Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy Holidays!

The holidays are starting to bring out the "Martha" in me.

I found an idea for juniper wreaths in her magazine, and made them with my own little twist.  Tommy even helped.  :)
They were perfect place setting decoration for Christmas Eve dinner

when we feasted on this yummy turkey!

We were lucky to be joined by family.
(L to R: my brother-Will, my mom-Sundee, Tommy's Parents-Terry & Mike)

Tommy and his dad carved the turkey and we enjoyed each others' company and good food.

Christmas morning we thought we'd try something different and gave whole grain waffles a shot...not too shabby either.

Then it was off to my dad's for Christmas day dinner.

He was making his special BBQ ribs, and sharing with Tommy his techniques.

After Christmas we ventured down to the Denver Zoo to check out the Zoo Lights.

We've been having fun spending time with my brother and his new fiance!  
Add another one to the family!

And in the midst of all the holiday chaos, we can't forget to celebrate the birth of Wills.
21 this year....yikes!  I remember when he was just a baby.

The Only Thing Better.....

than Christmas...

Is a WHITE Christmas!

Just before the holiday got here, Estes got some fresh pow.

 Tommy and I prefer not to pass up a powder day at Hidden Valley

so we loaded up the car and drove into the park to make our own tracks.

It was beautiful, and not bad considering all the resorts were bare.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

valley update...

I briefly mentioned Kevin's ankle injury in last weeks post, thinking it was just a little hiccup and after a few days rest he'd be back and crushing on the project.

It is really sad to say that the ankle injury on the dyno pitch sustained last week will end Kevin's season on the Dawn Wall project.  Kevin writes more here.  Tommy is super bummed, but feels he needs to keep forging on, and is doing so with Kevin's blessing.  I have been filling in, and as of now, will be belaying Tommy for part of the push (along with his dad and hero, Mike Caldwell).  Yikes!  I've never spent more than 3 nights on a wall, so the thought of 10+ nights up there is a little intimidating, but I'm really excited to be up there and to help out.  This project has shaped our lives ever since Tommy and I started dating a couple of years ago - while Tommy decided to give the Dawn Wall a further look to see if there was a possible route that could be freed with Big UP Productions and Corey Rich for the climbing film Progression - he told me he liked me and the rest is history.  :)

TC climbing in the dark on pitch 10.
It's amazing having the opportunity to spend time on the wall with Tommy as this is his place.  Watching Tommy climb and function on El Cap is kind of amazing.  I joke that he functions better up there than down on the's first nature for him.  The way he climbs specifically on that grand wall just confirms that this is what he is supposed to be doing.  Obviously I'm a bit biased since I'm married to the guy, but I think anyone who has had the experience of being up there with Tommy would confirm it.  The fact that he has free climbed 11 of the 14 free climbing routes up there  and freed 2 El Cap routes in 24 hours would also confirm he knows how to do it.  (I'm bragging here, but I think the next person in line for freeing El Cap routes is Thomas Huber at 6 routes.  In my own naivety I didn't realize free climbing El Cap was so hard that not that many people have done it...I thought people did it all the time.  I was wrong.)  Okay, I'm done, but it's kind of awesome!

so happy to be in the portaledge finally at 12am!
Back to the project.  This one is really hard, and Tommy has been feeling up and down about it; super positive, and then a crux pitch will shut him down and he'll feel really discouraged.  The other day when we were up there I felt like his relationship with El Cap was kind of like that with a crazy woman - showing him love one day and then fighting him and throwing him off the wall the next...and he just keeps going back.  I know that he wouldn't be up there if he didn't think it was possible, I don't think I'd be up there if I thought he wasn't capable, and I don't think you all supporting him would be rooting so hard if you guys didn't think it was possible.  We are all hoping for a send, and if it's going to happen it's gotta be this season.  Let's all keep cheering him on, and show him he's not in this one alone!  And no matter what happens I know he'll finish having fought the good fight.

We are on the ground today and possibly tomorrow, then back up to give the crux pitches some more time.  If all goes well, we'll rap to the ground, prepare for the project and hopefully start the push by the 31st.  Since I'll be up on the wall with Tommy I'm not sure how updating via the blog will work so keep checking back or else check in here.  Thanks for all of the support!

i love hiking up the east ledges.  : /
taking a break for dinner before it gets dark.

tommy moving himself and the portaledge to the next pitch.
On a side note:  We went to the 50th Anniversary of the Salathe last night featuring Royal Robbins and Tom Frost, and it was quite fun!  Tommy enjoyed catching up with Tom Frost, and Royal snuck out for dinner before we could say hello.  What great men, a great route, and great history.  It made me so happy that we climbed the Salathe this past spring and I knew what they were talking about.
Tom and Royal with Tom's photo in the background.

Tom and Tommy.
we splurged and i celebrated the 50th Salathe anniversary with an El Capitini at the Ahwahnee.

Friday, October 14, 2011

almost one week ago...

Tommy picked me up in Fresno after an all nighter drive with my dad.  

We left Colorado in this:

At 2am we came across this:

Not Paris...this place:

 Dad thought we should try our luck at the slots and I ended up with this after putting $5 in the machine:

After the all night drive and meeting Tommy in Fresno I finally arrived here to sunshine:

And we got to meet up with this guy (COOPER!!):

And we went climbing with this guy (KYLE):


And I got a nice butt shot of Cooper climbing at the Chapel Wall!

TC was belaying very attentively

Then we went to spot TC on an evening bouldering sesh - he just can't stop climbing in the dark.

Then TC and KJ went back up on the wall to work the crux pitches and one afternoon I jugged 1100 feet up this wall:

Got to give my husband a kiss as he waited for the shade to come and cooler temps for climbing

Chatted with Hector in between his phone calls:

Watched the parties on the Reticent wall and the Dawn Wall aid climbing

And snapped this pic before rapping down a few hours later to go climb Reed's Direct!

Then I met up with Stacey (photo unavailable) and we ran 12 miles and practiced placing gear on Munginella (a 3 pitch 5.6!)

The guys came down, TC a little bummed after having trouble on the dyno pitch and KJ with a sprained ankle from the dyno pitch.  
Spirits were down, but I had spaghetti waiting which helped lighten the mood some.  
KJ is seeing his amazing PT today to get things worked out and the guys hope to get back on the wall this weekend.

In the meantime, we made breakfast burritos,

and TC spilled his latte all over the van floor.

The week has flown by, but I'm so happy to be in the Valley!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


i saw this picture

and all i could think of was chicken.

but i've always been intimidated to cook this white meat.  
i HATE dry chicken...or any dry meat. 
but i'm scared to undercook poultry.
so...what do i do?  


i saw that picture.
i couldn't resist.

i googled around for some recipes
searching desperately for something exactly like the picture.
there was always something off in the recipes.
feeling bold i decided to try and throw things together and hope for the best.

and voila.

i totally surprised myself!!
(and when i stuck the meat thermometer in, juice oozed out...not one bit dry)

pretty basic, but delectable roasted chicken and veggies:

use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
rinse the chicken in warm water
rub a really light layer of butter on the skin and sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper
put olive oil to barely cover the bottom of my pan
chop up potatoes and carrots and toss them in olive oil and a little salt
put the veggies in the pan along with 5-ish cloves of garlic chopped in half
lay the chicken on top of the veggies and put fresh rosemary and thyme under each thigh
put some cherry tomatoes tossed in olive oil around the chicken
pour some french red wine over the chicken
put it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes
check it and add a little more red wine if necessary
cook for about 20 more minutes (give or take) to get chicken to at least 165 degrees.
serve up and enjoy!

Friday, September 30, 2011

i love fall colors...

Fall and the elk are in their prime in Estes Park right now.

 The other evening I couldn't keep myself away from the colors so I went for a stroll in the park and brought my new point and shoot camera.  

I always remember fall being beautiful, but each fall I am blown away by the vibrance of the aspens and the beauty.  My mind can never keep an accurate picture.

On my stroll I found this tree.  It looked like it was doing chair pose, and I couldn't help but snap a photo.  Don't you agree??

Ahhhhhhh, morning view from the bedroom.  Beautiful.

And this guy's bugling is responsible for waking me up.