It has been 25 days, no breaks. To date, I have climbed 7650 feet.  After leaving Joshua Tree we headed out to Las Vegas, which has been a much needed change of pace.

I want to take a moment to thank Nick for all of his tremendous help in filming and shooting photos for us, entertaining us, putting us up, making us comfortable and for indulging my latenight coffee cravings and Stef’s Yogurtland trips…I cannot overstate how much work shooting film and video is for this kind of project and I honestly have NO idea how we are going to get even a fraction of the media shot when it is just Stef and I again. Nick’s generous allotment of time and effort was a colossal contribution that we are only just beginning to see the benefits of.

I also want to make mention of the fact that Nick’s family put us up so we were able to rest and eat in a warm, clean environment and their support has been a gift. The funny thing is none of the aforementioned folks would even think of what they are doing as being laudatory–making other people comfortable and happy seems to just be what they “do”.

So, as far as what WE have been doing…well there has been a lot going on for both Stef and me.  For me, this leg of the trip has been dedicated to projecting. This is a process of selecting a climbing route that is at or just beyond your abilities, working out the moves and ideally, linking them together and climbing the entire route from top to bottom without falling. This is called “sending” your project–it is basically like maxing out in weight lifting.

The inspiration for turning up the intensity came while Stef and I were on our way to Vegas from Joshua Tree and I admitted that I have been feeling a little bored because the routes I had been climbing had not consistently pushed me out of my comfort zone. I know that the “slow and steady” approach has merit on this lengthy of a climbing adventure, but staying excited and pushing the limits is equally vital. I have to be inspired to get out of bed (or sleeping bag) every day and go through the work of climbing.

I know that I will have to alternate my “limit-pushing” so as not to succumb to overuse injuries, but the whole point of this project is to consistently push limits. So we decided that it was time to start climbing harder, and pushing the difficulty up to the point that I would get shut down. Basically, opting to push so hard that I fail in order to get stronger and send.  So that’s what we’ve done here–and Nick has helped us get a good deal of video and pictures to document this process.

And it is a process–from the standpoint of filming there are many many pounds of extra gear, communication issues,logistics, complex rigging and setups in order to get the shot from the right angles and timing–knowing when to anticipate action. I am working on a short video that will show a bit of behind the scenes of the filming–that’s going to be a good one!

From the climbing perspective, it’s a huge battle against fear and anger and you have no one to blame but yourself, because you are choosing to run into the wall, so to speak! My battle has been just accepting the process. Accepting falling, the shredded finger tips, your hands giving out a second before you can make that last clip and going home every day feeling completely exhausted and often defeated when you keep falling short. Oddly enough I have been going through a rough patch with higher blood sugars and the same exact frustrations have been going hand in hand with that facet of my life so it has been a real grunt.

Hitting the wall between burns. Acceptance is the battle.

At the end of the day, I have been choosing to accept the reality of my situation because it’s who I am. Being diabetic and wrestling with my blood sugar is part of who I am and I can’t control everything–I can only control my response. Being a climber is who I am–I have dreamed of it long before I knew an injection from an infection and I am really in control of very little, in the big picture.  So today, was my last day to attempt the route that I have been projecting. It is as hard as anything I have ever tried. I really wanted to send it since we are leaving Vegas tomorrow (2.10.12). I was really worried that my high sugar would shut me down after going at it hard yesterday.

Feet? What feet?
Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.One more move to clear the crux...

I decided to to just keep trying. I didn’t send. I fell several times–but I did a whole lot better than I had done yesterday and we got AWESOME footage. The rock will still be there next time around–and I will be back! Tomorrow we are en route to Flagstaff AZ, where we will get to meet some of the awesome community of climbers and diabetic folk that reside in that area!

Pull the rope and try it again!