After an awesome Halloween weekend and some time at the lake with feraaahking Mike Personick (!!!) I headed, as planned, to Hueco on Monday. It was sad and hard to leave, but good to bail on an up-note. I’m so ambivalent about my Austin life these days. I’m either in love love love with it, or I feel lonely and stagnant. Also, I made such miniscuel progress on Murder Boat Suicide, I resigned myself that it was probably not gonna go anywhere for me until the lake is a bit higher so I can feel the holds and practice those moves off the boat. Possibly while lying down on the bow. In February. In a shorty.
Still, I’m not entirely comfortable with leaving when everything, climbing and friend-wise, is so good in Austin. On my way out of town I passed by Pedernales Falls State Park, which I’ve always wanted to go bouldering at and I think the weather is perfect for it. And I even had a small coup at Reimers with Merrick last week, finally finishing a random Insect Wall route I’d never quite pulled off before. It wasn’t a project, but I had tried it a few times over the years and always came close but no cigar. Sport climbing felt so good – I had none of my old rope anxiety or clipping fear, I could pace myself, it just felt so comfortable. I hope that comfort sticks. I’m trying to get a gang together for a trip to Sitting Bull Falls before it gets too cold. Whenever I am back home, I’m gonna go through a big Insect Wall phase and get obsessed with a few of those lines. They’re all variations on the same theme: Annoying chossy approach, underclings then a long roof move, then a big rock up onto a face, cruiser easy section of glorious, interesting face climbing, then a sort of pumpy crimpy bulge at the top. It’s short, and super fun, and the hard bottom moves are worth it for the awesome mid-section. Anyway, I have left Austin for now and it’s the right thing.
Hueco is, as ever, a weird desert scene. It’s empty during the week, and even Andy, who’s land is just down the road from where I stay at Wallace’s, isn’t around. (UPDATE: ANDY IS BACK!) My best climbing girlfriend Emilia Rafaela Barrows Brown is here, though, and it’s so special to be able to spend time with her and climb. I’m taking a few days to just warm up. Do lots of easy problems and get my top out head and my Hueco skin all in order. I did 30 v0-2s on the front side of North yesterday, and it was awesome. I climbed until my inner elbow started frowning. I was all alone, I don’t even think anyone else was in the park, and I just went up and down of these iron rock crimp faces. Some I remember doing last year, and I am definitely more confident this time around.
I started reading “Go for Broke; My philosophy of winning golf” by Arnold Palmer, which is basically Arnold Palmer talking in great depth about how he decides which beta to use on critical holes in golf tournaments. It’s amazing. There was this thing in it where he was saying that, even though he has this reputation for making bold, reckless shots, he’s actually very careful and never takes shots he doesn’t know he can make. He might not make them the first go, but he’s been playing so long that he knows what’s a stupid risk, and what will go. I found that kind of inspiring.