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September 29, 2009

Ever notice how time away from the climbing life can sometimes be a good thing?  It’s probably a hard thought to digest for a lot of weekend-warrior types (like me!), when you never seem to have enough time to get out there.  Hell, since I started climbing about 13 or 14 years ago, I’ve scarcely stopped for any length of time, and being dedicated to all-rounding has meant that I’m out climbing something pretty much year-round.  If you count after-work missions and the dawn patrol solos on the local ice routes, I’ve generally managed to get out nearly 200 days each year for the past decade or so.

This past summer, save for a short (but fantastic) trip out west, I’ve hardly gotten out much at all.  I managed to spend quite a bit of time bouldering in the spring, obsessing as I do.  The (re)discovery of that activity was itself like a new romance for me – but other aspects of my life have just gotten in the way of any serious rock climbing the past few months.  The confusing thing for me is that it was largely by choice – I had a lot going on, and it seemed like the right time to take a break from the climbing life for a while.  Initially, I was forced into some downtime by a complicated hand and arm injury (from climbing, of course), but I’ve been deliberately slow to get back after it.

The time off has been good; in the meantime, I’ve gotten happily married (and spent some great down time with Jenn), put a dent in the house renos, successfully trained (on my own!) a young Labrador retriever that is growing into one fine duck hunter, and even got a degree of skill in the gym with the power lifts.  That’s not to say climbing hasn’t been on my mind, but it’s been nice to make time for other activities and pursuits, some simple and some demanding.  And certain aspects of these activities have crossed over into my climbing – I’m heading into winter finding my head is in a good place this year.

Life has been satisfying, but now that itch is starting again.  It’s probably the change in season, and much as I love pretty much every style of climbing (except aid), winter climbing has been and always will be my favourite.  After dealing with a shoulder injury last year, and missing a trip to the Rockies in winter for the first time in over 8 years, I’m ready to go for it a bit more than usual this season.  I’m looking forward to every aspect of it, including the preparation and training (I have a lot of work ahead of me there).  It will be fun to start Crossfitting again and of course climbing a lot of steep, pumpy rock routes as the weather cools to acclimate to the cold and that deep ice climbing pump.  And, as usual, I’m sure that first day will be magical once the winter temps arrive.

In the meantime, I’m excited for another trip – this time our honeymoon – where we’ll of course be doing some climbing.

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