It’s been a hectic couple of weeks. Flying around, wrapping up interviews, going to an award ceremony where Stefanie received an exciting honor for her time volunteered during Project 365 (more on that in the next blog!) and…laying plans for the next steps towards realizing and advancing our mission of natural fitness and empowerment for people with Diabetes. The time spent traveling was very useful and we are making a lot of progress from a business standpoint, but the sacrifice has been my time.

I’m not sure if which came first here, my fear of getting back on a rope following the dramatic conclusion of Project 365 or the pressing need to start attending to developing programs and the documentary. The bottom line is that I have only done a little bouldering and nothing on a rope and the longer I waited, the more uneasy I became about getting back into the steep and high places I love. It really rattled me because I still don’t even know what I was afraid of. I just felt a vague and impending horror–and I wanted to avoid it as long as I could. 

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Business meetings and “work” monopolized enough of my time to make me feel like I was justified in my relative sloth, but eventually, I knew that I would have to suck it up and reintroduce myself to the joyous groveling of desert climbing hardship. I know some of those words don’t seem to go together logically, but I promise you, that’s what Zion climbing is. 

I have been also concocting my next climbing project and its scale will require me to harden myself beyond what I have done up til this point. I will have to push my comfort zone a lot more than I have yet, including Project 365, and I know that I will love every minute of it–once all the hard work is done! So, yesterday Stef, Rob, Corey and I headed out for some climbing–a little trial by fire. Once we actually got into the park I started to feel the fire in my belly–I felt psyched again, not afraid.

Cooperative blood sugar readings giving me peace of mind about my physiology, at least!
Cooperative blood sugar readings giving me peace of mind about my physiology, at least!

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We climbed a route whose first pitch I have done many many times, but it has still challenged me at first go, just about every time I have climbed it. This time, was much better. I felt solid on lead–while I was not even close to fluid in my climbing (lots of cobwebs!) I was a lot more relaxed and that helped a lot. We later ventured up the second pitch (Rob led, I followed) which is stout 5.10+ offwidth that I had never been able to climb in the past.

Rob belaying me up to the start of the second pitch offwidth (awful-width) crack.
Rob belaying me up to the start of the second pitch offwidth (awful-width) crack.

Offwidth climbing is not fun. It’s painful, awkward and requires you to be very methodical while you torque your hands and feet into cracks for purchase. Its more like grappling, than the artful and aesthetic face climbing many people love seeing. It’s a delicate balance of power and technique–you get the idea. It’s HARD! I was able to thrutch and curse my way to the top of this pitch, admittedly in very poor style, but I got to the top–something that I wasn’t even close to doing the last time I got on that pitch.

I am entering the wide section--you can see how it flares out and opens up. This is the source of the difficulties...
I am entering the wide section–you can see how it flares out and opens up. This is the source of the difficulties…half in the crack, half out!

Progress! Sometimes the smaller the fractions I measure the success with, the greater the feeling of achievement. Now the next moves to make are off the rock–and those should be no less exciting!