5cense' Moving over stone to the rising sun (a climbing journal (July 1993))


[13 Aug 2020> Onto another journal (the 2nd to last hand-written 1 we need to transcribe, the rest was on a computer), this one a plain dark blue 1 starting in July 1993]:

July 6, 1993 [Tucson]
This paper is white and clean (and acid free, for what it's worth) and the milk is swirling with the foam on top of my double long pull. I have an open bottle of Hornito's tequila (that Elaine gave me) in the icebox and i'm ready to face the rest of the summer in Tucson. The convective heat is so hot it is like substance, like brushing against something or being hit by something. I can only stand it with the idea of monsoons on the horizon, metaphorically at least. I can't wait, they are almost upon us. As for now, i feel like water vapor in suspension in a hot sky. I am silent and have not much to say except wait it out.
     Finally getting back into the climbing groove after a 2 month sort of lapse. Thursday night went to the climbing gym with [C] and Ajay. Saturday i went out with Josh, first time I've ever gone out with him. We did Tongue Lashing (5.11–) and Nancy Crack (5.9+) but i think i talked about that in my last journal. Sunday I went out with C. She led all 3 pitches of Matterhorn (5.4) x 3, a pretty fun route. Then we went to Windy Pt and I led Old Man (5.9), excellent dihedral/crack, very clean, then to some awkward roofs and route finding. We were walking around the "Blazing Fin" to go to Making Muffins when i saw a line of Scott Ayer-like bolts that looked pretty cool so i went for it. It looked 5.8–5.9ish to me (ended up being Nang (5.10-)). Pulled a roof and through a thing slabby section that was probably the crux and onto easier ground. I thought it ended there but i looked up this headwall that veered off right and there were bolts continuing up. It was steeper but jugular and there was one section that was intense and exposed, a layback/barndoor over this roof with nothing but air below, then up... almost 165 feet. I almost ran out or draws, had to use the slings on my friends and when i got up i had 1 carabiner. It was really windy and i couldn't hear C but she sounded like she was in labor, but did it, though she was too tired to do Makin' Muffins after that. Went down and got BBQ shit and went to Brian's for his 4th of July party. Watched the fireworks from his roof but they were lame so C and I went to Jaime's and lost at pool. Monday was a university holiday so i figured I'd take it too. Went with Brian, Harold and Brauny (sp?) up to the top of Mt Lemmon in Harold's beast. Harold's a funny guy, kind of a mix between Garth (in Wayne's World) and Rusty. Him and Brian were climbing together and Brauny (Brian's girlfriend) and I were tagging along. They were going off to The Ravens but we stopped at Rappel Rock. She's interesting though a little dull, especially for a creative writing student. She led all of the regular route (5.7) (5 pitches), it was a mellow hike for me, just enjoying being on the mountain. We free-soloed the 4th pitch, a wall of chickenheads. We thought we might go over to the Ravens to do Luke Slingwalker but didn't have enough time so instead ate almonds and raisins in the piney ant woods. Whenever there's ants and pine trees there is that amazing smell of ant-induced pine needle decay. We walked back through this beautiful green meadow, reminded me of mom's property. We had to wait a while before Harold and Brian got off the rock.
     I don't know what's going on at 741 N 5th Ave [our new home we had just moved into!]. It's definitely weird living with C. Well, weird in that i feel at times she thinks i'm off my rocker and doesn't know me too well. The lack of passion is strange at times but understandable for summer time. I feel a little apprehension, i think mostly cuz of the burden of "shit, what do we do if we break up?" It would be a royal pain in the ass to move out or find a replacement. Sometimes i feel she just takes up my time, like when she was in the Chiricahuas i was so prolific and inspired. But she does nothing to constrain me except just be. It take time and energy to have a relationship. My extinct tells me to sit it out but then i wonder about which direction it would take me, for better or worse. I admire the lifestyle of her parents (which she does seem to strive for) but i don't know if it's for me. It's like i've been corrupted by [Zo]... don't know if i could feel that way about anybody else, but it's not fair to compare. Then again, i just can't let boredom get to me, waiting around for Miss right. If i put work into this it could be really cool cuz she's pliable and lets me do my thing, i guess.

July 14
Another week with nothing to say except a lousy round of golf. Still working on Apu Kuntur, it's turning into a short novel. Today i actually entered a block, re-reading, thinking it was all in vain. Actually i re-read Adelaar and it seemed forced, action after action with no insightful interludes. I guess it was an exercise writing a generic story and everything so far has been, except maybe Tecolote.
     Got that climbing itch back and i think i've taken a big jump, mostly mental (too abrupt to be otherwise) but what a difference. Besides the climbing gym, Scott and Cheryl came down saturday. They got in late and Cheryl's a beginner so we went to Green Slabs. Scott led Monkey Business and I didn't even bother to follow it cuz other people were waiting. Cheryl did it, but not very elegantly. Then i led Banana Cake (5.7), good little climb. Easier than the 1st time (not that it was hard then). Cheryl and Scott followed though Cheryl struggled and i had to hold her from an uncomfortable stance. Then Scott led M.I.A. (5.7) and I followed. It had been sprinkling all afternoon and it was cool. I took over the belay and Cheryl followed and fell many times and it was annoying as hell holding her from up on the block. She kind of called it quits, so i figured I'd challenge Scott so i led David and Goliath (5.10+) though i had to rest before the crux. My toughest on-sight. He followed and did it without falling. Then Scott led Here and Gone (5.8), another great climb. Cheryl was waiting around so we left We went and got C and drank beer on the porch then went to Mi Niditos. I was kind of spacing the blood rushing to my stomach so both Cheryl and Scott are off in the bathroom and C is all "so why are you ignoring me?". Maybe it's true, but it's definitely subconscious. So when we got back we have this talk and she starts getting on my case about all sorts of stuff. But i figure the best thing to do is just be. I mean, it's not a big deal in the scheme of things. She slept in the living room. We had been out at The Shanty til late so we got a late start climbing on Sunday. Cheryl went with us, but just dropped us off. We set out to do Stems and Seeds. Right when we got under Beaver Wall it unleashed rain. Luckily we were in that overhanging cubby so we stayed dry. We hung out for 40 minutes or so then we went to the parking lot, but Cheryl wasn't there. Bill and Dan were there. They got drenched trying to do Beaver Fever. So we sat and shot the crap with them and Rick (the guy i went climbing with in Joshua Tree that first time). They left and it had dried out enough to do T.R.s anyway. We TR'ed Spaceman Spliff (5.10), piece of cake though the rock was damp. We were down there so i figured i'd try St. Stephen (5.10+). I got through the bottom crux, very thin then went up a couple of bolts and Scott Says "look back". A big was coming in and a misty rain started coming down. I decided to hurry and finish it. The move after the 3rd bolt was heinous. Then i was at the 5th bolt and had to traverse around and commit to some moves that would have led to a nasty fall and i'm thinking "this is stupid, why am i rushing through this, in the rain?" So i started down-climbing (and fell before reaching the bolt) i lowered down and went up and tossed the rope down to Scott and he cleaned it. He fell at the 3rd bolt and said the move at the 5th bolt was easy. By this time we were enveloped in this mist so [we couldn't see anything around us... here's the next page in our own writing, where we inventoried our rack:]

July 14
[Dream that we already logged in our dream journal about Harlow and a pressure cooker]
     Went climbing with Harlow yesterday (after climbing gym on monday night). First i led Windsong (5.9+), excellent route. First some thin face moves, then a crack then an awkward roof. Took a lot of thought figuring out the moves. Harlow didn't want to lead so i led Coyote Business (5.10­-), also excellent, but short. After that he led a new route (that he had top-roped) a 5.10- that was between the two. There was a roof that 10b that he dried but fell on so went around. I tried it and did it but it was definitely hard.

July 16
Went climbing with Harlow yesterday. First we did Moving Over Stone (5.9+), he led it. I had been to the climbing gym the night before with C and Ajay so i was fried. Yesterday was my 6th day in a row of climbing. So I didn't follow Malpractise when he did that, didn't want to spoil a chance at an on-sight.
     I don't know if living with C is a good idea. I mentioned that it wasn't healthy and thought one of us should move out. It just came out like that. I don't feel any emotion anymore towards her. What was i thinking moving in with someone i wasn't in love with? I don't know what to do. In one sense i feel like i'm blowing it, but in another i feel trapped. She takes away my self-dignity and freedom. It's kind of scary, she wants stability, she wants a serious relationship, i know in my mind that she's not the one. It's fun for now, for maybe a year or so but i don't think that's what she wants. She doesn't bring out the good side of me. She doesn't motivate, she doesn't inspire me. It's almost like she doesn't approve of me, wants me to be something i'm not. All the reasons that i liked her for are ending up being the reasons i think this won't work. I'll always want more and that's not fair to her. Patience is a virtue, got to wait for the right girl to come along, or for Zo to come back to me.

July 18
Scott and Cheryl came down again this weekend. C and I went up to Windy Pt to meet them. First i led the Trough (5.8) an awkward climb with a dubious #1 stopped placement. Then i did Recovery Room (5.10-), i got to this supposed wicked mantle move, but it was a piece of cake. Started to do Wicked Indecency (5.8+) and then Cheryl and Scott showed up and C got slightly gripped towards the bottom. Scott wanted to lead Malpractise (5.10) and did it resting at the same spot Harlow rested at. I followed it with no falls. We went up to meet these friends of Scott at Windy Point eating lunch. Now we were a group of 6. I dumped C at Making Muffins and those other guys at Ego Donor. Then i took Scott around to Nang (5.10-) and let him lead it. I love that climb, so many cool moves. When we were getting off i look over and C is leading Ego Donor! That Dave guy bailed off, couldn't do it, so C took over and finished it up. I did the Crack (5.9) next to it, beautiful lay-backing the whole way. Then i set up a top-rope on Skin Bracer (5.10) and did that with no falls while the others did Hai Karate. Not a bad day. We went and ate at Good Earth. Scott and Cheryl spent the night after we went to the Bay Horse and shot pool. Today we got a later start after i cooked a big breakfast. I got us lost finding Turret Rock. Took us about an hour. I led Jambrosia (5.7+) a most heinous 5.7 indeed, serious fist jams. Then Scott led the 1st pitch of Rabbit Tracks and Cheryl took forever on it. Doing that Crazy Hand Jive (5.11-) was right next to it so we T.R.'ed it and i did it with no falls. Very slabby and cool. I led the second pitch of Rabbit Tracks (5.10-) which was just a bouldering move over a ledge. We cruised by Olive Garden after to pick up their friend Sonny, then ate leftovers and came over here to meet C at Bentley's.

July 20
Went climbing with Bill Ryan today. Bill Ryan is slightly unevolved, has hair all over his face and moles. He has a PhD in physics. He picked me up at 9 a.m. We had a lot to talk about since we both climb and study physics. There was a lot of fucked up road construction and it was hard to recognize where we were. I mentioned Rap Rock and he was into the idea. So we hiked to the base, left our packs and shoes up top, used his racks of flexible friends. First i led Bender Axen (5.8). I had my comfy shoes on so was having problems frictioning. The crux is before you even get to the crack. Once in the clean crack (reminded me of Yosemite granite) it was 5.6 and fun. After that he led The Corner (5.8+) which was not even 5.8+. Steep layback crack, bomber holds but sketchy placements (at least the way he did it). Then i led Chiboni (5.9+), very thin and runout but bitchin'. I've been looking forward to these climbs for so long. They just fell in to place, as expected. We TR'ed Death or Glory (5.10+), it's rated X so would be a stupid lead. I almost peeled off but did it. Bill also did it. He's actually pretty good, he just doesn't have any confidence. After that i led Charadras (5.7) i was just cruising along until i got to a band of thin polished crystallized stuff that i had to do a diagonal traverse that seemed hard and the placements sketchy (smallest stopper slotted in crystals), but i got through it and it was easy after that, flying high on beautiful granite, pulling up on chickenheads, beautiful weather, the whole rock to ourselves. He led an easy 5.5 pitch that led us across "easy street" then i led Not So Easy Arch (5.6) that was way cool. Then he ran out a pitch on chickenheads and i went straight up the 5.8 slabs of Voodoo Child. Then i clipped a bolt back on lead and pulled this cool 5.6 roof that looked a lot harder than it was, and topped out. 9 pitches in 6 hours. We had to get off in time to get down at 6. An amazing day. I still see all the detail of the rock, the images of dishes or crimp holds, cracks, etc. It's mesmerizing and addicting. It gets more addicting. I dream of the rocks, the moves, the placements and even more than words can way, "the way," the motion, what it represents in yourself.  

July 25
Wednesday i went golfing with Jesus at Enke, a "desert" course... in other words, you drive off a patch of grass over a mesquite groves, cacti and rocks to another patch of grass 200 yards away. Then hit another shot over a gully and more mesquite trees and bunnies and gophers to slanted greens. Fun as long as you don't shank it. I shot 57 the front 9 but the back 9 i shot 45.
Today Harlow picked me up at 7 a.m. and we went up to Reef of Rocks. There was tons of construction (destruction more like) and detours, we were diverted through Summer Haven so we stopped for some breakfast at some evil place. The Reef of Rocks is literally on the north side of the summit. The main 3 crags are the Sea Gods, Neptune, Aegir and Poseidon. It took about 45 minutes down a steep trail to get to the top. We dumped our gear, donned our climbing shoes and went down this steep gully. We were trying to find Coriolis on Neptune. We found this line of bolts that kind of resembled the description (of course Harlow didn't want to bring the book cuz it was too much to carry). He was all ready to lead it, ropes laid out and everything when a darkish cloud came over giving me the chills and bad vibes. So then Chawn is like, "well if you have bad vibes and it doesn't look 5.9 anyway" (we looked at the book later and it was "High Boltage Line (5.11+)! So we did something he knew already, Warm and Free (5.10). Chawn led the 1st pitch, a beautiful 5.9- layback crack. We had to traverse on this ledge 100 feet up to get to it and i belayed hanging out of a tree. I had to follow with another rope strapped to my back, a 2-liter jug of H2O, excess gear and Harlow's helmet which he wasn't wearing cuz it gave him a headache. It was great fun, laying back the whole way. I led the next pitch (5.10) up some crack to a 5.8 first crack. I got such a solid jam i couldn't get my fist out. Then a cool hand traverse and mantle than some committing slab climbing past 2 bolts then some runout. Rapture of the Steep starts right above it off a cool ledge. Chawn didn't want to lead and wasn't in the mood to follow it either so we bailed, stopping at Windy Point on the way down and I led St Stephens (5.10+), barely did it, got to the part i was at last time and just went for it getting a finger jammed off and reeling for another finger jam then made the clip then quickly pulled it off. I lowered down and Harlow tried the first move 3 times and couldn't do it so i had to clean it and do it again (boy was i pumped!).

Sun, July 25
Yesterday i went climbing with Bill Ryan (this is turning exclusively into a climbing journal!). 1st we did Mean Mistreater (5.10, 2 pitches). He did the 1st pitch which was 5.9, he'd done it before so didn't have any problems. I led the 2nd, i went very cautiously. 20 feet of 5.7–5.8 run-out to get to the 1st bolt than a semi-cruxy move, then another runout to the 2nd. The crux was here. Layback and stem into this overhanging bulge then reach high and grab a big jug. That felt good. The rest was easy and there was pro. When i peaked over the top a dog was staring me in the face. He belonged to these redneck rappellers. They were making all sorts of noise hooting and hollering and i thought they'd throw the rope on me while i was climbing. I belayed Bill up. He fell a few times at the crux. And i'm kind of watching these idiots setting up their rope. Bill makes it up. I watched the guy chuck the rope over without a word or to check if anybody was below. He seems all proud until the other end went slithering over. I try not to laugh and tell them sincerely that they should check first and yell "rope!" before throwing the rope. We walked down and are at the base when a rope comes hurling towards us with no warning. Needless to say, a slur of obscenities spewed forth from my mouth.
     We went over and did Seventh Sojourn (5.9). I led it, all gear except up past the crux, a beautiful crack. The top was very run out and i had a lot of rope drag. My stomach was gurgling and i'd had enough. Bill led Blazing Apostles (5.7+, 2 pitches), a nice crack. I lead the second pitch which was run out 5.5. We called it quits. He had to get some things done and i wasn't up to it. Went home and slept. Alan came by and we went for a pitcher at Jaime's. He's a pretty interesting dude. Brian calls and asks if i want to go climbing. I'd already made plans with C so i said no. Then C starts getting all weird  in her "whatever" mood. There's no way i'm spending a week w/ her in Yosemite if she's gonna be like this, so i told her so. She decides she doesn't want to go tomorrow (today) which is fine by me. She says she can't just shut off her emotions. Fuck emotions. the only way can deal is to climb. I call Brian back, he still wants to go but has no vehicle and there's no way i'd stoop so low as to ask C to borrow hers. So no climbing for this boy today. We were desperate enough to throw around ideas like taking the bus to Sabino Canyon to climb in the sweltering heat. I guess there's always the climbing gym. Oh well, good to lay off it for a day. I can't even deal with C anymore and have become detached. Was i naive or what thinking she would be different? It's inherent in a woman's nature to take away men's freedom and try to tame them into something they're not. There's always this thinking that "the next won't be like this" but maybe it's just me and the way i let them get to me. I'm not cut out for that shit which is cool, i just have to be strong and not give in and be happy as a loner. So who am i going to go climbing in Yosemite with? Maybe i'll just go to Mom's place and chill or climb Shasta. I've done 35 climbs or so in the past 11 days. Including 7 x 5.10 leads, 3 x 5.9 cracks, some 5.11- and 5.10+ top-ropes and not a single fall. Not back to writing fiction about climbing.

July 26
I ended up going climbing with both Brian and C. I wrote all morning and went back to the house at noon for lunch and apologized for being poopy and all that. She wanted to go climbing and so did Brain still, so all 3 of us went. We went up to Windy Pt and first did Birthday Girl (5.10). Brian didn't want to lead so i did. The sequence after the 3rd bolt was pumpy and committing but i did it and it wasn't so bad. Excellent route, it goes up that overhang to thin face then into a dihedral then step back out onto the face for a while longer. Both Brian and C followed. C had to try the crux a few times before she got it. We TR'ed Buttlebutz (5.11) but i couldn't do the crux and neither could Brian but i pulled him through it so we could get the sling. We went up and did Deranged of Late (5.8). She wanted to quit halfway through but we talked her into finishing. She spent a lot of time at the last bolt again wanting to quit but did the move after the rope got caught with her feet. She got to the ledge then completely lost it. Her legs buckled and she just kind of squatted down and started crying. All she had to do was stand up and clip the chains (actually slings we set up since some assholes removed the chains) but she was completely dysfunctional, saying she was afraid of falling. Brian ran up and coached her from the top. Finally she stood up and did it. Phew. It's amazing how much climbing is a reflection of your psychological state, or the state of the relationships with whom you're climbing with. Something about her being up there, so close to the top, with me belaying, it's almost like sex (when you climb with someone you're having a relationship with). All she has to do is stand up and clip those top bolts (the orgasm) but she turns into a useless bag of bones, probably cuz of her lack of trust in me. I'm not sure quite what it was, but the whole incident really struck me as being more than it was, the physical reality of climbing hides some deeper underlying meaning and in this case the wall/face (literally) broke down, exposing sheer raw emotion and the limitations of our physical bodies. I followed it to get the quickdraws so C could do it again but she didn't want to and Brian had had enough so i led Spaceman Spiff (5.10)—a cool mixture of bolts and gear and easy climbing (well, relative to Birthday Girl). Then Brian followed but C didn't even want to try.

yours truly on Birthday Girl (5.10)

July 27, 1993
Monday night went to the climbing gym and did a 5.11, 5 x 5.10s and a few others. I took Ajay out today, finally did Standard Route on Chimney (5.7, 5 pitches). I did the last pitch barefoot cuz i was sick of taking my shoes off and on. Ajay made it though he wasn't exactly graceful. Then we drove up the road to do Sahrite (5.7+), a face climb that leads to this awkward chimney. Actually i got myself into some trouble going up there but i was thinking only of gear. Then i had to run it out way up until i was out of rope. Kept trying to yell shit to Ajay but we couldn't communicate. Belaying him up was like belaying a sandbag, i basically hauled him up.
     Is climbing the only thing going on in my life? C and I keep almost having sex but i keep coming to my senses. It's not even like she makes me horny. I'm turned off because of the repercussions. I have to write a summary of activities for my NSF grant and i have a meeting w/ Dr Hill tomorrow.

July 30, 1993
Summer phase 2 is over and i'm moving into phase 3. Lots of changes. C left on thursday morning. She won't get back (from Wisconsin) til after i leave so i won't be seeing her for a while and hopefully when i do she'll be moved out. I can't deal with all her shit everywhere. When she moves out i'm going into simplicity mode, empty space. She was really getting to me. She doesn't stimulate me at all. I'll gain so much self-respect and pensive freedom now that she's gone. Today is the last day of work for this NSF thing. Damn, that was an easy $5,000. Thews is deciding about T.A. appointments for next year and there are 8 more grad students than appointments. Dr. Hill encouraged me to try to get a ¼-time R.A. to increase my chances so i talked to Dr Huffman, but there's not money there. I guess now Dr Hill recommended me for a ½ appt and i have my fingers crossed. So there it is... job, money, housing, girlfriend, all in transition and all up in the air and the roulette wheel is spinning and i'm bailing to California for familial obligations and maybe get a car and maybe bum around and meet Shaheen and Dave in Zion. Is Henry Miller (Sexus) a good thing to be reading at such a vulnerable time? I finished the Log of Apu Kuntur story and i think i'm pleased with it.
I just found out i got my ½ time T.A. appointment. Obviously i'm psyched but i'm also bummed cuz i'm friends with a lot of the competition and i know Harlow didn't even get ¼ time, but i don't know about Ajay. I guess it's dog eat dog, though, cuz i'd be screwed otherwise. Dr Hill took me over to Zetetic this afternoon. It was fun, we went on our bikes, with Bill and Yeming also. 4 nerdy physicists, riding in 100+ degree afternoon heat through Tucson suburbs. The guru businessman Dr Hill in suit and tie, the nerdy schizo Chinese student, the clumsy slobby Greek Bill and me. Zetetic is in a warehouse in the industrial area near the tracks. It's a pretty cool set up. Dr Hill's kindness overwhelms me. He went through a lot of trouble to make sure i was situated next semester. I'm learning a lot about honor and commitment and business. Dr Hill is being pretty punk rock to say fuck to the university and create this private off-campus site where he can do the shit he wants and receive the funds he wants without university oversight. I just saw Rising Sun, which got me thinking a lot about this Sean Connery like patriarchal figure. The story of Qui Ju also taught me a lot about Chinese philosophy and social interactions, about respect and losing face. So at least i'm set financially, for now. 

[onward to August 1993]

774 <(current)> 776> The ask of the red-headed comcast girl along Michigan ave to South Dakota
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