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reflection

Men come and go, cities rise and fall, whole civilizations appear and disappear- the earth remains, slightly modified. The earth remains, and the heartbreaking beauty where there are no hearts to break. Turning Plato and Hegel on their heads I sometimes choose to hink, no doubt perversely, that man is a dream, thought an illusion, and only rock is real. Rock and sun.

Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

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Note: This is an old post whose content was created for fun, with little to no proof-reading or editing. Please read this post keeping that in mind.

While we had a blast ticking off lots of 3-4 pitch moderates at Lover’s Leap, what Emmanuel and I were really psyched on was going to do long, easy , committing routes that summited substantially tall peaks. Emmanuel already had a bit of experience doing this, but the most intense thing I’d ever done in that category was Cathedral Peak in Tuolumne the prior summer… and I followed the entire thing. So, I had only one way to go- up! (pun intended)

We made a list of routes we thought we might like to try with the help of Peter Croft’s “The Good, the Great and the Awesome” and Supertopo’s second edition of the High Sierra Climbing guidebook.

One of the most classic and easiest routes in the High Sierra is Crystal Crag. Crystal Crag is situated right above the Mammoth Lakes Basin and gets you above 10,000 ft but with very minimal commitment. The approach is way shorter than most in the guidebook (45 min) and there are only three pitches. It can easily be done in half a day. For someone totally new to the whole mountaineering realm, it seemed like a great way for me to get my feet wet.

View of the Mammoth Lakes Basin from the North Summit of Crystal Crag- check out the white  chunk of crystal rock!

View of the Mammoth Lakes Basin from the North Summit of Crystal Crag- check out the white chunk of crystal rock!

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Racó de Misa, Montsant at sunset
Can you spot the climber?

Note: This is an old post whose content was created for fun, with little to no proof-reading or editing. Please read this post keeping that in mind.

My trip back to Spain started off in a rather rocky (pun!) way to put it delicately. After a very stressful last week of school that involved studying for final exams, frantically repairing all of my apple products that conveniently decided to break at the same time, and shoving random items into my backpack and calling it “packing” I showed up at SFO , ready to put the stress behind me and start on my epic spanish climbing adventure.. part deux.
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Note: This is an old post whose content was created for fun, with little to no proof-reading or editing. Please read this post keeping that in mind.

Last week sucked. I had a lot of tests to study for, essays to turn in, a training schedule to try to stick to, field trips to attend and bureaucratic paperwork to slog through. I was overwhelmed and when Friday finally came I had one of my longest days yet; I was up at 6:30 AM and didn’t come home until nearly 12 hours later at 6 PM. Strangely, despite my exhaustion I did not sleep well that night. I spent half the night tossing and turning, half of me debating going through with the plans I had made to go to Tahoe the next day to try Penguin Lust (5.12c, 7b+) again. It was supposed to be cold and windy and I was not looking forward to making the drive up there. But, winter was approaching and soon we would set our clocks back an hour and the sun would set at a horrific 5 PM; “this weekend may be my last chance to go to Tahoe before spring”, I thought.  I began to visualize the moves of Penguin Lust in my head and pretty soon my psyche was quickly restored and with a thermos filled with coffee I again was on the road to Donner.

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A few days after my surgery. You can see my wheelchair in the background;
I’m so glad to be rid of those space boots. Recovering from the surgery
in the end was the easiest part of the entire experience
Note: This is an old post whose content was created for fun, with little to no proof-reading or editing. Please read this post keeping that in mind.
Yesterday I finished my final exams here in Spain and now I can look forward to two months of traveling and, above all, climbing. It’s hard to believe that almost a year ago I woke up with excruciating foot pain after what had already been the most challenging six months of my life. I took the quarter off and lived from doctor’s visit to doctor’s visit unable to run, drive, walk my dog, climb or even run basic errands. The pain consumed me and I fell into a depression and became a shell of my former self.  I lived from diagnosis to diagnosis, hearing words that terrified me, words like “neuropathy” , “Lupus” and “permanent nerve damage”; words and vague statements that threatened to change my way of life forever. Four months passed without an answer or relief and I was beginning to doubt that I would be well enough to leave the country in January or even to live a normal life at home. Then, in the middle of November, after countless doctor’s visits and tests, I was finally diagnosed with compartment syndrome, a rare ailment that only requires minimal surgery to cure. Read More