I rest my head on a boulder and struggle to catch my breath. We are about half way up the relatively short approach to base camp and I am feeling weak and debilitated by the high attitude. How are we going to make it up a 2,500ft big wall if I can’t even hike 10 minutes without stopping to rest? After about a month climbing in the Cordillera Blanca, or the Peruvian Andes just outside of Huaraz, Peru, I have become accustomed to the roller coaster ride that is climbing at altitude
For decades, alpinists and endurance athletes maximized their time in every season of the year, skiing through deep powder into spring glacial corn, then exchanging boots for running shoes to quickly move into and over mountain passes and vistas in an ever-changing landscape
It is cold and an icy breeze tugs at my hair. It feels surreal that I am in Southern California, that to the south I can see Mexico. I though this part of the country was hot sunshine and endless deserts, not post-holing through thigh deep snow!
I just keep staring at the calendar, as if it’s going to make the days go by faster. I always longed for winter. My days were filled with snowboarding and nights ice climbing. It was my life. Year after year I couldn’t wait until it started to snow in the mountains. Now my life seems to be consumed by rock climbing and my attitude towards snow has taken a complete 180.
It started with a deer. Or more accurately, it started with the deer sprinting out into my lane, then trampolining off the hood in series of slow motion loops en route to the ditch. And when the body shop messed up the the timing for parts, the plan to drive out to Washington went up like the steam from the smashed radiator.
I recently had the great pleasure of trying out two of La Sportiva’s approach shoes on a couple of hikes in Southern California. Fist up was the TX2 Leather shoes which I took up Cucamonga Peak in the San Gabriel mountains
They sort of remind me of a slightly more aggressive, pointy version of the Moccasin. They are comfy and soft but are designed in a way that still gives them a secure feel and some precision, which makes them perfect for long, moderate climbs or all day mellow crag sessions
When I was a newer climber, my friends used to always make fun of me for the state of my gear. My harnesses were always falling apart, and the gates of my quickdraws would stick open. I remember watching one of my belay partners packing his backpack at the end of the day,
In general, they all have the just the right amount of stretch and come with all the features you’d expect from a good climbing pant – gusseted crotch, articulated knees, ankle cuff draw-strings, etc. I’ve worn three so far: Kendo climbing jeans, Talus Pant, and the Crimper Pant.
I have literally walked hundreds of miles in these shoes. I have hiked through the Himalayas, climbed mountains in Albania, wandered through Sweden, trekked tigers in the Sumatran jungle, and hiked, scrambled, rock climbed, and crossed glaciers all over the state of Washington in these shoes. Anything I throw at them they seem to excel.
Before two months ago, the only things I really knew about El Cap were: the Dawn Wall was over-publicized, Tommy Caldwell is a god, and anyone who climbed the Nose in a day was insane. Yosemite was a place you went to when you had mastered the routes at your local crag and were bored by the lowly grade of 5.12 trad. I didn’t think of it as attainable for my climbing. I didn’t even think about it as a place I was allowed to go.
I had just gotten back from seven months of backpacking in South America when my two best friends told me they had an outlandish goal: to try to climb El Cap in the fall.