Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Too much is more than enough

In the winter, the weeks without a mountain start to pile on like snow, making me edgy, even cranky. As spring approaches, and the weather delievers blue skies and mild winds but snow still packs the trails, I start to almost crawl up the walls, as if I'm going through heroin withdraw and I've misplaced my methadone.
But now, I have a weekend without climbing, and I can't be more grateful.
I am sick of it all.
This summer was my first guiding clients up mountains, and in some ways, it's sapped the joy out of climbing.
In the past, my summers would consist of doing a few 14ers in June, with maybe a snow climb or two. Then In July I'd climb in Rocky Mountain National Park with my Dad and a few family friends. Finally, I'd wrap up the summer with some epic trips up more 14ers, some of the harder routes, and then relax and wait for the coming year.
It was always hard, at times, but you only really get two or three great months of climbing before the snows hit again, so you have to take advantage.
This summer I took three weekends out of my schedule to lead clients up 14ers. Next Thursday I'll lead a few other paying clients up Longs Peak, the state's most popular 14er (and one of the hardest).
In many ways I'm grateful for the part-time job. It's something I love to do, and I'm getting paid for it. I will use the extra money, around $1,000 (or about as much as it feels like I've lost lately overplaying QQ) to buy a new computer, a MacBook Pro laptop. And I've enjoyed sharing my passion with others and seeing their eyes light up when we reach the summit.
But climbing is hard enough already, and I've discovered that doing it for others has made it a job, and a tough one at that. I'm no longer doing it for myself. I'm doing it for a computer.
So this weekend I cancelled a trip for the Colorado Mountain Club. I'm tired of guiding, and I'm tired of climbing. I plan on being a normal person again, playing some poker (and there are signs that, maybe, I'm doing a little bit too much of that as well), hanging with my wife and the kid and, finally, going to see Snakes on a Plane!!!
Then I'll do the Longs Peak trip, then over to Aspen to help my friends climb the hardest 14er in the state (I'll post pictures of that, you'll be blown away).
I'm looking forward to September for two reasons.
One, I'll be climbing for myself again. I'll try to knock off a couple Centennials for my quest to knock off the top 100 peaks in Colorado. One of those trips, down to the San Juans over several days. should be spectacular.
And second?
By the time mid-September rolls around, the weather will turn colder, the snows will start to fall again...
And I'll be done.

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