[3 Oct 2020> Flashing back to December 1993, picking up from Nov 1993, again, mostly about climbing... ]
Dec 5, 1993
Excellent weekend! Friday evening i had a date w/ [Zo], this new Greek place looked pretentious so we went to Maya Quetzal which was good. Afterwards we cruised over to Allison's, then Ignacio showed up. Same old shit. Not missing much from that crowd. Scott came down early Saturday and we cruised out to the Dragoons, West Stronghold. How i long for this gem of a place, how long i've longed to do Warpaint (5.10c, pitches). Set out up the leftmost gully, on the right track, up the riverbed of boulder to the huge Arizona cypress with branches point down, then up to the base of Warpaint, making good time. I led the 1st pitch, made the beginning harder than it had to be, and my feet not working properly. So i had to find a good stance and take my polypropylene socks off cuz they were sliding around. Even still, my slippers felt loose and gushy, i made it through the crux no problem except that it looked intimidating, then i started to slip and caught myself. After that i was rushing moves but pulled it off, though i made it harder than it had to be. Scott followed and when he got up i was like "where's the rack" (the first pitch was all bolts). He left it, so i lowered it and he had to climb that pitch again. I was feeling pressured for time after that so i rushed the 2nd pitch, which was a cool 5.8 crack, kind of off-width/fist/stemming. Scott led the Scott led the 3rd pitch, and fell on the second bolt, just did a stupid move, not thinking, but cruised after that. An excellent pitch up this seam with crystal pockets/face climb slab. The fourth went up more slab and crystal pockets up around a corner into this runout dihedral stemming up till it ran out, i leaned right and was all awkward, grabbed this huge boilerplate then just let go and hauled myself up. Such an excellent move, all tenuous and balancey, then a mondo jug just in reach. So perfect this climb was meant to be, i mean if that jug wasn't there it would have gone at 5.13 or something. Each pitch besides the 2nd had multiple 5.10 cruxes for that matter. Anyway, that pitch continued along the slab, sweeping left (i remember it being so much fun that as i was doing it i was yelling down to Scott that it was like surfing on rock). It was a bit contrived in that it was easier to the right but the bolts pulled you on this exposed arête which was bitching. Scott led the last pitch up these crystal pockets, face moves, and after about 40-50 feet it turned into fun runout 5.5 to the top. Yee-haw. When i got up i started hollering in war-dance fashion and 2 climbers on Moby Dick echoed the call back. The only other people we saw all weekend. I took chalk and painted strips on my face and so did Scott and we rapped off, having to be careful since the 2nd rope was Kyra's rope whose last 20 feet got frayed in Joshua Tree, but we made the last rappel, a free rappel over the overhanging into this cover. It was a rush, everything was so beautiful, it was religious. I think it qualifies as one of my most coveted experiences, just being out there, the rock, the trees, the form of the landscape. Before we had gone up we were joking about what kind of wildlife we would see and Scott said "rabbits" and as we were cruising back down the gully, we kept seeing these surreal rabbits, that just sat motionless. And i don't remember ever seeing rabbits out there. We got his van right at sunset and decided to drive out to Isle of You because i remember Bruce and Wayne said they'd be out there. They weren't. But it was a cool drive into chaparral "Africanized" southwest stronghold area. We made a big fire and ate burritos, drank a bottle of red wine, some coffee then slept in his van, paranoid that it would be cold but it wasn't bad (it was 33° when Scott picked me up in Tucson Saturday morning). Woke up and decided to check out Sheepshead despite Bob Kerry's warning that going there would be an adventure. Cool hike through grasslands then bushwhacking up a steep gully to Sheepshead. Mostly scouting. Sheep Thrills looks cool but above my head right now. Absinthe of Mallet and Ides of Middle March look very cool but long multi-pitch routes. When we found "Wish You Were Here" and "Crazy Fingers" they looked like a pile, vague, runout and shitty rock and scary. Then we scouted over to Big Sister, which has some pretty intense rock, but by the time we found it it was too late and also pretty run out. So we just hiked off and it was, well, a long adventurous hike.
Some new developments... i had planned on going to do Raising Arizona with Christine on Thursday morning. We were on our way when the idea of hiking Mt Wrightson came up. Looking back on it, it was a fateful decision. I figured we may as well bring Stefan along since he wanted to go climbing and couldn't find a partner, and i feel sort of an obligation to get him in shape for Mexico. So we picked him up and drove out to Madera Canyon. I pretty much followed Christine's pace and we kept getting ahead of him. Waited for him at Josephine's saddle then went ahead and waited at the saddle 1 mile from the top but he didn't show up so we blazed up and waited an hour at the summit (9,456 ft). Excellent hike! Not much snow left, but what was left was icy and slick. I read through the summit registry and saw Todd and Sean's entry, "we came looking for ladies and found 3 x 1067 of them." I guess they were talking abut the lady bugs. Stefan didn't show so we went back down. Found a marking on the trail so we went to the bottom where he was at the car, he somehow got off the trail "got to an ice field and a steep headwall, almost to the summit"! He is starting to really annoy me. He is all talk and money and his whole value system is different from mine (he even brought a gun with him, in case he came across a bear). What was i thinking? And this guy is going to be roped to me on a steep ice field? Serious reality check. I didn't say much on the drive back, but i was stewing. Fur chrissakes, he couldn't get up Mt Wrightson (on the 3rd attempt) how the hell is he going to get up something twice the height? That was Thursday. Friday we were to buy our train tickets. Set the thing in stone. I was willing to go through with it just cuz i really wanted to do it, and i said i would. I called Boyd and he was getting at something. Ended up this Steve guy i never even met cancelled out and Boyd was getting at something, stuttering, about time and money. Stefan couldn't go until the 19th. Boyd had to be back by the 30th. What he was getting at was that he was backing out. It made things simpler but scarier still, me alone with Stefan. I had to sleep on it. I had arranged to meet Todd to get the train tickets at 1:00. Stefan and i were going to get the ice axe at 11:00. Setting the trip in stone. No going back from there. We were walking to the bank. I took out $100 to buy my ticket. Stefan said "let's go to Lucky Chinese". And we were eating and talking and then the words came out of my mouth, i needed to honest, "Stefan, are you sure this is the right thing to do, are you prepared? You couldn't even keep up with me up Mt Wrightson." I had to lay it on him, and just hope he understood. "You’re gonna be roped to me! I have to know whether you're up for this." I recommended that there was a lot of other shit he could do. He asked me directly, "so you don't think we should go?" and i said yes. Said and done, i feel relief, i feel bad for having to be so hard on him and he seemed hurt. We walked to his house and saw his mother on the way. I'm starting to see through the spoiled Jewish mama's boy that he is, who thinks he knows it all, and can do anything, when the only thing i've seen him do is buy things—altimeter, North Face jackets, cellular car phones, guns, gadgets that he thinks will further progress his life, and it's not like he's lacking will. It's just his ambition is not materializing. And that's okay, for him, but as my "partner in climb" it's hindering my progress. It's almost like a marriage, and i have to break it off before we commit. So after leaving his place i called Todd cuz i still felt an obligation to get the tickets for him in Nogales since i speak spanish. When i called Todd to explain my situation he invited me on their expedition. I had to take a nap. Letting someone down like that is a big mental drain. I can't make a quick decision. So now i've decided I'm doing this with Todd, Eric and Matty. Matty is the only problem i foresee as far as personalities, but it's pretty shallow and i'm not dependent on him like i would've been with Stefan. It’s amazing how much climbing can teach you about human psychology and social interaction.
Went climbing with Stefan today. Started him off on Monkey Business, then i led Borrowed Time (5.8) which was pretty dumb then Stefan led M.I.A. (5.7) my fourth time up that climb. I pretended i was free-soloing to make it more interesting. Stefan followed it without falling so i had him lead Blood Simple (5.9). He was going past the first bolt and fell and was feebly grabbing his ankle, so i lowered him. I went up and it was a breeze. I lowered down and started to belay him but he was whining about his ankle so instead of me following it i TR'ed Raising Arizona (5.10) which was wicked, and i regret top-roping it cuz now i can't flash it, as it's a pretty bold lead. I told Stefan i'm going to Mexico with Todd. No hard feelings. It ends up he may go to New Zealand anyway.
I have been having severe bouts of déjà vu lately, like a dozen or so times a day. Sometimes they keep piling on top of each other, and i just ride it out. Caffeine has taken control of my sense and i'm riding on that and letting things take their course... not that i'm being passive, because dissing Stefan required a lot of momentum. But now everything is falling tother. I have my final on wednesday, the plans with Todd et all are pretty definite, for the 30th. I was thinking i would go down to Mexico early and meet them there, then played phone tag with mom and Kevin and for a while it was planned that Kevin would come out to Tucson and maybe go with me to Ajijic on the train, then it was decided that he would drive here after dumping his stuff off in L.A. and mom would fly out here too, for x-moas or just a few days. Then just tonight i got a call from mom and they don't want to come out but says i should go out there. So i booked a flight but didn't want to solidify it, though it was like the last seat and i put it on 24-hr hold until , well i figured something would come up, i would find someone going to S.F. and i went to Pony to study and in walks that beautiful Emily girl and i remember she is from the bay area so i ask her if she's driving out and what a coincidence, she is, like the same days i booked my flight for. I'm stoked. She's gorgeous. It's all fitting together and starting to make sense. Sunday i went climbing with Shaheen, to Hairpin Turn. There are 2 routes on the left as you're going up. I led one of them, some contrived easy 5.8 with poor bolting job. Shaheen dicked around for a while i froze my ass off then he led the other one (easier) and i was too cold to follow. Instead we went up this heinous gully to Rosie (5.10+)... that whole canyon gives me the creeps in a cool way. Desolate and full of spirits. We went thru these pseudo caves to get to it. As i was racking up we kept hearing this noise like a plastic tarp flapping in the wind right around the corner from where we were but couldn’t see anything. I should mention this freaky experience i had with an owl the day before when i was scoping out "Borrowed Time", there was an owl perched about 3 feet from my head that scared the piss out of me. It slowly swooped off, right by my face. Stefan said it was a bad sign, i though owl's were a good sign. Anyways, this sound then sounded like flapping and was freaking me out. I considered not leading since i was getting bad vibes. My confidence was down. But i forced myself to overcome. I did its slowly and cautiously, expecting it to get hard, but it didn't really. I felt really solid, it made me feel good, Excellent climb, positive holds.
Dream 1 [not yet logged in our dream journal]: i was walking through this marketplace that seemed third world. There was this guy who wanted to sell himself as a piece of meat to eat. He had already begun the cooking process though he was still alive. He was pulling these fleshy threads out of his mouth and his skin was thick and dry and peeling off in big chunks. He was going to inject himself with some euthanasia to kill himself. I was intrigued cuz i'd never seen anyone die before my eyes. He injected himself than within seconds he was quivering and convulsing and fell to the floor. A clown, his ghost, popped up out of his body and was dancing around all cheerful like he'd been freed. He jumped towards me and i was wondering whether ghosts (clowns) have mass. He hit me with tremendous force. He had mass. People asked me and i said so, though the clown-ghost also stepped on Kevin and Kevin said the clown-ghost didn't have mass. The clown ghost jumped and danced away, free.
Finals are over, i'm done posting grades, etc. All i wanted to do is climb and no one can go, everyone has a final. A lot of shit has happened since then, i guess in the usual fashion i'll go chronologically. Monday i got a call from Mom and it ends up her and Kevin weren't coming down to Tucson and said for me to visit them, but i think i mentioned that, how i ended up asking Emily and she just happened to be going. The next day i see Emily and although she's beautiful she's totally pretentious and new agey and forward. I walked over to the laundromat and she was complaining about how she hasn't had sex for 3 weeks and finally she'll get to have sex tonight. Hmm. I don't ask her to elaborate. She alludes to getting married on the way. I'm beginning to have my doubts. My test was the next day, i felt good going into it but got slammed hard. I was thinking oh well. It was hard for everyone. He had them graded in an hour or so. I went to look and i got a B... i was devastated. 9 A's and 4 Bs and i'm one of the Bs. I was in a pretty depressed state. I went to do laundry. Emily runs into me. She's getting weirder. Starting to compare me to all her boyfriends. How she can't believe she's getting involved with another "earthy" type, the ones that say, "later babe, i have a rock to climb." She offered to drive me home and being that i had four loads of laundry i wasn't in a position to refuse (though i did manage to lug it all there just fine). And of course i invite her in and she starts going off again, assuming we're gonna have sex. So I'm all "well at least tell me about yourself." (I want to figure out what made her this way). So finally she gets the hint and leaves and thenI started re-arranging the rooms for when Lydia moves in and on my knees... i emptied out my living room and was polishing the floors and Emily comes by again and plops herself on my floor, ripping things out of newspapers and putting them in piles. Hmm. Then she plops herself on my bed and i'm just kind of moving stuff around and cleaning then she's going on about how she's so good at love making and just wants to touch me "there's 2 ways to fall asleep, one is to lie naked entwined in someone's arms, another is to go home and sleep in your clothes on top of your bed." Looks like it might be the latter for you, i felt like saying, but was a little nicer about it. But I basically had to kick her out, told her i wasn't that kind of guy when really she was just freaking me out. Woke up this morning, and booked a flight to SFO, actually Oakland. Finished grading, handing in my last assignment then went climbing with Pat and Christine to Milagrosa. A glorious day, cold but we were in the sun. Christine started us out no that new 5.8, the Pat led Instant (5.9). I did both without following the usual line, just to challenge myself. Then i led Espresso Express (5.10d) which was contrived and somewhat loose and more like 5.10a-b but cool edgy stuff. Then Pat cruised up Mocha (5.10a) and i followed then went down into the riverbed and found some boulder problems on the cold polished granite. Got back and made about 25 phone calls, trying to find someone to climb with, but no luck, I'm being sedentary at least forcibly, finished the first draft of Threshold Wound.
Once again, last night i frantically called around trying find someone to climb with. Finally got a hold of Christine and she's all "well, i'll give you a call at 10 or 11 when i wake up." Grrrr. Oh well, can't complain unless i get a car. I talked to Emily and she sounded pretty normal and we agreed to go out to dinner the following day. So 12:30 knock knock. Had to throw on some boxers and answer the door. It was Emily and she was really drunk. She'd been at O'Malleys and got fed up with the whole scene and drunk people (she's telling me) and was too drunk to drive home. She's going on and telling me this whole story. Finally i get in bed cuz i'm freezing and she gets in to and i told her i was tired and flying to S.F. early and she looked pretty rejected and went on and on, some psycho-babble then gets up and is in tears cuz apparently i'm this cold-hearted asshole that won't open up to her and she was kind enough to open to me and i'm just rejecting her and the guilt trip was working, she left in tears and i went out after her but she was on the other side of the street bawling and i couldn't get to sleep cuz i felt like shit and was afraid she'd drive home drunk. Who wins in these stupid games? So i hung out at Blue-J's this morning working on Threshold Wound then Christine came by. I invited Shaheen and Stefan so we went by to pick them up and went to Windy point Down to the Canines. I led Greencard (5.10) while Christine was going up True Grit. It was thin at the bottom but not bad. We switched and Shaheed led True Grit (5.9) which was more pumpy. Then i led Foreign Affair (5.10+) which was cools. These 5.10s are getting easier. Now i need to find someone to climb with tomorrow. I panic at the prospects of spending a day in Tucson with nothing to do, especially if it's a nice day. It's amazing that rock can make me feel so good.
In limbo, organizing and sorting my subconscious mind of miscellaneous material possession, moved into the "living room" and now Lydia has moved in. I think it was Saturday i made plans with Patrick to go climbing. The night before I dreamt that we went looking for it, but kind of ended up explored around and "skiing" down dirt slopes and certain other feelings that manifested themselves throughout the day. We got up to Windy Pt. but it was way too cold. The only other person there was Ben Burnham, sitting in his car with the heater on. Had a debate with him about adding chains and such to routes without asking first ascensionists permission, which he does a lot of. I respect that he's putting his time and money into making these routes safe, but doesn't seem right. So Patrick and I figured we go even further up since it was so cold... may as be extreme, right? Did the wilderness of rocks hike, through a snowy and icy stream bed, nice hike. I saw a rock with lizard skin, so talked Patrick into bushwhacking to it. What a find. I saw a lot of route possibilities, a cool dihedral, a slabby 150 feet face next to it, a severely overhanging face next to it, some other shorter face climbs, and of course the boiler-plated face that drew me over there to begin. I was taking Patrick on a wild goose chase through bushes and icy slabs but he was cooperative. When i started "skiing" down this steep pine slope i realized in a déjà vu-ish way that these were all the same feelings i had in my dream. This i dub this place "ghost buildings" or maybe " déjà vu vu buildings". Cruised back and then i went to the climbing gym with Pat. Had a lot of fun. There's this one 5.11 that's the coolest route in the gym. And a 5.10a in the cave that's easy fun. After that i felt like partying. Talked Pat into going to Geronimoz. Actually, before we even left we polished off the bottle of tequila in my freezer with Lydia and her friend Laurie, a sort of house-warming thing. So had like 3 shots of the cold tequila with lemon then met Pat at G-moz. Then Stefan and Gretta showed up. Another pitcher of Killian's Red and I was feeling fine. Then Lydia and Laurie showed up, then Brian, Brauny and this friend of Todd's and some other girl I don't remember. I asked Brian if he wanted to challenge these guys to the pool table so i put quarters up. More Kilian’s' and mozzarella and bread sticks. Then this big redneck that was completely toasted took my quarters and began racking the balls. So Brian and I are like "excuse me, those are our quarters" and even the other players standing around agreed, but the guy kept racking them. I was pretty toasted myself and didn't want to make a big deal of it, but Lydia hops off her barstool and grabs the pool cue from the guy's hand and takes the cue ball and 8 ball and bitches the guy out, telling him he was "unpatriotic" then handed the balls over to the bartender who came back and handed them to Brian who racked them. Brian and I won and then the rednecks challenged us. The situation was getting worse, at least according to others. I was pretty oblivious to it, except Stefan kept saying these guys wanted to get into a fight. Even these friends of Brian's left cuz things were getting too tense. Hmm. The guys were giving Brian shit while he was shooting. We were just like whatever and didn't care, they won and the guy started yelling hysterically when they won.
I went climbing with Brauny the next day (after more organizing). We were going to try to find Kachina Rock, which i knew didn't exist, but wanted to verify it's non-existence. Of course we bushwhacked up this steep slope but never found it, although i did find 2 bolts going up this face, and decided to lead this unknown route, i would guess 5.8. Pretty dumb. We found a deer foot with the hoof and some fur still intact and more magic beans, but no Kachina Rock. So we decided to try the 5.11 crack (chapter 2). I set up a TR and Brauny flailed about ⅓ way up then came down. I got up a little further then before then figured i'd save my arms. It was really cold and the rock was clammy in the crack. So we decided to bail from that situation. Chapter 3 hit those 2 climbs on the way to Rosie, stupid climb #1 (5.7) and Stupid climb #2 (5.7). Brauny led #2, the one i did before, the first time she's led since she led Standard Route on Rap rock with me. I led #1 after that, then downclimbed it when i got through. Brauny is a way cool girl. Her and Brian are excellent together and it's depressing that he's getting interested in Susan. The funny thing is much as i think she's interesting, there's always gaps and silence in our conversation, unless we get on a roll, maybe cuz she's a lot loke me and doesn't like to chatter on about meaningless things.
We went out later, me, Lydia (whose new nickname is 8-ball), Brian, Brauny, Jeff and Chandra, to Char's Thai. Yum. It rained Tuesday. So it didn't even matter whether i had climbing plans or not. Went to Price Club with Lydia, hectic experience and more organizing, climbing gym w/ Chris and Harlow, the i made sushi with Lydia. She's seemingly gonna be a cool housemate, i enjoy her company. It's weird to come home and have someone there, my first time having a roommate, but i think i like it. We went + saw "Equinox" after that. B-grade film except Laura Flynn Boyle was mesmerizing.
It was really foggy this morning. Strange for Tucson. I had plans with Christine to climb, weather dependent, but... I was walking over to Gretta and Stefan's when it started to burn off but i couldn't get a hold of Christine. Stefan is becoming very distant, Gretta is being friendlier than he is. I think he does have hard feelings though he says he doesn't. That's alright by me cuz he was getting on my nerves. I couldn't get a hold of Chawn either to climb so i drank lattes and then made veggie burgers and talked Lydia into hiking the phoneline trail. We ended up taking the tram back cuz Lydia was tired and had to be back by 6:30. Tomorrow morning (6:00 a.m.!) I leave for Oakland.
Dec 24—Menlo Park
The day before X-mas and all through the house, everybody's spazzing and stressing, even the mice. I am the suburban hiker, the urban alpinist, trudging my way through the concrete jungle of Menlo Park, bushwhacking my way through the thicket of cars, walking on the threshold of non-existence, between cars and buildings but nowhere in between, to Peet's coffee to get my fix, double latte cuz i can't handle percolated coffee. And they think i'm such an addict, that I'd leave the "warm" house and walk 1½ miles just get Peet's Coffee? No, I get to leave the house and i get to walk and I get Peet's coffee and i get to write in my journal.
My adventure began a day ago but it seems like worlds apart. Lydia and i spent the evening me playing Flamenco guitar and her dancing Flamenco, which she's pretty good at. Mark came over we bullshitted and drunk Heineken then went to O'Malley's. Didn't go to sleep until 1 a.m. then had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. It was freezing cold, had to pour hot water on the windshield to dethaw it, Lydia drove me to the airport. I remember nothing of the flight, no snack or drink. I crashed hard, though i do remember going up and down cuz we were trying to get out of some sort of jet stream with 70 mph winds. Landed in Oakland which i vaguely recalling doing one other time in my childhood. Had no money so i had to find an ATM. Then the busses and BART didn't make change so I had to buy a cup of joe for $2.25. Hopped a shuttle to the BART station. It made we want to write a story, about the subway platform, how it was like an island between the tracks, everyone standing like soldiers of life, waiting, suddenly a screech, a flashing display, "Hayward," and on one side of the platform is a wall with doors and people, like a zoo. People's lives intersecting. I wait for the next train to San Francisco. Hop aboard. Try to stand with no hands to practice balance. Almost all black people, but generally a full racial mix. Everybody minding their own, starting off, careful not to not make eye contact. Nobody talks, nobody smiles. If you do you're crazy. Beautiful old black women carrying their burdens well, proud and dignified, every hair in place, dressed sharp. Everybody is somebody in the city. It's not as simple as hippies vs. frat boys. Even I'm not out of place, the long hair dude with fleece and hiking boots with Arizona dirt and ripped jeans. Just another. People find things to read. My ears popped and i knew we were going under the bay. All that water above, large masses above us, imagine the weight! The suburban hiker at –500 feet below sea level, under water, under land, under cement, in a steel cage moving 90 MPH but steady and comfortable, everybody perfectly composted and not thinking about what's above them but about doing the right thing, socially and politically, living their lives with all this water above us, and all the sea life it contains, the cold bay with sharks that most have no experience with. We emerge in S.F. but who's to say? I wait til Civic Center then get off, "hiking" up the flights of stairs, hiking to get from below (not to go up), up and up, and i emerge out of the ground into the thick of it. 8th and Market, as it was and has always been. I guess, or it could have been on hold since I last saw it. I'm fascinated, I'm alive. I call Kevin, he's at 26th and Van Ness, "what direction will you be coming up Market?"
"North" I hang up and am disoriented, it occurs to me to get my compass out of my pack, but i took it out to pack for urban travel. But i see the rising sun on the east. I cross the street and wait, fascinated by all the reality bubbles driving by and every once in a while a hardcore guerillas urban bike messenger. The ultimate job. Living large at all costs, on the threshold, adapting. Kevin shows up dressed in black in his white truck. We chow at Spaghetti Western, some trendy place in lower Haight, Kevin gets red snapper and eggs. Hit some CD stores then cruised down to Menlo Park. From the beginning mom only says negative things, luring you into arguments. Didn't have much to say to Kevin. After a few hours the syndrome sets in and i'm ready to go home to Tucson. I have to shop for x-mas presents. Hit the insane and hectic Stanford Mall. Get presents and get myself my yearly pair of jeans and a Philip Glass/Ravi Shankar disc for myself. Materialism in effect. Back home, mom freaking out about who to invite and who not to invite over, don't do this, do that. David and Leslie come over and we go to Tower records then see a movie, Wim Wenders "Faraway..." i.e. Wings of Desire part II. It's no wonder I'm sitting in this cold park w/ L.G.B.s (little grey birds) mooching food while the urban mess of California sprawls about, but i guess i should return to wrap presents.
Dec 28—Oakland Airport
In the smokey airport, the sedentary journey of eating chocolate and jellybeans and sitting in traffic is almost complete. Tomorrow i get to climb and be in the mountains and trees. That's all i've been thinking of. Sat around on X-mas then ate potatoes, peas, stuffing and cranberries then went over to David's to open presents. Got a Coleman sleeping bag from mom. Next day David and I cruised North Face and REI, then mom and I saw Farewell My Concubine. which was brilliant, or maybe i just needed an escape. Also saw Remains of the Day. One thing for sure is i always get to see good movies when i'm here. Other than dumb shopping and hot tubs and Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall black and white late nights. David and mom drove me to Daly City via Half Moon Bay and Paul and Barbara's Fish Trap. Stopped at the tidepools and i was inspired by the ebb and flow, so calm and beautiful. I'm losing touch with the ocean, but i don't really care. Another trip under the bay and it's smokey here and everyone seems miserable.
Stupid flight was delayed, but strolling around the airport i got an idea for a short story. This couple has an artificially nice marriage and a newborn baby and it all gets blown apart when the father is taking mother and baby to see her parents. In a hectic rush he puts the baby through the x-ray machine and their inner turmoil is metaphorically exposed. This starts a huge argument and he tries consoling her and finally she gets on the plane leaving him standing there. [...at which point we start sketching out the story "Metal" which don't think we ever attempted to publish, over 5 pages of which we'll spare you.]
Back in Tucson but i'm fixing to leave for Mexico in a few hours. Scott and Cheryl picked me up at the airport, Kyra was asleep in the car. They all stayed at my place. We went to Milagros the next day after picking up Chawn. I made the mistake of recommending Fourplay (5.11a) to start off cuz it had a. 5.6 next to it we could T.R. Scott to the second bolt but couldn't get through the crux after many tries, so went up (Chawn didn't want to) and i got through the crux and almost to the ledge but had flash pump and had to take a rest. Then finished it off. I had already flashed it while Scott, Cheryl and Kyra were doing the 5.6 TR. I belayed Chawn on I've Been Robbed (5.11b). He got 3 bolts up then kept falling. So i went up and got through the crux and the next bolt and kept cruising up but the route was totally contrived. I was above and to the left of the bolt and was getting seriously pumped and started to panic seeing the bolt 10 feet below me and knowing i couldn't hang to rest. If i had a TCU on my right side i probably could have plugged it in to a crack, but it was too awkward. So i downclimbed what i could and pitched off. Took the wind out of me. Probably the longest fall I've taken, 12-15 feet. Didn't even try it again. Some guy next to us said he'd finish it up (all casual like) but he couldn't get past where i was, so they got their studly studly "5.12" sport climber friend to finish it. I went over and lead the new Decaffeinated (5.8) route for Kyra and she spent a long time dogging up. Meanwhile Scott lead Valentine's Day but Cheryl couldn't do it. Then he went to do Community Service and had problems then fell a few times at the end and had to let Chawn finish it. Meanwhile Kyra and i cruised out up to the rim to watch the sunset and moonrise and we also could see them climbing. Followed a winding Jeep trail back and heard this growling in the bushes but i go "Fred? Dave?" and Fred and Dave came out, wagging their tails and throwing themselves in the dirt and letting us rub their bellies that smelled like skunk. Went to Crossroads for dinner. Next day we went up to Windy Pt, beautiful December day. I had a T-shirt on the whole time. Took the women up Slippery When Wet (5.7). I gave Scott my gear, he went first and then i had to wait for Cheryl. I had only stoppers and hexes, which made it more interesting. I was basically looking up Cheryl's butt the whole time helping her through the moves as i was leading, hoping she didn't fall on me. Fun climbing. Got to the belay ledge and chilled, belayed Kyra up. Did the second pitch with 3 stopper placements and a hex placement. I was losing patience. It took us hours to get up the stupid thing. Scott put up Party Pooters then i was going to take him Jr Gripper but i lost my nerve and Feeling Fertile, well, i wasn't feeling fertile enough to get to the 1st bolt. So i ended up leading Noodler (5.10). The bottom was awkward and a little contrived, then it got to some more slabby moves (crux) then i looked up and the next bolt was 20 feet up with this overhanging face. I knew there was supposed to be a placement so i dodged left and probably could have exited but there was too much drag so i went back down and finally got my nerve and started cranking up hoping that the holds were there and i could find a placement. I look down and the last bolt is 15 feet below me and below the bolt is low-angle slab that i would hit, a bad fall. I take a breath, i really can't lose my composure here. The bolt is 5 feet above me but it seems hard getting to it. I finally plugged in a TCU in but couldn't see how good it was. Then finally got the bolt and up, phew! Exciting lead. Scott followed and went to meet the girls but neither could get up Party Pooters (5.9) so i cleaned it straight up, the 5.9 version. Packed last night til 2 a.m. I'm feeling unhealthy and actually i've developed a coup. I'm a little apprehensive about this trip and am trying to get mentally squared away and do last minute errands. Didn't talk to Todd til last night at 11 pm, but it's still a go.
The trip got postponed a day cuz Matt had to work. Todd, Eric and I went down to Nogales anyway to get the tickets. Parked in the U.S. and walked across. Cabs were expensive so we hopped a bus. The bus was jerking and going slow and some guy was playing lame tunes on an out-of-tune guitar, then the driver just got up and walked off the bus. Hmm. We figured we could walk as fast so we got off and walked, it took forever. Got the tickets which will make it easier to sleep tonight. Nogales is a trip. A premonition, a premature journey into the threshold. "La Frontera". On the way back we stopped in Green Valley and Eric's mom took us out to pizza. We all met at Todd's just to discuss things. I think Matty's got a good head as far as what comes out of his mouth, but let's see if he practices what he preaches. He's definitely right in that group dynamics will play a heavy role in the fate of this trip. Vamos a ver the eye candy.
[+ the final page is from a section we stapled into the journal cuz we had embarked on our Mexico trip, apparently without our regular journal...].
[... onward to January 1994]