Since laboring through the decision of where to go next and how I would do that without a partner, I have refocused my efforts and had some wonderful (albeit non-vertical) experiences. I have been sorting out gear to send back to my dad’s house vs selling on Ebay vs bringing along for the remainder of the project. I am happy to say that I got most of that taken care of over the weekend.

In between sorting out the winter gear that is out of season, Stef’s stuff that is now needed elsewhere and my own clothing that I have declared “obsolete”, I have been trolling the inter-webs to find people to climb with and figure out what routes I wanted to tackle. Think of only without the encouraging commercials, or catchy jingles. It’s a hit or miss game that is riddled with horror stories–I mean, come on, you are trolling to find someone in whose hands your life will literally be placed…

Initially I had little success or relevant responses and so I just tried to buckle down and wrangle the cardboard. Oh–and I took some pictures of the packing process. I realized that in my “doldrums” I had been slacking on shooting–possibly because the landscape of San Diego is a little less inspiring to me? Being honest, the urban nature of this area has been closing in on me and making me feel like I will never get back out.

As I was starting to go in circles and losing my emotional equilibrium (in respect to climbing and the project) I got a friendly reminder from a good friend (thanks Bill!) that it would be helpful for me to tear myself away from the cloister and come out to the Insulindepence “Dawn Phenomenon”, a T1D athletic meet-up. At first mention I was pretty hesitant about coming out. I had boxes to pack–and all the stuff! Plus I had to worry about…things.

As I engaged the smart part of my brain, I recognized that I was grappling with worries that I couldn’t do anything about. Refreshing my posts on the climbing forum or checking my inbox wasn’t really doing much to help and it wasn’t helping me clear my mind for the gear sorting that needed  to take place. I would literally be a hermit if T1D didnt force me to connect with society and maintain some of the trappings of conventional living–not because I am some sort of Ebenezer Scrooge who hates everyone, but I have always been very introverted.

Stef prodded me via txt message to suck it up and get up early and go–predicting (with usual accuracy) that I would have a blast. Being in social situations is a lot like climbing for me–it’s tough getting up early, it always seems risky and too hard but almost always is a super-rewarding experience once I am actually in the moment.

I met a whole slew of awesome new friends who share my appreciation for the pancreatic arts (read:diabetes) and I had a bit of a perspective shift. I had been seeing this Project of mine as just that. My project. I didn’t want to tear myself away from my project because there I had too much to do, and too much to worry about. As I spoke with more of my new friends at the Dawn Phenomenon event I felt a sort of kinship–as though I hadn’t stopped working on my project but rather left my cubicle and come out into the lobby to join everyone else who is working right along with me on different pieces of the same puzzle!

That summit experience, that glimpse of the big picture is a precious thing–it keeps us going through the dark, the lonely, the tattered cardboard boxes, and the worrying. What I saw this weekend made me feel a lot less alone–it’s like the onion keeps peeling back and each time I think I have a handle on the layer I’m at, another one peels back and I’m blown away!

David taking a card (I started leaving a few under my wiper with an invitation below to take one!) while Peter, founder of looks on
Peter Nerothin founder of showin' some love!
A dirty hippie photo-bombed this shot I was trying to get of the new artwork! (Kidding of course--I believe this is Peter's picture or possibly Gregs--I'm not absolutely certain--but this and the preceding two photos are borrowed from Insulindependence!

So yeah…now there are a bunch MORE people ON THE (dragon)WAGON! And we got some sick Artistry here in addition to messages of encouragement! I am excited to head north with some good looking tattoos on the “wagon”! Every name and message and graffito I see, every day, is a reminder of everyone else who is with me on this journey and who is working towards the same goals!

So that was the highlight of a weekend that I expected to involve a lot more worry and a lot less fun. I am really thankful for the lesson I learned and the friends I just made! But wait–there’s more! I may be able to try a Dexcom  CGM (continuous glucose monitor) thanks to Josiah who generously offered to hook me up. For those of you who dont know, this is the ONE medical gadget that I have been pining to try–because it gives a much more thorough picture of what my blood sugar is doing through a given day!

Let me put it in perspective–what if you only got your bank statement once a month and never had access to checking or tracking the balance between times? Thats what I have been doing for 13 years and my currency is blood glucose–so if I overdraw, I can die, as opposed to simply incurring a $25.00 overdraft fee…This continuous monitoring system would allow me to to track everything that is going on and I am SUPER psyched about that since it could be the biggest change to how I manage my diabetes in 13 years!

And the good news doesn’t end there…my path is becoming clearer from a climbing end. A few partners (locally in San Diego) availed themselves to help make my final week here more bearable…and I am making some really fantastic connections on the climber’s forum where I am getting great info on routes to try in Yosemite as well as lining up partners for some of my time there!

Here are a few routes I am looking at:

West face of the Leaning Tower (solo if necessary)

Lost Arrow Spire Direct (solo if necessary)

El Cap: via Lurking Fear (don’t want to solo this one!)

and some less Big Wall type stuff up on the eastern part of the park!

Tenaya Peak

Cathedral Peak

Matthes Crest

I may do all of these, none of these or some of these and some other ones I can’t even begin to anticipate at this point–but I have enough of a rough sketch in my mind to move forward from here. For now…I have to stay focused on the climbing I am doing each and every day–cratering hurts no matter how inauspicious the rock formation you fall from!