Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Valley Update 01

We just arrived in Ventura, CA to the Patagonia Headquarters for a few days of meetings for Tommy and some sun and sand for Fitz and I.  It’s crazy to think we were roaming around the valley floor in Yosemite for 2 weeks before we got here.  The weather was perfect for Fitz and I during the day and evening temps were great for Tommy and Kevin on the Dawn Wall. It looks like the temps will have dropped when we return, which will be ideal for Tommy and Kevin’s day missions.  Tommy says he has been feeling great working through some of the crux pitches.  Not giving many redpoint burns yet, but getting reacquainted with those tiny holds and precarious movements.  I’m really excited to see what this season holds! 
Rest day bouldering (that's right...I said rest day).  Everyone captures the shot of Alex Honnold cruising.
 While the guys have been 1,200 feet up the wall Fitz and I have loved our time on the ground.  Our days have been filled with a lot of dirt, trucks, sticks, rocks, giggles, and exploring.  Yosemite really is a kid’s paradise.  I’ve gotten to get out bouldering a bit, too, which has been awesome.  The recent baby boom has been apparent amongst the big Valley boulders.  We’ve had days with up to 5 little boys milling about.  With all of the social time Fitz has figured out how to assert himself and decided that he doesn’t like when other kids take what he's playing with.  So begins the battle of sharing.  It’s been interesting to see him start to navigate the social scene.  He is a spunky, independent and determined little man.  I feel lucky I get to be a part of watching him grow and develop first hand.

Breakfast in Upper Pines

El Cap Story Time with Uncle Alex and Aunt Stacey.  Theo and Fitz are riveted.  

Rocks, Sticks and Trees, Oh my!

Boys in the boulders.

More friends!

Super Daddy!  Tommy giving 2 mamas a break and taking on the kiddos!  I'm one lucky lady.

Running wild in the woods!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tommy and Alex Strike Again

Tommy received a text from Alex Honnold as we neared Mono Lake on our way to Yosemite asking him if he wanted to free El Corazon (5.13b, 35 pitches) in a day.  (Side Note:  When Tommy and Alex get together some pretty cool stuff usually goes down.  They did the Triple Link Up - free climbing Mount Watkins, El Cap, and Half Dome in a day - in the Valley a few years back, and this past winter they did the first ascent of the Fitz Traverse in Patagonia, Argentina).  Tommy immediately said "no" because it was Dawn Wall season and he wanted to stay focused.  With some quick convincing from Alex and about 2 minutes of thinking Tommy couldn't resist.  He had been mostly bouldering and hang-boarding in preparation for his mega-proj and was a little apprehensive about how he was going to hold up to a free climbing day mission on El Capitan.  Two days after we arrived in the valley they headed up and team freed El Corazon in 15.5 hours (it has taken teams at least 3 days in the past).  Tommy, being the beast that he is and getting to climb with an amazing partner such as Alex, held up okay (I'd say) for freeing El Cap off the big wall couch.  They are both pretty inspiring and together they are hard to stop.  Alpinist did a little write up on the mission here

Alex doing what he does on El Corazon. Photo: Tommy Caldwell

Tommy looking good on El Corazon. Photo: Alex Honnold

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Time to Load Up the Van

The clock is ticking.  I looked at a calendar today...something I can't say I do that often.  I was a little overwhelmed when I realized that we will be leaving our house for almost 2 months in just over 2 days.  Yikes!  There's so much to be done. packing...more cleaning, oh yeah, and taking care of Fitz!  All the chaos for the next few days will be worth it.  Once we close the van doors and start down the driveway in the dark on Saturday morning our schedule opens up and van life ensues.  It's probably some of my favorite time.  There's perfection in being on the road, passing your days outside under the trees with no distractions and with the family.  It really doesn't get much better than that.

Daddy and Fitz standing proud in front of The Captain.
Last year was Fitz's first season in Yosemite.  It was a short season due to the government shut-down and he was a little less mobile (just learning to sit up) so we're excited to really show him more of the place we love.  This year we'll have our bikes and Fitz's bike trailer along ("Bike rye, bike rye?!?"), he's on the move and likes to hike, he enjoys rocks and sticks, he gets really excited  when people do big bouldery moves ("Dyynoh!") or jump down from boulders ("WHOAAAA"!!), and another favorite thing is swinging in his harness ("Weeee" in a very high pitched voice).  I think the Valley could be one of his new favorite places.

I will be doing my best to keep updating the blog while we are in the Valley (internet isn't typically the best).  Hopefully we can share a little van tour, how we survived 20 hours of driving with an active toddler (if we make it), what Fitz gear we usually bring along for the crag/camping/etc, and of course some Dawn Wall updates!  So stay tuned.
Learning to sit on the Utah Salt Flats...
Uh Oh!
Helpin' mama with dinner.

How do you give a baby a bath in a van?  In a tiny tub on the countertop, of course. 
"Got you spotted Daddy!"
Chillin' with the big guys.
Cragging at the Knobby Wall.  Sonnie Trotter goes for the dyno.
As captioned in the Patagonia Kids Catalog "Fitz finds out he definitely is not allergic to nuts."  Chompin' on a #5.
Watching Daddy play around on Meltdown.  Who's gonna nab the second ascent?  Fitz??
Crag Baby!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


The fall colors on a hike in RMNP yesterday.
Fitz and I spent the late afternoon outside.  I raked up some pine needles that were collecting near the house.  As I was raking I remembered raking up leaves in Minnesota when I was a child.  We would create huge crunchy piles from what had fallen off the maple tree and jump in them.  This would take up what seemed like whole weekends.  I looked at my pile of pine needles and it looked quite terrible and painful to jump in.  Some day we'll have to be somewhere for fall where the leaves accumulate and make for perfect jumping piles for Fitz.

Estes may not have big piles of leaves, but it does have the mountains.  Today they were dusted white from fresh snow fall.  When those cold winds start moving in and the clouds settle over the mountains that's usually our sign to start packing and head west.  Late next week we'll make our annual pilgrimage to Yosemite for another go at the Dawn Wall for Tommy, and for Fitz and I to enjoy all the perfection that the Valley is in the fall.  I've been craving van life.

As I sat sipping my malbec, listening to Nick Drake, wiping the butternut squash soup off of Fitz's face I was reminded why I love fall so much.        

Fitz's masterful fall creation.