Why not?

Why not?

Too many times in life I have looked at things I wanted to do, paths I wanted to take or choices I wanted to make and felt like somehow, there was some unspoken rule against doing what I wanted to–simply because when I looked around, no one else was doing it. As far back as my college years, ideas very similar to what LivingVertical has become were kicked around at keg parties but I never acted on them because in my mind, if it was a good idea, then someone else would already be doing it.

Another hole I have stepped into at times (very often of recently) is thinking that the things I want to do are only realistic for “other” people who aren’t me. Not too rational, is it? It’s this instinctual denial that always crops up and defers to others for no good reason.

Climbing in Joshua Tree before the Project365 screening on Saturday night. A little chilly but great fun!

Climbing in Joshua Tree before the Project365 screening on Saturday night. A little chilly but great fun!

With all the introspection that has been taking place over the last week or so I have been recognizing that now more than ever, I need to abandon this mindset. Climbing more. Thinking, doubting less. More action. Less talk. Less worrying who reads my meaningless and self involved blog posts. I feel guilty “abandoning” the online way in favor of the ease of climbing, but I have to follow my heart. I know that the real work is found on social media and that goofing off and risking life and limb is self indulgent childs-play.

So bear with me and forgive–because I have logged nearly as many days of climbing in 2014 so far as I did in all of 2013, and I can’t promise that I will slow my roll any time soon. Being on the road and screening the documentary is wonderful and all, but February looks significantly more open, and I have some plans to get cracking once I am back in Zion. I’m debating a few smaller objectives but I feel like I need to grind down the areas of mediocrity in my life through some suffering that only climbing can adequately provide.

Back on the road--embracing car dwelling--and the amazing freedom and experiences that go along with the discomfort. This was my view waking up along 15 in California.

Back on the road–embracing car dwelling–and the amazing freedom and experiences that go along with the discomfort. This was my view waking up along 15 in California.

Right now I am in Joshua Tree (California) preparing for the final screening before I head home. I probably should have said something about that in the introduction–but what the hell, people, this is my blog and I’ll structure it how I want! In any case, during my time in Joshua Tree, I have been discovering adventure through climbing new, previously unclimbed routes. This is something I have never done before because I thought that kind of thing was for other people. You know, “real” climbers.

Leading the FA (first ascent) of  "Nic-arete and Insulin" 5.9+, my first ever new route!

Leading the FA (first ascent) of “Nic-arete and Insulin” 5.9+, my first ever new route!

Working out some moves on a possibly unclimbed boulder--some really cool lines on this one!

Working out some moves on a possibly unclimbed boulder–some really cool lines on this one!

Nope. Turns out any hack can go out there and look with fresh eyes and find their own masterpiece in stone. At the end of the day, that’s all anyone is really doing–hack or pro, it’s all a game! There is never a perfect time or an invitation. There are always opportunities but even then, more of then than not we have to create them–or at least recognize them and reach out to take them. No opportunity will do any good if we don’t have the will to seize it.

This is Tyler. I had the privilege to climb his new routes during my time in Joshua Tree. Tyler has one hand and still crushes it. No excuses, just finds a way to get it done. Thats motivating!

This is Tyler. I had the privilege to climb his new routes during my time in Joshua Tree. Tyler has one hand and still crushes it. No excuses, just finds a way to get it done. Thats motivating!

So yeah, I went out and got to climb some new routes. No big deal. But also at the same time, kind of a big deal. So, now I have just a little more motivation and confidence to go out there and push myself further on new terrain–to fulfill my vision for my climbing. That means doing more, talking, worrying and posting less.

Joshua Tree was a wonderful experience thanks to this man, Todd. He and his family hosted me, took me climbing entertained me and are wonderful friends. Todd opened his home to the community where we screened the film with over 60 people in attendance and he went to great lengths to hype the event and get people out!

Joshua Tree was a wonderful experience thanks to this man, Todd. He and his family hosted me, took me climbing entertained me and are wonderful friends. Todd opened his home to the community where we screened the film with over 60 people in attendance and he went to great lengths to hype the event and get people out!


Lots of people showed up--and we had some star power at the show-- Tucker Tech and Jim Bridwell. Climbing LEGENDS. I had the pleasure of climbing with Tucker and listening to Jim speak about socio-political issues while imbibing significant volumes of beer...but the man has some incredible, incredible stories of climbings golden age...

Lots of people showed up–and we had some star power at the show– Tucker Tech and Jim Bridwell. Climbing LEGENDS.

New friends, heading back from climbing rocks. Simple, but profound.

New friends, heading back from climbing rocks. Simple, but profound.


Fast forward several days and I am back home in Zion. The weather is pretty fine and my calendar is pretty clear for the month of February so I am preparing for some bigwall adventures–some solo, others with a partner as it works out. Either way, I need to take time to re-focus on climbing and push myself in a different way. I’ve come to the conclusion that while diabetes is an invisible illness, the answer isn’t to make this condition more noticeable than it needs to be. The answer is to make LIFE with diabetes more visible as something that totally kicks ass. Because it can. And it does.

Working on technical systems in prep for February. Starting small to go big and go beyond Diabetes!

Working on technical systems in prep for February. Starting small to go big and go beyond Diabetes!

Climbing photos have cams and ropes and harnesses in them. But no one climbs up a thousand feet off the ground to focus on the stuff that got them there. Diabetes is what we make of it, and I am going to make it my reason to rage in February!
Stirred, not shaken: back to the start

Stirred, not shaken: back to the start

I’ve always climbed for freedom. Trying to start climbing for security now feels somehow…wrong. So, I’m going to go ahead and let go of that approach and not do that.

photo 1

I always imagined that life after Project365 would take shape naturally–that someone would just call me up and offer me a way to support myself through more climbing projects. Or perhaps if that was not to be, then Netflix would ask to buy distribution rights and I would be able to stop the incessant emailing and haggling over screening fees, and having to sell enough tee shirts to pay for gas and food to get back home where I start the process over again.

Did I mention that I’m going to be a father this spring? Everyone keeps giving me pitying admonishment to prepare me for my life imploding into debt, sleeplessness, and conventional blah-dom. “But it’s ok” they assure me, “It’s the most wonderful experience–you won’t even mind that it’s happening”. Ok so I’ll have some sedatives on my way to the gallows. Thanks for that…

Then I step back and think about it–I’ve always been broke but I somehow get by. Sleep? I’ve never had much use for it under the most ideal circumstances. And blah-dom? Well, that is a choice. A challenge–and one I am looking forward to taking on, because I do my best work with the deck stacked against me and if I’m listening to the well meaning looky-loos, all signs point to my hanging up my ropes and signing up for a monster.com account.

After screening in La Jolla and Carlsbad this weekend with many friends from Insulindependence in attendance, I was taken back to the origins of Project365.

san diego

I remembered the same sorts of admonishments and concerns, the same types of dire predictions and yet, at the end of each day, it came down to making choices to continue, even when it felt like there was no hope. There was no thought of success–or any real strict concept of what that success would entail, other than surviving the experience–a task that changed shape on a moment by moment basis.

Over the last year I have been thinking too much of how I can “try” to continue the success of Project365. I don’t like how that has made me feel about what I am doing. It feels like I am trying to plan my next steps in order to get approval from people and companies. This is the opposite of inspiration. It may be the way to build a business, but it seems like the surest way to dilute the strength of conviction. Why we climb is as (or more) important than what we climb.

photo 2

Over this past weekend I have been realizing that risk and the possibility of failure is what I chose from the very start. That’s not a bad thing. Quite the opposite, it’s the best part of this whole game. It’s not good business to take on another climbing project that could fail totally. No one wants to put money into an expedition and hear that the rock was too loose or that the weather was too bad to summit. From the sidelines, the only thing that matters is the summit–and how you get there and why are just details. But I take pride in the details. I take pride in being committed if a bit deluded. I’d rather toil in obscurity than sell out my passion. There are plenty of athletes planting company flags on well known summits that can be bought by anyone; starting in 2014 we will bring our diabetes to the places that fire up the imagination rather than conjuring up images of what has been done repeatedly.

Project365 was not a stunt, it is a statement that continues to speak beyond the world of diabetes. Some people seem to think that I should accept the limitation of playing within a box of smaller relevance. I feel like this message is just starting to take shape and that it’s a lot bigger than just diabetes. Accepting limitations is a choice. Going beyond those limits is also a choice. It’s good to feel the hunger again–it heightens the senses. Not hunger for approval or funding but for adventure and for the gritty suffering of true commitment!

photo 4

The best part is that I am not alone in this endeavor; Team LivingVertical provides a growing community that reflects this passion and irreverence for convention. Diabetes because we must; climbing because we can. Oh, and I still haven’t finished drafting the manifest for the 2014 project yet–but it should be done soon, once I get back from screening the documentary in Joshua Tree on Jan 25th. I am done doubting myself (for now) and ready to follow my heart into another epic tale, so the inspiration of some high desert crushing will undoubtedly get the creative juices flowing and bring the vision into clearer focus!
Diabetes and the transformation

Diabetes and the transformation

From the base of the rock, the sound of the quick-draws caught on a gust that pushes through the narrow corridor behind Turtle Rock reverberates, a climber’s personal wind chime.  I squat by my backpack, open the lid and pull out my glucometer.  The red that bubbles up from the prick on my finger is the same as the stripes of iron that bleed down the steep, golden granite.  It’s at the base of the climb that I still feel my diabetes and know that I have it.  It’s tangible: test strips, syringes, vials and glucose tablets.  These are the things I want to forget.

testing blood

My test strip sucks at my blood, every day it pulls in some of my life, five times, seven times, sometimes up to 15 times.  And there’s that comic little blood drop that flashes on my glucometer.  I never watch it, because it reminds me of that prick, specifically that re-prick when the first fails to produce that little bead of magenta.  It’s at the base that I know I am a diabetic, but it’s here to that it begins: my transformation.

matt in offwidth2 copy

I have always felt a connection to nature.  My dad took me out into the unknown before I can remember most other things.  And what I remember most is forgetting.  I’m not unconscious though; I feel connected and hyper-aware of my surroundings.  Still, something is forgotten that I want to be lost and it is good to be rid of this bad memory; the knowledge of something foreboding, the idea that no matter how well you control your blood sugar it still may not be good enough.

jumping for a jug

So I tie in, reweaving my figure eight, watching a line of ants walk up the quartz and feldspar peppered rock in front of me.  There’s the rubbing of branches and leaf upon leaf that creates an audible texture and I feel it course through my body.  And there’s that clanking, the anchors waiting, the entire climb before for me.  But then there’s that caustic beeping of my glucometer, tearing me away from where I want to be, reminding me again about reality.  Whatever the number, I am fine as long as I can go back to forgetting, as long as I can slap my hands together and watch the chalk plume drift away into the desert and grab on to the holds that lead away from here.   I want to move far from the thoughts of nerve damage, distance myself from the images of lost limbs and blindness.

matt pratts crack 33

I’m good.  The number says, so I can go and get lost now.  A breeze rises and takes that mechanized scream from my glucometer far away, to be forgotten in the yuccas and Joshua Trees and Juniper.  I make my first movement upwards and I forget about my diabetes.  It is here that I am truly free.  As I climb, I feel a complete attachment to the world without the knowledge of my having diabetes and there is nothing more that I can ask for.  My wind chimes play against the rock.  The evening desert air feels pure as I methodically inhale and exhale, my thoughts solely connected to this piece of rock.  And then I’m at the top; I look down at my fiancé and smile and for a moment, three minutes, may be five, I have lived without diabetes.  It’s gone.

matt on peter principle

matt on strategic defense2

The right gear for the job.

The right gear for the job.

As my wife and I hurtle through the Mojave and the way to Jtree (Joshua Tree National Park) talking about how my buddy Chris has the ability to look at a climbing route and pick just the gear he will need and where he was going to place them. He took just what he needed for the route and nothing else. I on the other hand always take too much gear and struggle to pick the correct piece due to my not having any depth perception.

This conversation sparked the thought about another correlation between climbing and diabetes. Namely the ability to pick the right food, the right insulin dose and at the right time and picking the right piece of gear at the right time and putting it in the correct place.

Climbing, like diabetes requires the right gear for the right situation. However the ideal is not always available so we must make do. Scott Cooper "getting it done" in JTNP on a route named "Diabetics".

Climbing, like diabetes requires the right gear for the right situation. However the ideal is not always available so we must make do. Scott Cooper “getting it done” in JTNP on a route named “Diabetics”.

I cant count the times that I have been on the edge of losing my composure on a route while I struggle to find the right size cam or stopper. At those times I usually end up getting a piece in that is good enough to hold a fall, but not a perfect placement. The placement will hold, but not something that I would use as an example of how to place gear. The same goes with my eating. It often seems that I am able to come close with matching my food with my insulin and other life factors going on but not good enough to make an example of. My dosing is good enough to keep my doing what I do without any trips to the hospital but my complications show that over the last 22 plus years, I have been far from perfect.

I can pretty accurately blame my inability to match the crack to the gear due to not being able to accurately judge the crack width. I know the general size a yellow camalot is, but seeing the crack and determining if it is a one or two is very difficult. But after so many years of being diabetic, one would think that I would have my management down to a science.

This brings me to another unfortunate correlation between diabetes and climbing. The number of years climbing and being diabetic someone has does not necessarily translate to ability. There are a lot of climbers out there who have been climbing for years but never really were able to get into the hard grades, just as there are many diabetics that for many different reasons are unable to get their BG’s perfect no matter how hard they try.

Unfortunately, I fit both of those descriptions. I am currently struggling to get into the 11’s and having a very hard time with it. With my BG’s I have struggled to stabilize them the best that I can, I have left many endocrinologists shaking their heads and say that since there is no patterns or consistency with my BG’s there is little they can do to normalize them. Just a little pump setting tweak here and there.

Thankfully I am considered a very stubborn person and with my climbing I will keep climbing as hard as I can and take plenty of falls. I will push until I meet the goal of being an 11 climber. With my diabetes, I will keep doing the best I can and see if I can find something that will work for me. I once had a Dr. say that she wondered how I was still alive after downloading my meter, I had several answers for her, but I kept them to myself. But I did find another Dr. and have kept on keeping on.
Quick update before hitting the road…

Quick update before hitting the road…

I have been spending the better part of today toiling over decisions. I find myself at a bit of a crossroads on a few issues.

First, I am making a longer compilation of some of the timelapse videos I shot in Joshua Tree and usually matching the images to a song is easy. I pick some Skrillex or Bassnectar and we are in business. This one is really challenging me. Additionally I have to get all packed for Zion, a destination whose objectives require more gear since we are going to be getting on some big walls.

I have been mentioning the possibility of some “big news” and that is the other thing on my mind; I am weighing the possibility of participating in a clinical trial for experimental treatments for type 1 diabetes. The obvious benefits are: an interesting dynamic in the story of the project, helping to be part of developing better treatments for this condition and of course, some financial compensation which would go to the project.

The downside would be having to remain “tethered” to the San Diego area through June–I would have to come back for check-ups and monitoring every week or two. I have been itching to get out on the road and just stay out. Being locked into this area, as beautiful as it is…is not ideal from the perspective of shooting video and it sort of waters down some of the “oomph” of what I am going for, in my mind, anyhow.

So those are the pros and cons. I know that my mind tends to distort some things on occasion, so I am trying to be logical about it. The “smart” part of my brain is telling me that it would be worth the sacrifice up front to get greater “mileage” out of the money that we have raised from your generous support so far. I will still be within striking distance of some of the finest climbing in North America–I will just have to pull away intermittently to come back to San Diego to loan my body to science.

As it happens so frequently, we make plans and then life happens and we have to adapt. I am really thankful that we have received so much support–and I feel like this is one way to honor the extension made by so many of you, if I can participate in this study and thereby add some more financial backing to the project through my own effort. I am not in a position to reveal any of the information about the pharmaceutical studies, because I am pretty sure that is frowned upon, I just wanted to make sure I am being as up front as possible about what I am doing and why.

So that is my big news. I guess it seemed bigger to me than it is once I actually look at it in black and white…

Now to get my gear sorted and racked up before leaving tomorrow…I definitely want to have my wig on tight for this one–Zion is a lot of fun but it is serious fun and no place to rely on luck. I am excited for that though–I am ready for a change of pace. To clarify, I am not suggesting that it is ever OK to be careless under any circumstances, and despite the fact that I probably have a very different “comfort zone” than most people who read this blog, I am always careful and deliberate–but there is very little in Zion that is a “gimme”.



Check your crutches at the base of the climb: Reloaded

Check your crutches at the base of the climb: Reloaded

Climbed: 20,935 feet to date.

Check your crutches at the base of the climb: Reloaded from Living Vertical on Vimeo.

We had a chance to stop by the FiveTen outlet in Redlands, CA on the way to Joshua Tree NP and get set up with some awesome new shoes–and they are definitely a game changer since your shoes are the one piece of gear that really directly impacts your climbing performance. We got to the park before Ken and Naomi and had some time to get set up in the “Pit” (a low profile campsite) and test the shoes on some climbs before we met up with them and helped get them situated and set up with some new shoes of their own!

The park was packed. Somehow I forgot that this week was still spring break and that everyone comes to JT for spring break in search of the classic moderate climbs…at first I was worried that it would wind up throwing a monkey-wrench in the proverbial works and that we would be unable to get on any suitable climbs. In the end, this time we spent in JT was about sharing climbing rather than hoarding climbs. It’s not something that fits into the “adrenaline-junkie-bro-brah” stereotype of climbing culture, but in reality, sharing climbing is a HUGE part of what it’s all about–if not climbing as a sport, certainly this project.

We met some families vacationing in the park and got to climb with them and we got to make a lot of new friends who noticed the Dragon Wagon and one of the biggest benefits of a busy climbing area is that the car turns lots of heads and puts our project out there. Ken and Naomi were amazing too–not just because it was so good to see friends from home and share several nights camping with them, but also because they crushed it on the rock even though I don’t think they realize how exceptional they are.

I was super inspired though, and I know other people were too. I know it can be awkward having people stare, even if they are doing so in admiration, but there was a big part of me that really enjoyed watching the inquisitive looks on tourists faces turn to disbelief when Naomi handed off her crutches and got on the rock and sent.

Ken was killing me because I am used to offering an undue amount of “helpful suggestions” to assist climbers who are new to outdoor climbing–that is a big part of my “guide-mode-reflex”. Every time I would open my mouth and start spewing beta (tips on climbing a route) I realized that Ken wasn’t hesitating, even on moves that were pretty stout–even when following gear protected routes and being pretty exposed high up, he was super composed and didn’t bitch and moan and tremble in horror–like I frequently do!

We didn’t get on Bird of Fire because it was mobbed, but that was ok too. We had an awesome time and are getting ready for round 2 in Zion. Tuesday, we will be rolling into Springdale where hilarity and adventure will undoubtedly ensue.

Familiar Faces

Familiar Faces

You may remember our friends Ken and Naomi–from such early LivingVertical documentary shorts as “Check your crutches at the base of the climb” and “Sausage fest 2011″ (see below for a refresher or if you have only recently tuned into the traveling roadshow of chaos that is Project 365)

Please check your crutches at the base of the climb from Living Vertical on Vimeo.

Sausagefest 2011 from Living Vertical on Vimeo.

Seeing how we have not been able to get together to cure meat and experiment with healthy recipes, Ken and Naomi decided to come out and visit us on the road for some climbing and hiking and whatever else. Considering our combined affinity for cooking, I have a feeling that we will be eating a lot  of good food despite operating out of our cars.

We are going to meet in Joshua Tree and the weather is forecasted to be amazing and we are so excited to meet up with friends for the first time in months. I have been psyched to climb and to improve my strength, but in terms of sheer joy, nothing beats seeing good friends. En route to Joshua Tree we are going to be stopping at the FiveTen outlet in Redlands CA and picking up our new climbing shoes–I can’t wait to see how they work!

I am really excited to show off some of the solar goodies we got in our last shipment from Goal Zero too since we have only used a fraction of the gear they have provided for us. I am putting together a rough tick-list for our time at JT and I have been officially overwhelmed by the sheer number of climbs but the one climb I have my heart set on is Bird of Fire (5.10a)–it is on par with the hardest trad climb I have on-sighted this past summer but it would be my hardest trad climb of the project. It’s a beautiful route, I’ll show and tell at a later time.

We have some changes in the works that we are looking forward to sharing once we have more definite details (hopefully in a week or so) but along with all of the upcoming excitement, Yosemite, springtime in the Valley, big walls and pucker-inducing exposure are looming in my mind.


Power when you need it

Power when you need it

So this whole thing is a colossal learning experience. Isn’t everything? Ok, well point being, I am learning a lot about the extent to which equipment in the backcountry is a delicate balance of pro and con. Usually the “pro” is a certain amount of function and/or comfort while the main “con” is usually the weight and space that is taken up.

Little things add up, so when you get ready to shoulder your pack after adopting the “oh what the hell, it doesn’t weigh that much” mentality, you will be in for a surprise… but learning the hard way about packing too much does help you really appreciate the essential items you have with you.

Every day that we spend climbing during Project 365 is of critical importance since we are telling a story–and a long, intricate one at that. This means that recording the details of every day is paramount. Being in the back country of Joshua Tree National Park proved the value of our solar gear from Goal Zero since we were powering ALL of our cameras, phones and computers off of one 150 watt battery and two 15 watt panels shown above.  We also had a smaller lightweight panel too that we used on the go for charging smaller devices when we were away from camp (see picture below)

We were shooting a lot of nighttime, long-exposure shots with two DSLRs–these eat the battery life in a BIG way. We were also shooting a lot of timelapse and in-camp photo timelapses and video with a Go Pro. Lastly, we had to keep Stef’s computer charged up so we could dump our footage at the end of each day and use her phone to update our facebook page! The Goal Zero Escape 150 power pack kept us going with no problems–not once did we have to pass up a shot because we were backed up waiting for a charge.

It’s not easy climbing every day. It’s not easy filming every day. Its straight up hard work doing both together every day–with so much on the line for us we literally depend on having this equipment. Next time we head out into the backcountry, I am going to try and do without as much as I can to save my back and knees…but I will grind down every spare bit of cartilage in my body to make sure I can pack out my Goal Zero gear because without it…we are powerless. The dichotomy of being in the wild but being fully powered is simply amazing. Keep watching our project to see more solar gear in action–or better yet, get outside and try it for yourself!

Project-365: Joshua Tree

Project-365: Joshua Tree

The crux (most difficult part) of our time in Joshua Tree was the weather. Specifically the wind. It is relentless. It drives the dust into all of your expensive camera gear, your food, chases your oatmeal all over the place…there is no letup and it complicates everything. The good thing about this sort of challenge is that it forces you to eliminate wasted movement, gear, time and pare down to the bare essentials. The simple act of living is hard work and living and climbing from one day to the next in itself is very rewarding.

This video is a series of timelapses and film clips that focus on our camp time–and the final evening that we packed up and headed out. What about the climbing? Oh. We did a good bit of that, but the focus of our filming was more concentrated in our camp time–night time shooting especially. Getting footage of the climbs proved to be a huge logistical challenge and our relative unfamiliarity with the terrain made it hard to climb as much as we all wanted to.  We did get some good shots though…but since being in Las Vegas, we have been able to get much more footage along with more climbing because we have a bit more straight-forward approach since we are not living in the dirt!

Filming things is a learning process. It is a HUGE challenge. It is a TON of work–it limits the amount of actual climbing you can do. But it is super exciting because we are so “green” at it that we are constantly learning how to do it better! Right now I am working on balancing climbing the quantity and quality of routes with the element of telling the story through images and film.

In Joshua Tree we did climb a few routes that stand out in my mind–the very first one was a slabby 5.8 route called “Outward Bound Slab”…this was a vision quest, not a pleasure climb. 3 bolts in about 75 feet of climbing–the first one being a solid 35 ft off the deck…so I guess I can’t say that we wanted for excitement. We also got into an area called “Outer Mongolia” in the subsequent days and that turned out to be a bit less scary and contained some awesome routes. “Gandy” was a particularly entertaining 5.9 route up a free standing tower–because it is so far from the road, it sees very little traffic, so there was a bit of loose rock–but still a really fun route.

We are learning fast and are excited to return to Joshua Tree since there are still a few more particularly cool routes that we want to shoot, so hopefully we can make that happen soon–and this time with smaller packs. Carrying that much gear is just straight punishment. In our next video, you will get to see a bit more climbing–so stay tuned!



Climbed: 5155

Injected: Lantus 6/6 but I have increased my humalog to 5-6 units per meal since my sugar has been a little higher. 

So it turns out that packing for a road trip can be complicated…and takes more time than I always seem to think before I get down to it. Friday night I chose to eat pizza for dinner knowing that it would likely cause my blood sugar to spike, and keep me up later correcting it. Sure enough, a few hours after eating my sugar was 280 and I wound up having to stay up til 5 am getting leveled out and back down to 88.

This translated into a later start, dragging ass the next day, less energy, and a bit of a depressed feeling–all of which contributed to waylaying our transition into Joshua Tree National Park. I want to point out that the effects that I just mentioned were caused by a choice that I made, that I was aware of. Diabetes didn’t do anything to me. I chose to prioritize unhealthy food over my performance and health. It happens–it throws a monkeywrench into the plans and you have to deal with it.

Solution? Well, think ahead. If you have to get up and climb and not be depressed and feel like ass, well, don’t eat greasy processed food that you know is going to have that effect. Managing diabetes is more about managing lifestyle than anything else. Blood glucose readings are just a barometer, giving you feedback on the quality of your input, generally speaking.

In any case, we decided to take the remainder of the weekend to finish packing, not rush anything and make sure we head out to Joshua Tree when we are firing on all cylinders–and today we did another “last run” at Mission Gorge here in San Diego–which was a good opportunity to rally. We did a few laps on the Orange Cube boulder which has a few fairly tall boulder problems (especially when you have no crash pad!) and I pulled it together to enough to send a 5.10 which was pretty greasy and thin–so while it was a short climb it was a good note to close things out on since it was a struggle physically and mentally-you don’t want to grease off the top of this boulder. I am always conscious of how it only takes one slip to put the kibosh on this project, so balancing risk and reward is a constant calculation in my mind.

To top things off we decided to play a little game of climbing a small slab in our sandals without using any hands. Its A LOT harder than it looks! It is really good training for balance and slab climbing which is much more delicate than power oriented.

Tomorrow…we leave. For real this time! 14 days in the bag. Still psyched.

Raising the bar

Raising the bar

Climbed: 4110′

Injected: Leveled out with the 6/6Lantus, 4/3 Humalog. Been running close to 100 (waking up between 70-90). 

We are 11 days deep into Project 365 and it is time to raise the bar. We are going to be heading out into the desert for a change of scenery and a bit more isolation and focus. It is interesting how consuming the internet is with its various social media outlets, always clamoring for attention. The price you pay is a decrease of physical activity–in our case, a decrease of emphasis on what we came here to do. Sure it’s nice being able to make little movies every other day and blog and tweet constantly. On the other hand, I have been feeling like our climbing has been…less of a priority than telling people about the climbing.

This creates a strange paradox because the more time spent telling leads to less time creating something extraordinary that is actually worth telling everyone about! So, this means that we are going to be transferring our focus from the explaining and talking about climbing–to actually climbing–and filming for the documentary!

In a way it is probably best that we have gotten off to a slower start than going at it full bore right out of the gate–I am recovering from a grade II A2 pulley rupture last spring and the last thing I need is a re-injury. Plus we have…354 days to turn up the intensity and it’s good to leave somewhere to go.

So. We are leaving for Joshua Tree to do some climbing out there in the desert and re-focus on what we came out here for. Blogs will be updated when there is news to be had (I am going to aim for 1-2 per week) and the majority of updates will happen via our FACEBOOK page since that allows for more runnin’ and gunnin’. Keep in mind that we are going to be without internet/phone service–so responses may be a little slower and updates may be a little more sparse.

We are psyched and ready to take it to the next level!

“Diaversary”? What?

“Diaversary”? What?

Some people with diabetes know (and publicly recognize) their date of diagnosis–affectionately called a “diaversary”. I had completely forgotten the month I was diagnosed, let alone the day, but after some digging and questioning I have established my own date of original diagnosis as January 16th 1999. Why should anyone care?

Great question! Personally I don’t have any use for another date to remember since I have a hard enough time managing a couple of birthdays and a wedding anniversary–but we have decided to begin Project 365 on January 16th 2012, on my 13th “diaversary”. 365 days later, upon successful completion of our project, I will celebrate!

In less than a week we will be headed for California–as you may know we are currently in New York. Sure, I am a bit apprehensive about the whole looming process we are facing and all of the uncertainty and danger and discomfort and legwork and filming and writing and promoting and editing and blogging and…I just can’t wait to be in the beautiful climate of San Diego. That is where we will begin climbing and that will be our “hub” for the first several months, so if you are in So Cal, be sure to check us out and get in touch!

I am a big believer in progression in the process of learning. What better place to start this monumental challenge than climbing where the weather is fine, the climbs are short and the grocery stores are close by! Better yet, Joshua Tree National Park is striking distance away and we will be spending a lot of time climbing there. Each climbing area is different from the next. Each has different challenges and different rewards so expect to see wildly varying terrain over the course of this adventure.

Gonna get some warm California sun!

Every day with our good friend diabetes, we face different challenges and different rewards–bottom line is that we have to trust our skill set. Know that we can handle whatever life throws at us with some grit and determination.



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