Las Vegas, Nevada. The city of sin, here the unstoppable force meets the immoveable object on a nightly basis. Lives are started and ended on the tables and in the canyons of Red Rocks. Through hallow motivation, the conception of the modern American and the modern climber occurs in the embrace of the continuous calming winds. Birth sees the inexperienced new born a welcoming environment. Schooled in the ways of credit cards and topless bars or quickdraws and gri gri's, youth's fantasy fades to teenage adolescence. Having experienced the confidence boosting, jug hauls of the Trophy Wall, I can attest to over inflated state of one's ego early in life.
As per life's great irony, the day a child's blinders are removed so that they may see their parents as people; the glory of fixed draws and white crimps at The Gallery fades. Life is now no longer a game, a chance role of the dice. Our hero's existence has become irrevocably interwoven with the game. The player can't stop playing and the fingers always feel sore. Just as a river strives to overcome but never achieves its freedom from gravity, so does the will of all self proclaimed dirt bags. Lucky for the player, he his afforded to the proximal comfort of the nearest high rollers section of his favorite hell. The journey is second rate compared to the intangible, fallacious wealth of the destination.
As a young adult, my sights were set on a new life. A new start to which the future of steep vertical days to come are shaped. A style unlike anything experienced before, wall climbing. Tri Tip ascends a Navajo quality face on discontinuous features for an incredible 180 ft first pitch. Somewhere high on the pitch, I became hooked by the continuously linked boulder problems, high above gear. This new style, unlike anything I've ever experienced before gave a poignant clear contrast to the destination focused self. Returning to the horizontal, I could feel my toes wiggling in free space above the precipice of change. Maybe the destination, the big win, the one life changing experience everyone is seeking out, maybe, just maybe it doesn't exist.
Almost as if it could be predicted, as if it was density, the foretold unstoppable force had me unknowingly in it. Swept up in a history running its course in the path left by "why not" and "suffer for it". The light of the Luxor split the divided the sky like the rich and poor it dictates, the morning we awoke to meet an immoveable object. Late per usual, our arrival at the slabs questioned my very dedication to this life. However, the time for questioning had long since past. The only time left was for action, action to climb and absolutely love every moment of it. The immaculate corner allowed for incredibly powerful climbing through exciting positions and into a space never previously known. Over the rainbow and through the red dihedral, the collision occurred. Small at first but in totality so large the heat of this reaction will always be felt. The same hallow beginnings returned to contrast the false reality in which we live. On the tables of Vegas fortunes are never made, lives are never improved, and hearts are never one. And, if one can ever be as fortunate enough to experience love, happiness, or freedom the true shining star is the work invested, not the moment of success. While it has been told to me so many times I wince even as I type these cliched words, the journey is truly what is important and never the destination. Objectifying this obvious fact inevitably invokes thoughts of all those who have made my accomplishments possible. I've been all so lucky to share my forays with only incredible people so, to all the nights we've spent immortalizing the lines, to all the times you've held my life your hands, to all we've invested, gained and lost, and to all the unknown futures we mights share, this post is for you.
Finally, before I go, I offer this one last tale. I hope it provides a clear underline to this whole notion of the journey in exchange for the destination. It was hot, far too hot climb. My Bronco II had and never will have air condition, so the cool air of Denny's was all but the only option to escape the sweltering sun. We sat at a small table in the perpetually uncrowded atmosphere typical of any Denny's you'll walk into in Anytown, USA. The food was terrible, but the companionship terrific. She was, still, and always will be the most beautiful woman I'll ever lay eyes on, and this day was no exception. I told her I never thought I'd climb 5.12, and questioned my very motivation to climb. I was a 5.9 climber at best and the destination was my only view. Simply put, the journey didn't even exist. Naturally, being a member of the opposite sex, she was blessed with the power to mature, and thus the journey did and probably always had existed to her. As always, she reassured my wavering confidence, bolstered my motivations, and played Devil's advocate all too well. We payed our bill, sucked the last drops of orange juice from their cups, and continued down the path of life together. Looking back on this moment now with more experienced eyes, this is the moment walls were removed and possibilities realized. Without this wonderful women, I would still be stumbling through the dark believe I could never climb 5.12, or ever be truly happy, or see a life outside the boundaries of rock, summits, and adventure. I'd be alive, but not living.