Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Humbled by the desert

As I look at the scratches, cuts, and bruises on my legs and arms, and the soreness of my quads I think about how good it is to be humbled. Memorial day weekend is filled with people epic'ing on climbs, hikes, paddles, bikes, etc... I didn't think I would make a rookie mistake, but recent successes in climbing have made me over confident. The day started waking up at 4 am dropping Julia off at the Mesa airport for her flight to Arkansas. After driving back to Flagstaff (which took 4.5 grueling hours due to a car wreck) I got some coffee looked at the topo/approach for "the windows route" in Sedona, loaded my pack and got back in the car. Jason and I have had pretty good luck in the past with the "fun," approaches guarding the red rock giants of Sedona. This time however what we thought was going to be an easy 30 minute hike turned into 3 hours of bushwacking, kicking steps in inches of loose dirt covered slick rock, and the unrelenting sharp pokey flora that grows seemingly everywhere. Upon finding the climb on the opposite side of where we started and getting up to the saddle the wind was gusting around 50 to 60 mph. The decision to not climb was made, and luckily we'd brought summit beers. Albeit a failure of the summit the time spent outside was much needed and we celebrated our spiritual successes over the beer. The windows route looks awesome and I can't wait to go back and send!!! Here's a few pictures Jason took.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Photo of the week

I've spent a lot of time trying to get a good photo of Humpries Peak. It seems I'm always too late, too early, or the weather is just too good to get a shot. I've learned my lesson in the past of always taking my camera with me as I've missed many good shots. Last Saturday I got a shot that I think is decent, not great, but in the right direction of getting the shot I want. After hiking up to the saddle between Humphries and Agassiz on a gorgeous spring day we turned around to check out were we had just come from and the clouds were going crazy. The dormant volcano top looked as if it was sucking clouds into it. I took this shot in color, but thought that it looked better in black and white. I have to admit I used a set mode on the camera for it because the clouds were moving so fast and didn't have time to set it up properly. I used the depth of field mode as I wanted to highlight the prairie in front, the trees and top of the peak in the middle, and the sky in the back. The sky is easily the coolest part of the photo as it is multilayered.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Post school Moab trip!

To round off the school year we decided to do a three day trip to Moab. The weather was supposed to be unreasonably cold for this time of year and was in the lower 80's all weekend. The climbing went surprisingly well. I ended up onsighting an 11d mixed route that I'd repeatedly watched people epic on and 10 minutes later redpointed an 11b trad route to its right. We also got out to Mill Creek, which was RAD! I look forward to going back over the summer. I also can't wait for the late fall as my list of climbs in Castle Valley just keeps growing.... Here's a few pictures from the trip.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Picture of the week

I've decided to start posting a picture a week with a story of my inspiration and how I took it. Since the photo above is one of my favorites and one of my most planned I've decided to start with it. The photo was taken outside of Red Rock National Conservation area in Las Vegas, NV at the Kraft Boulders. As one walks down the trail the split in this boulder catches the eye, and begs to be climbed. The first time I went to Red Rocks I climbed this gem, and tried to take some pictures. At the time I had a cheap point and shoot, the lighting was bad, and the composition was awful. Five years later I came back with a tripod and a vision. I knew that the light would be perfect at in the early evening and to take the shot from the east side of the boulder. I got really lucky with this shot as the sky was cloudy, but the air was clear. I set up the tripod and my friend James climbed the boulder. It was Jame's first time chimneying but his form was great. I snapped off about 10 shots and this one turned out the best. I used ISO 200 and shot it with a 18-55mm lense at 18mm. For me this picture encompasses the freedom of bouldering. This problem tops out at about 25 feet and keeps the climber going until the end. Also with Jame's being a relatively inexperience climber I think it shows the natural movement disposition of people to climbing.

I'll be posting another picture next week!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Work and finding flow

It has always been a struggle for me to stay happy in all aspects of my life. For a long time I was very accepting of this as when I'm out climbing on the weekends, I am fully alive. This acceptance however may have been a mistake. While in my undergraduate at University of Idaho I was introduced to the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian Psychology professor. His research studies on ,"Flow". Flow defined as,

or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove. The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing. This is a feeling everyone has at times, characterized by a feeling of great absorption, engagement, fulfillment, and skill—and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored."

This graph outlines his theory and says when challenge and skill level are high, in relation to the individual, that flow is present.

So why is this important? Well many of us achieve flow when we are out climbing, biking, running, etc... But how many of us achieve flow at work? When work, for many Americans, is task oriented, and managed by a socially constructed time clock, this is very hard to achieve.

Point of this post being, office work is slow and painfully chipping away at my soul...