact, is the king of games.  It combines danger, finesse, raw power, cunning, logistics, intelligence, foresight, a high pain tolerance, obsession, masochism, and a balance between peak mental readiness and ultimate physical performance.  To play this game well you have to let it pervade your life, your diet, your social choices, your time commitments, your geographic location, and your ability to sacrifice money/time/relationships/and ego.  Climbing is all encompassing and defining, when you embrace it and make it a passion you can truly understand something deeper about yourself and ultimately the world in a purely holistic sense.  I know how easy it is to dispense euphoric hyperboles post triumph but I would still feel the same way even if I hadn’t sent this season’s project (Porn Star at Little si) just a day ago on August 9th, 2016. 

Riddled with guilt for calling in sick (when I clearly wasn’t) I lay in bed counting the minutes until it was time to go.  I followed all of my usual ‘get ready to climb’ rituals, ate the same breakfast burrito from PCC market, drank the same Synergy Kombucha, and ate the same pint of blue berry’s.  I already felt this divine sense of failure growing in me.  I stood in my boxers staring out the skylight in my room, watching the low lying clouds cluster around some unknown peak to the east and gave up all expectation.  I didn’t feel any stronger than the day before, I didn’t come to some eye-opening life-changing realization the night before, and now I was regretting missing work to give myself over to the process of this project.  I started to develop some weird feeling of animosity towards the route and the decisions it had made me make.  It was too late anyway, so I exhaled a deep sigh and with it my expectation of sending. 

I climbed into my car and felt pain in my shoulder, a soreness that hadn’t been there the day before when I was resting and getting ready for another round.  Meh, just another reason why today isn’t the day.  I drove lethargically east heading to the crag, not really feeling the playlist I had selected, not really thinking about...anything.  I felt kind of tired honestly, and when I did make it to the trail head I felt hungry and ready for a nap.  I hiked up without music, not really paying attention to any one detail of the trail, a trail I have hiked too many times, and will continue to hike too many times into the unforeseeable future. 

I arrived pouring sweat and again thought ‘it’s manky and humid, not the day for sending’ and let my back pack slump off my sore shoulder. 

While I climbed I went from feeling defeated and tired to feeling energized and alive.  I crouched onto one foot mid crux and casually reached up to the credit card crimp on my warm up of Flatliner.  I fumbled the next move sticking  a shallow undercling with two fingers and tried to readjust.  I fell.  But I felt amazing.  I lowered to the ground and was buzzing, I felt the warmth of some kind of strange energy encompassing and saturating my entire body.  I no longer felt tired or disengaged.

My first go of the day was high energy and a bit jittery.  It’s as if the rock itself was giving off some kind of life sustaining energy that magically propelled me upwards.  I greased right off the two slopey opposing sidepulls that define the crux of Porn Star feeling strong but nervous as well.  I’m used to it, this isn’t going to happen today.  I slumped in my harness for a quick minute and then sailed the last boulder problem to the top, a dance (or ritual) I had grown far too accustomed to engaging in.  Nothing is going to change, I’ll just have to wait for those crispy/sticky Fall sending temps.  I had given up, or I had given myself permission to give up, which was okay because it was a ‘lose a battle to win a war’ type of give up. 

It was a cloudy Tuesday afternoon in August.  Most of the climbers at the crag that day were donning puffy jackets or pull overs, while the actual climbing demanded shorts and no shirts the waiting room required slightly more insulation.  The rock was cold, there was no breeze, and it was busy.  Much busier than I had thought it would be on a weekday.  I liked it this way.  I began climbing and it didn’t feel like anyone cared.  I was able to fall into my own rhythm.  I felt pumped at the top of Aborigine (sheesh), and then even more pumped after the short little sequence of Techno just before branching left into the start of Porn Star.  I did the initial boulder problem and got to the enormous jug rest.  I looked up at the sea of draws hanging listlessly.  My inner dialogue went something like this: “You have no chance.  This is just another one hang, just do me a favor?  When you get to the crux just try hard this time okay?  You don’t have to send but at least try hard!  Just try to get a little farther than your last couple of burns.  It’s okay if you don’t send, you won’t send anyways, you’re too pumped, you’ve felt so much better than this on other burns and you didn’t send, this is definitely not the send burn.”

Not exactly motivational, but it’s really what was going through my head.  I launched into the meat of the climb.  I was a little more pumped than usual but I was also a little more relaxed.  I reached the apex of the climb, a small rest before one last boulder problem.  I grabbed a brick shaped slpoper and instead of over-gripping I just let my hand relax as it stuck to the hold without budging.  I grabbed an incut crimp and shook my other hand out.  I swapped a couple of times and then said “fuck it” and executed my sequence.  Instead of feeling like everything had to be perfect, instead of giving up because I stuck the first hold wrong or I didn’t like how my foot felt on this tiny sloping jib of a foot hold, I just climbed and continued to climb.  I perched on the slopey brick shaped hold from the rest and flagged perfectly, reaching up effortlessly for a small crimp, I felt so good I shook out my right hand before switching it to an undercling.  I wasn’t over-gripping myself off the climb!  I made an across the body move with my left hand and rolled casually into the pocket just beneath the jug.  I grabbed a good right hand crimp, adjusted to a better grip in the pocket, jacked my foot up on a slim foot hold and reached out to the finish jug, finally breaking my casual defeatist attitude with a yell that no doubt grabbed everyone’s attention. 

What happened next is hard to write about.  I kind of monkey chugged up the easy 15ft to the anchors and had a somewhat out of body experience when I actually clipped the rope through the anchors. 

I began working this route back in October of 2015.  I spent a couple weekends on it figuring out the moves and making some links.  I came back to it at the end of April in 2016 and worked on it pretty heavily until Memorial day weekend where I came very close before wet holds prevented any more progress.  I came back for the 4th of July weekend and made even more progress falling at the pocket below the jug.  I tried so hard that weekend for four days in a row but couldn’t get it done.  The pressure was unbearable.  I took a month off, I doubted myself, I day dreamed, and I finally just got back to training and tried to not give a fuck anymore.  August 9th, 2016 I finally made what had previously been an almost daily day dream and visualization a reality.  All the screaming and yelling that ensued as I was lowered was just a release.  Like steam gradually building up behind a release valve the process this route had taken me through had built and built, sending was the final piece before triggering that emotional valve to open.  All of the time spent thinking about my sequence, training for the route, wondering if I was light enough, strong enough, or just plain ready for the climb came pouring out of me in whoops and yells.  I wanted to take my shoes off and fling them into the forest, I wanted to strip down naked and run to the top of Little si, I wanted to chug every beer I had brought and collapse in a heaving pile of relief, I wanted to grab everyone on the ledge and bear hug them at the same time.  I felt empowered, overjoyed, and relived all at once.  It was almost too much to handle.  I had to calm down quickly though.  What set me off the most was just how unexpected it all was.  There had been several times before this where I had felt stronger, the conditions had maybe been a little better, I had executed sequences more efficiently; but in the end none of that mattered.  I had spent so much time trying to convince myself that I needed to be perfect for this to happen, that I needed that ‘black swan’ moment in order to make it to this level.  But it was all just a fallacy.  What I had really needed was to give up my stranglehold on not allowing myself to make mistakes.
I hope everyone reading this is in good health, good spirits, and are surrounded by people who they love and who motivate them to be completely imperfectly perfect human beings. 


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

No Flex Zone

What an amazing season it has been so far.  The temps have been outstanding, we have had more good weather windows for sending than I can count on both hands, psyche has been high, and even the rock has been mostly dry or dryish.  But, as with all long drawn out struggles, sometimes you have to admit defeat (temporarily) and wait for an even better time to strike.
Last week I took about 7 days off from climbing (which is a lie, I actually climbed one day out of seven but it was in horrible conditions, the first all season).  I ate a ton of good food, drank a pretty decent amount of delicious beer, and poured sugar down my throat in the form of ice cream, gelato, doughnuts, cookies, and those little 'fun' size milky ways.  Oh man, it was a regular fat guy pig out marathon.  I loved it.  I took some time off from climbing not due to an injury, or because of bad conditions, or emotional problems; what I needed was just a break from the routine.  Climbing is and will always be a grand adventure packed with every kind of emotion I always hope to experience for the rest of my life, it is for lack of a better word what I love to do.  Projecting within climbing is a different beast.  And I had found myself with my head in that beasts jaws too many times in the past months struggling to keep them from closing around my cranium.  Wake up - eat breakfast - drive to the crag - hike to the crag - warm up - project - project - project - hike to the car - drive home - repeat.  And during the weekdays it could be even more monotonous when you throw a highly rehearsed 8 hours of cornea shredding desk jockeying on top of training and watching what I eat.  Ugh.

So it came as no surprise when my psych hit the floor, then sunk through the floor in an oozing gelatinous translucent blob only to come to rest on the cold cement of the basement, festering and steaming.  In the middle of an intense projecting season you need something to keep you going and if you don't get that 'something' it's very easy to just fall off your horse midway through a call to arms.  It can be even more daunting, then, to feel at the top of your game and still not feel as though it's good enough.  So I didn't exactly take my ball and go home, instead I just heard the siren song of a different game and decided to follow the tune. 

After a nice little hiatus from training/projecting/climbing I found myself at the tail end of this pseudo vacation craving the movement of it all.  It filled my veins and my mind and I got that lovely itch again to get back into the gym and back on the rock.  There is really nothing better than feeling that renewed energy to get after it.  I'm spending the next five weeks trying to get realigned with some goals I set for the beginning of the season in hopes of executing those goals when Fall starts.  The temps are looking a little heinous this week but it doesn't matter.  I've still got some tricks up my sleeve and hopefully by training in a humid gym on highly chalked holds I will emerge from this sticky sweaty womb as a mutant ready to send something hard.
All photo credits belong to:

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fantastic Frustrations

Tara reaching on her warm up of the super classy Clear-Cut.
It was nearing 9:30 in the morning as we slowly rounded another bend.  My face hurt from wearing the frustration and stress of the last 16 hours.  I wasn’t sure if this beat being at work (which is where I was SUPPosed to be) or if this was somehow more of a punishment.  The crunch of a gravel road freshly wet from an overnight rain was amplified by the fear previously instilled in me from the events that had just taken place yesterday evening.  There it was.  All of a sudden I could feel the anxiety and fear melt away and an ending to this story could finally ink the pages of my brain. 
When we met a paved road again I was ecstatic and couldn’t help but think about the overreactions, frustrations, anger, resentment, and unwanted feelings of insecurity and ego-based hang ups I had to experience in order to finally get to this point.  I learned a valuable lesson: always carry two spares in your car. 
Tara 'the Crane' Kerhzner.
The last few weeks I’ve felt a little like what a meth addict must feel like.  The constant pull to enjoy something fleeting yet tedious; eye opening yet horrendously overpowering; manic yet calm.  It’s always hard to pin  point that exact time when a project turns from something you look forward to doing and know you can do, into something truly daunting and insurmountable.  The mind can play tricks on you, and after a while you can start to feel like a dwarf in the depths of Mirkwood: 'Is there no end to this accursed forest?' said Thorin. 'Somebody must climb a tree and have a look round. The only way is to choose the tallest tree that overhangs the path.'  But even the tallest tree can prove difficult to climb if you don’t have the will to find a way up and out of the stagnation of your idle third eye. 


Feel the moss, LIVE the moss!
It has been extremely refreshing then to meet a couple of fresh faces and see what new motivation and unbridled confidence looks like (as a reminder).  Meeting the Kerhzner’s and managing to pervade their personal climbing space for the last few weeks has been truly a gift in the middle of what has turned out to be a somewhat stagnant and unsuccessful projecting period for me.  Greg and Tara go together like Gin and Tonic (which is why I believe they got married, so their bath towels can have G&T monogrammed on them).  Both light hearted world-traveled disciples of the millennial generation, they ooze an Alobar&Kudra-esque persona while managing to sample every classic at every crag they magically appear at.  In fact, the comparison of the two to the Tom Robbin’s characters is so startlingly apt that I’m prone to believe that I’ve been hanging out with a thousand year old couple originating from the loins of Bohemia and the trunk space of India.  If climbing is the new youthful approach to shirking death then these two will live forever.  But impressive feats of strength aside they have more to offer than sick sends of high numbers, like witty insights on climbing culture, Russian paradigms to help you transcend weakness, Juju, friendliness, IT support, a killer truck bed, and most of all you feel like your back in 7th grade again and that they just ‘get’ you. 

Is that a Rooftop Brewing tank top????
I’ve had a consistently comical time while getting to know them and all the dance marathons, logging road break-downs, manky hiking Tyrolean traverses, and deep-fried Oreos aside, hopefully they have had a good taste(deep-fried) of what the PNW has to unwillingly offer.  It is on that note that I wish them nothing but the best on their next chapter of wayward globetrotting.  Adieu mon ami’s!  I hope the gelato is plentiful, the rocks are soft, and the couches have removable seat cushions. 

Greg launching into the overhang before starting up Voodoo.


Kevin with some girls gone wild motivation.


Kevin on Baby on Board.