Wednesday, August 22, 2012

SwEnV 3

Just another Squamish sunset, not a bad view from the dinner table. This place is absolutely unbeatable when everything comes together. Which mostly means the weather and me having time to be there.

I am currently working 40-45 hours set hours a week behind a computer, which I like to complain about, but it's a good first world problem to have. Life is about variety, and while it looks like I'll be doing this for a few years at least, I'm sure it won't be forever. My goals are constantly shifting, but I got into this career because I hoped I could find a way to make a living in a creative way, but not to be chained behind a computer, or beating my body up too much to climb. I am currently heading towards the creation of a small design firm with fabrication shop. More on that some other time.

Below is a view from the top of the 4th? pitch of a route called the Snake on the Apron buttress at Squamish. The biggest thing I've ever lead, and also my second real trad lead after my first the day before.

Based on my career and geography, I am typically introduced to a very small segment of society. Middle class, mostly caucasion, people are cool and all, but it's great to be exposed to other world views. One of my favorite people I've met recently was a guy named Alon, who's campsite we shared while staying at Squamish. He was a friend of a friend, but we'd heard he had a cool spot and was nice enough to share it with anyone. This was all true, and even more, on a boring rainy day he had added his campsite to couchsurfing as a joke, and now has a steady stream of non-climber visitors. Alon is an Israeli who left the military 4 years ago to start a 3 month road trip. Since then, he has been able to maintain without a traditional job, or probably housing, at times even being efficient enough to live off his interest alone. Since leaving, he has spent several months in New Zealand, sailed through Southeast Asia to stay in Thailand, and somehow ended up in squamish for the dry months this year. I didn't climb with him, but he seemed psyched every day we were there, getting on some tough multi-pitch trad and sport, or taking a rest day to work on a bench or home-made oven for his campsite. He's put in his time, and will continue to live the (climber's) dream.

Looking up towards the Snake, cool features and good but often runout protection. It seeps just enough to be a little bit scary if your name is Erich Purper, or to take down the confident leader who was catching up to me on the second to last pitch.

View from the top.

I don't like the fact that it is difficult to, and often looked down upon, take frequent or extended time off in the US. Seattle has a better work culture than most larger cities, but two weeks vacation a year is just barely enough to keep you sane. There was a German girl couchsurfing at Alon's while we were there who said it was incredible that we could live like that. According to her, a month each year is typical in Germany.

That's my happy face after finishing the route. And deciding to lead one more harder pitch instead of taking a dirty/sketchy scramble to the trail.

And a proud Erich, too good to look at the camera.

This is the Apron, with the Snake clearly visible on the left side of the Diedre dihedral. The Chief is cut off in the background so you can't see how much more proud it is. Next time, Angel's Crest!

Moral of the story, you don't get exposed to people or circumstances like this climbing in a gym. While there is something to be said for still trying to stay fit and living in the middle of a city, I'm still working on planning out my next trip out.

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