Sunday, August 28, 2011
Clarity In Motion
The mountains have always been my refuge but this trip was less about the climbing and more about finding my own balance. Life knocks you off your feet every once in awhile and regaining that balance can be a struggle between family, friends, love, work and your own issues. I have managed over the last few years to keep both feet on the ground which leaves balancing life a very easy task but also allows great things to pass me bye when Im not willing to take risks. I have taken my fare share of risks in the mountains but those risks are always rewarding no matter the outcome. There are so many other risks to take in life and I have recently learned I dont seize these opportunities and overcome my fears I will never know the rewards. Life and climbing are much alike and even after 12 years of climbing Im still learning.
The sky burns with brilliant flames over my head as the mighty Tetons cast a canopy in front of me. Starting with a lightly lit trail leading to the heart of the Grand Teton I begin the nearly 6000ft elevation gain into the darkness. Headphones on and blazing trail I make it to the lower saddle around 11pm and also got some bonus elevation gain due to getting off route (rookie move). I reach the warmth of my sleeping bag and my body begins to shutdown with only one thought remaining in my mind, to re-boot in the morning.
Stevo (Stephen Berwanger) had been in the Tetons for a couple days getting his first tool swings since the 2011 Bozeman Ice Festival where he completely blew his shoulder out on Black Magic. Stevo loves ice and and will chase it no matter what month it is and this time his chase led him to the Tetons. We decided to hook up for a day of ice and rock and we got every bit of what we asked for. We had the Black Ice Couloir on our mind but once we saw there was no ice in the bottom and were told it wasnt worthwhile anymore we decided to climb the Enclosure Couloir and then climb the Northwest ridge of the Grand Teton to the top.
The morning started off right!
I have heard the stories of the Valhalla Traverse and it lives up to everything I have heard. The quality of the dirt is much like soupy potatoes and the rock is similar to a bag of chips.
Stevo enjoying his second day of throwing his ice tools. The smile on his face could be seen from Idaho!
Almost a thousand feet of icey goodness.
Climbing 5.7 in ice boots always makes you feel a little less highly about your skills as a climber
Stevo shouldering the load and pullin hard on that newly purchased shoulder
Mommas dont let your kids grow up to be climbers that get caught in lighting storms. We got lucky to find a place to dive into while the lighting storm passed. Nothing like climbing with lighting rods (aka ice tools) on your back high on the mountain. I will upload some great storm video soon.
This was just another great pitch of climbing with some fresh sun after the storm
My turn to carry load and find some friction in my ice boots
Stevo "Take rope not pictures Mulkey"
Clarity is much easier to chase then it is to catch and perhaps we are never meant to fully find it, the journey it which we seek it defines who we are. My love and passions have taken me to some spectacular places and I believe the best is yet to come I just hope that place is ready for me!