It’s been a while. This year has turned into a busy one. Much of my time is, unfortunately, spent sitting at a computer, but I do manage to get out a fair amount.
That is indeed Fabio in the photo above. I do meet celebrities every once in awhile, but I try to avoid being that annoying guy who begs for photos and autographs. There are, of course, exceptions. When I discovered that the man who shirtlessly adorned every romance novel in the 80s and 90s, the man who recorded amazing work-out videos and romance cassettes, the man who appeared in hilarious bit parts on many B-rate TV series, the man who hocked butter that wasn’t butter, the man who defeated a goose with his nose on a roller coaster would be at my local Whole Foods Market—I knew fate had smiled upon me. I also knew that my dearest pal, Bryan Nelson, would never forgive me if I passed up this serendipitous opportunity. And so, Erika and I traveled to the Glendale Whole Foods just so I could meet Fabio (and apparently buy his whey protein powder). Who says dreams don’t come true?
Besides being shackled to a computer and admiring Fabio, I’ve also been keeping to a relatively frequent climbing schedule. I attended the Red Rock Rendezvous in Nevada again this year. It’s an annual climbing festival filled with clinics, events, and vendors giving away lots of great stuff (Mammut gave me a free $90 headlamp!). Despite having our tent destroyed by high winds again, we had a great time. My highlight this year was my multi-pitch clinic where I got to go trad climbing for the first time. If you aren’t familiar with the term, trad is traditional climbing, what some consider “real climbing.” It’s the type of climbing where a group starts at the base of a rock and places protection as they climb up bringing the rope up with them. As they make their way up the rock pitch-by-pitch, the follower removes (or cleans) the protection. I took on the role of follower. Leading a trad climb is the dangerous part and requires experience and practice. The guide was our leader. We climbed four pitches on a 5.8 (moderate) route. Besides Erika and I, a few of our friends came to the Rendezvous this year also. Maybe we’ll get even more folks there in 2013.
One of the nice things about attending the Red Rock Rendezvous are the cool people you meet. I met a guy named Mark who has been climbing nearly as long as I’ve been breathing. He offered to start taking me trad climbing. I’ve been trying to move into trad, but it’s difficult since I’m the most experienced climber amongst my friends. The multi-pitch clinic at Red Rock and Mark’s offer were two great opportunities that graced me on the same day. Two weeks ago, Mark made good on his offer and we headed over to Idyllwild and climbed a six pitch route on Tahquitz Rock. It was a low-grade easy route, but snow had fallen earlier that week. The base was covered in snow and four of the six pitches also had a bit of snow on them. That made the ascent a little tricky, but dealing with the snow was a valuable piece of additional climbing experience. Mark and I are heading back tomorrow.
I’ve also been doing as much canyoneering as I can squeeze in. I’ve run Rubio Canyon multiple times in the last few months and Karl and I ran Little Santa Anita last weekend. If we’re lucky, we’ll get a permit to do Mystery Canyon in Zion this summer.
In closing, a huge thing that happened in the last few months was the completion of “The Many Maladies of Marty Mitchell.” This is a short kids’ show I shot in my living room three years ago. It was finally finished and premiered in March. We held a Butcher Bird Studios Screening at the Goethe Institute on March 16th. We showed several of the projects we’ve worked on together and with others. We closed the night with the premiere of “Marty Mitchell.” It felt really good to finally be able to show it to people, especially those who helped make it happen.