sono.tino

these are the words and photos that depict the world in which we live.


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A rough slideshow from our jaunt to Colorado…

The trip was fast and furious.  If there wasn’t weather striking, there was activity occurring.  PA met CO on many levels.  We saw old PA neighbors in Niwot, and old PA climbing bud in Estes, and we were hard-core chillaxin with good PA friends & climbin partner all while on the front range.  There was something really raw and wild about it all, perhaps the best way to celebrate the 4th of July.

Thed basics were:
– flight delayed from PHL to DEN due to thunderstorms (PHL couldn’t guide an iPod to a docking station on time)
– arrive at Paul & Johannas in Lafayette (it can’t be their house, where’s his truck?…Let’s call him…Yes, it is 1:30am…oh, you sold your truck)
– tasty brunch on Pearl Street before meeting Paul @ 12:30 to climb in Eldo (does anyone in CO work full-time?!)
– 3 Wind Tower routes with Paul & Julie (a quick 700 ft of climbing)
– a morning run up the first flat iron (climbing in my approach shoes informed me that my approach shoes were shot) – quick 1400ft of rock
– a run that afternoon in the Open Space behind Paul’s abode & dinner with Jo and our old PA neighbors, Josh, Amy & Lyla
– 5am rise to do Melvin’s Wheel on Lumpy’s Ridge and start up another route when the darkening storm hail-rained us off the cliff (450+ft)
– saw an old buddy, Mike Drinker from PA, at the base, who we inadvertent dropped a quickdraw on
– randomly decided to hike into a sport area named Ironclad or Ironsides on Rte 7 (great 100ft+ bolt lines and nary a soul with whom to contend) (quick 600ft of rock)
– rest day (some light sport climbing with Julie in Boulder Canyon & picked up a new pair of Approach shoes – Scarpa Crux rock!) (yes, there is poison ivy in Boulder Canyon, Julie’s face proves it)
– 4:30 rise and jet up to RMNP to hike into Hallett Peak and run up Culp-Bossier ***
– kind of anti-climactic climbing up the second buttress – we did it in 5 200ft pitches (quick 1000ft of rock)
– run back to get a bivy permit for Upper Glacier Gorge (score!)
– Happy Hour at the Rock Inn with wheat ales and burgers (why yes, I will take a free beer, thank you)
– Hike out to Spearhead in UGG (wrong turn added 2 miles onto a 6+mi hike) – 10pm and delirious is a great time to stop hiking…Paul. Stop.
– Hiked past dark, past a huge Elk and bivied on a slab with cold Taco Bell in our pillows….here bear, bear, bear…Volcano Burrito, Mr Bear….
– 5am rise to tackle Syke’s Sickle on Spearhead (am I awake or am I dreaming)
– In a delirious state, from the first pitch I dropped a quickdraw and 4 nuts on the glacier and Paul ran around to grab it all (mountain mangoat)
– stellar climbing & a crux pitch to not be forgotten
– double fist jams and a stem with lots of air below the knuts, protected out the wazoo
– tagged the summit and descended in anticipation of 40 marmots partying with the apple fritter I accidentally left in the top of my pack
– miraculously, no marmots and an intact pack (and used wag bag for carryout…taco hell)                                – Burgers, margharitas, tequila and Upslope beer feed the alpine soul quite well
– 4th of July held the summiting of South Arapahoe Peak (~13,800ft) – the highest Julie has ever been!
– Trail run down to a shower and a ‘pool party’ with new and old friends

Thank you mountains, thank you friends and thank you weather for cooperating.

Not too shabby…me likes Colorado

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Going Full Circle

So, while perusing the front page of the NY Times after a killer evening of climbing, I come across an article titled,  “Gas pedal Flaws Lead Toyota To Stop Building 8 Models”.  It might have well of had an exclamation point at the end.  Seriously.

What a fate in this economic climate!  To be struck by an internal quality control issue, especially in an industry where quality control is the Achilles heel of a reputation, is a situation that will never go away.  How many of you remember that tire issue that Ford Explorer’s had almost a decade ago?  The Firestone tires would give way to high speed rollover accidents….really tragic shit.  I don’t think they’ve ever fully recovered to that market leading high before then.  Explorer’s were the top of the market for the popular SUV.  It was the poster boy for the SUV industry.

Anyway….this article is on the front page of the NY Times.  Exclamation.

A rare condition causing the recall of 4.8 million vehicles.  In a time when you dominate the word’s number one auto market, while your competitors are recovering from a financial one-two punch that has left them tightening their belts and reorganizing themselves, their entities and their debt.  Talk about a bad struck of luck.

So what’s the first thing that pops into my mind?  At 9am I would be buying puts on Toyota like they were going out of style.  Then I would find out who their number one suppliers are and buy puts on them if they’re publicly held.  Then I would find out which insurance company was at the foundation of the health-care provider that provided health-care to all of those employees.  Scratch that last one, they’d be covered on the new unemployment insurance for a while.  But I would find out the service providers that depended on the Toyota production model and buy puts on them too.

Once you realize that there are a ton of other people with the biggest plan you start watching the premiums on these puts going through the roof.  So you start selling certain puts and then buying them again when the supply increases from others thinking like you are.  Before you know it, you’ve doubled your money and someone else is collecting unemployment now too.  Then you start looking for exotic derivatives that tie global aluminum into being the correlate for the yen and how it is a proxy for Toyota stock.  That’s the evil wizard behind the drape pulling levers and mixing potions type of shit.

Since most folks will never get within arms length of people who take part in that side of the financial industry we turn to a different indicator of public health besides the financial indicators that reduce the health of our existence down to an index.  That is when we turn to the life we live every day and look around at the signs.  There are a few less gas stations these days and if you’re in the market for a home it’s a great time to buy.  And people are drinking more and doing less sport…or are they.  What of these not-cheap habits that are fundamental in the who-we-are and how-we-are sequences that make up our lives?  And this is how I get back to climbing.

At the climbing gym tonight it was pretty busy.  Tuesdays and Thursdays always are, but today was pretty crazy.  Tonight I was pretty lucky.  I was climbing with two great individuals and the session was something that had a life of its own.  Before I had realized it, there was no more skin on my hands, I had reacquainted with two or three people that I hadn’t seen in years and I was still climbing.  It’s hard to complain about that, especially considering the updates people had been giving me on their lives.

There are so many professionals out of work right now.  IT folk, mortgage peeps, builders…and a lot of them.  But what I thought was even crazier is that somehow, someway, they’ve still found the psyche to go climbing and pursue something that they enjoy and identify with.  Be it from their savings or government aid, it is something that still allows you to enjoy a part of your life even when the days get dark.

Hooray for climbing.  I think we’ve made it full circle.  Isn’t that always fun.  Though if you’re looking for a car these days I’d say take a look VWs.  My Golf has brought me to a lot of incredible climbing spots.

Maybe the next thing will be on wind power or home remodeling…ciao


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news from the mogotes

so now we are two.  starting as a group of six strong, going to eight and then to five and now to two.  we remain to tie up loose ends, give off the items brought to donate to those who need and see a few last sites.  baseball gloves, insoles, soccer balls, toothbrushes, pens, paper, carabiners, powdered milk, sugar and plastic containers.  everything must stay with those who need.  then the climbing gear is given to a trusted local source who can give it to he and she who needs and deserves it.

other news is that the project went.  for days i could feel the soreness in my left shoulder from the multiple large gaston moves, especially the one in the last boulder problem.  in reality, i should have sent the climb my third go and changed my foot beta just a hair, but enough to guarantee a victory, clipping the chains just an hour before the guy who bolted the route, Yarobys, clipped the same chains.  The name is Huracan (hurricane) and I think it goes at 13a.  Definitely agreat route, with three boulder problem cruxes and a mean core tensions sequency crux at the top.  my favorite route in two years, as it is rare that I get the moves of a climb stuck in my head so that I can´t think of anything but it.

Tomorrow we are going to a new crag to bolt a couple of routes to prepare for the national competition.  Normally Cuban climbers don´t climb really strong on average, so these routes will hopefully become classics and be enjoyable for many as time passes and more people come here to clip bolts and crank on the limestone of the mogotes.   The best Cuban climbers are in the mid 5.13 range, but the majority are breaking into 5.12.

As my language gets better I feel a hurdle with three languages.  You start to think about a word and end up referencing all three when you should be able to go and focus solely on one.  maybe once I break through this hurdle will I ultimately understand more about languages, or at least more than I already do.  Such a determinable link to culture and the people, expressions and intonation alone mean so much.

The people become more and more like family, playing a nd joking and giving signs of affection that we normally do not see in the US with people other than close friends and family that you´ve known fo ra long time.  It is such a nice feeling that a sense of community gives.

The day I sent the project I traveled out to the crag with Yarobys on a Guagua, one of the local Cuban buses.  It was so chill and talk about economical.  I don´t know why we have taken so many taxis when it is completely convenient to take the local travel methods and thus pay local prices.  Ten cents for a ride instead of six bucks.  I know how that sounds on the absolute scale, but on the relative scale it is much more astronomical.  and as for convenience, it is only a limited factor as some friends of ours took a taxi, paid for half of the ride and then the  guy never came back for them.  after walking five dark miles on Cuban roads did they find a place with a phone where they worked their Spanish and called a taxi.  luckily by that point our friend, Raytheon, knew something was wrong and asked our host to go and get them.  Thus we could all eat a fine meal together and laugh about the incident.  Oddly enough it was the day I took the local hitchhike and bus option.

So I stare here at the two holes on the sides of my finger that are the remnants of my work on the project.  my sequence included a solid five feet or so of pulling on a mono with my right hand as I pull into the clip, lock off, clip and pull a few more feet to a sloper.  When such work culminates in a victory you often have no more than the vestigial feeling of elation, a few photos and perhaps some worn down skin.  It all grows back and then you are left with a memory.  How does this end up changing us in the end. That for a small period of time we are infatuated, fully in love and head over heels for this climb and think and dream about it like a stranded castaway dreams of water, friends and comfort food.  Then after this zealous fit of emotion it is gone.  Does this make us callus to intense emotion after a while, knowing that we will be changed just for period of time and then life as usual goes on?  Hmmm.

In the end, I sit here with less skin then yesterday, four minutes left on my tarjeta, and thoughts of family and of the political discourses that separate such incredible places that have so much in common, and only 90 miles of water between their secured borders.

When will our governments see the light, that we are all brothers and sisters under the same sun with the same passions and family that resides on both sides of the line.  How much it would benefit both parties for us to open borders.

Anywho…it is time to go as the seconds tick by on this card and it will probably take all 56 seconds for this blog to load.

Saludos


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Cancun to Habana

So I’m sitting here in Cancun after having navigated the whole no American dollars changing hands so as to not support any regime that doesn’t coincide with medieval political views. I’ve been slammed on my bags twice for having brought too much gear, at least a third of which being donated items to leave with people who have literally no access whatsoever to a market of high-quality first world good. I don’t mean anything like Dolce & Gabbana. No, I mean like Gilette, Colgate and MLB.

Some toothbrushes and toothpaste, a couple of baseball mitts with balls, powdered milk and thread. Basic life necessities that are just plain difficult to find. It also seems that American companies are often psyched to be able to donate to a cause as venerable as this. One day and one day soon will we have free trade again with our closest Caribbean neighbor.

So, sitting here on a marble floor watching tourists buy straw hats and little wooden musical instruments painted in vivid prime colors, I find myself so freakin excited.

I get to go to one of the most beautiful countries in the world with a group of great people to do the thing I love most in the world: rockclimb. And even chronicle it for my own sake and for the stories and great things I can share.

Visas taken care, bags checked and a yen for friend plantains like no other, we get to Habana tonight and should be in Vinales in the morning. Hopefully within twenty four hours I will have tasted limestone yet again and have met some great new folks.

Here we go again.


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Climbanomix

Anyone who climbs often dreams about extended climbing trips where crisp textured rock is contrasted by bright blue skies. A few months on the road where you live simply, explore beautiful places and climb until your fingerprints are permanently altered. With every passing week you feel like a chamber inside you opens up, surrendering yourself to the journey, the excitement that comes with every new day and the challenges that you might cross (like your first 8a). In time your forearms will battle lactic acid Huriyama-like during 45 minute on-sights, your power will be Sharma-esque and your lead head will be full-on Croft-y.

Unfortunately this is no longer the era of sell your car, drop your lease and tell your girlfriend, “It’s me baby, really. It’s not you, it’s me.”. We have to be more astute these days about how we fit the life-altering climbing adventures into the modern world. Job resumes with employment histories that show a turnover every year or so are generally frowned upon. There aren’t many occupations that allow you the flexibility of being able to take off every once in a while for three weeks to a month, let alone a few months (a tear emerges).

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If you were considering sponsorship, well let’s just say in-house development becomes the priority when layoffs and shrinking budgets are becoming the norm. If you worked in the trades, there is a good chance you no longer have a job. If you worked in investment banking there is a good chance you no longer have a job. If you worked for Starbucks, there is a good chance you no longer have a job. But this current period of economic recession just might be the telephone booth you and Clark have been looking for to change into your super-climber gear (picture that great 80s neon and lycra).

Before running off uninformed about why you can do this, let’s quickly cover what a recession is and why they are special. Classically a recession is defined as two or more consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth. Or as the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) puts it, ‘a significant decline in economic activity lasting more than a few months’. If you’ve been reading the finance headlines you know this is not new. Yet when you look closer you realize that recessions are natural in the economic cycle. Just like forest fires are mother nature’s way of cleaning house, recessions bring a bubble economy back to it’s fundamental support levels. What does that mean? Things often look worse than they are.

Lets look at the basic forecasting tools of a recession: GDP, inverted yield curve and unemployment. Looking at current GDP stats, each quarter has still been higher than than the preceding quarter, though just by a lesser extent. In times of economic turmoil people are not out buying cars, homes and washing machines. Instead they are buying lower ticket items because, face it, the US doesn’t understand how not to go shopping. Retail soft goods and discount markets often weather the storm better than capital goods, and domestic travel becomes preferred to international travel. You’re reading this magazine aren’t you, because you can’ t think of giving it up, especially now.

Let’s not get technical about inverted yield curves and the psycho-social analysis that goes into expectations and consumer confidence. Better to leave that to the dismal science. However, it is a tool forecasters use in investing. Normally we expect returns (the yield) on any given investment to be higher in the long term than the short term. An inverted curve says people are investing in the opposite manner and expecting the short term gain to be higher than the long term, thus a negative future outcome.

In comparing this to a red-point, you get involved with a route because of the probability of you sending the route in the future. Thus the potential to gain more in the long term than in the present. If you are just climbing 5.10, you could probably send a 5.10a/b almost every session and maybe the occasional morphologic 10c/d. But if you want to start bagging easy 5.11 or even break into 5.12 you need to start investing time and energy towards that now. It may mean foregoing the satisfaction of going out and slaying all of the easy 5.10s you can find, but in a short period of time you’ll be blasting through 5.10 and projecting grades harder.

So if this is reversed, and all that invested energy in the future forecasts to give less benefit than now, logic says take the instant benefit. Cha-cha-ching. The lack of instant financial gratification on the market chart vertical should then result in instant satisfaction on the vertical horizon: it is the time to go climbing.

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The obvious knee jerk response by anyone with a sense of fiscal responsibility would be, ‘Are you crazy?’; as It is true that it will be more difficult to find work in periods of economic downturn. Unemployment is rising, the labor pool is saturating with qualified candidates, thus the competition for every open position is increasing. If you are really excited about your work or knee-deep in parenthood then maybe this isn’t the right choice for you. But for anyone who is dissatisfied with what they do and lacks any form of ball and chain, this is the perfect exit point.

Many employers are willing to negotiate severance packages that reduce their overhead while basically paying you to take a hike (or a climbing trip). In times of recession individuals often turn to further their education or obtain training in another skill so as to widen their range of possible prospects. Why not kick it off with a month in place with delicious regional cuisine and a square footage of rock per square mile that would make Bishop blush?

Climbers are evolutionary chameleons that are innovative and strategic by nature, this can only aid us in our future employment pursuits. Just like altering your style from sandstone to limestone to gritstone, we must fit our surroundings in the current economy. After your hiatus, return to the job market renewed and pursue what you have yearned to do for years. Span the financial gap by selling your story to a publisher and inspiring others to reach out towards their dreams.

If you want to pick up a new side of the sport or another sport in general, you normally require a solid block of time to be able to learn your way in. Looking to bump your bouldering up two grades, live in a tent and make it happen. Think you have the endurance to put twenty pitches of any consistent grade together in a day, harness yourself a partner and find out. Still have that cherry alpine link-up waiting for an FA, buy a plane ticket and get it before someone else does. Inspired to put up new routes, pick a place where you can live for few dollars a day and develop an area.

Two thousand and nine can be the year you talk about as the year that you fulfilled your climbing dreams. It is projected that, well, projects will get dispatched this year at an unprecedented rate. If 2008 was looked upon as a bad-ass year, with all of the crushing that US climbers did in Europe, Jumbo Love and all of the headpointing that went down, just wait for 2009. You might want to get that pre-order in for Dosage VI, because it’s going to be off the hook.

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Possible cons to the situation are navigable, aside from not getting a job for a while when you get back. The US dollar is probably shot to hell from the monetary expansion used to fund the stimulus package, so you will probably be doing DiGiorno and not delivery at your casetta down by Sperlonga. However, other more exotic (code for third world) destinations are close and have a low cost of living (aka cheap eats, treats and sheets) and bountiful concentrations of local climbing. This might be when we start heading south over the boarder and exchanging identification with the guy you share the cactus with while avoiding the coyotes. He might have family not far from El Potrero Chico. There’s always the back-up of sleeping on a friend’s couch when you get back, the stories take at least a month before they get old. And if all else fails, Barack will hook you up with a personalized stimulus package.


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Going Full Circle on Fear

cord

Truly the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.   FDR had his heart in the right place.   And as he faced a country in the grips of the great depression he took the podium and gave a speech meant to be heard by all Americans.  During the campaign Roosevelt was criticized for not divulging his plans for the country that he was aiming to lead.  Not many of his close working relationships, aside from his wife, even knew him that well.   His speeches were buoyant and optimistic, yet solemn as the economic doldrums affected the national demographic.  It seems that these characteristics would have worked against FDR, yet he still triumphed the challenges before succumbing to illness.   Many great things came about from his presidency.

First off, FDR was the only president to serve more than two terms, acting as president for four consecutive terms, though his poor health decided his fate early in his fourth term.   During these terms he created the New Deal, and its vast array of programs, and dealt with World War II.   Legacies such as the Social Security System, the SEC, the FDIC and the National Labor Review Board are the signs of his time spent leading the nation.  His presidency was monumental to say the least.

Today we find ourselves facing a world of eternal challenge and have faithfully elected a president who is capable of greatness.  However, Barack Obama is more often compared to JFK than FDR.  This association is likely due to his energetic and youthful nature, air of sincerity and sense of responsibility that has brought the people together in a time when a leader was desperately needed.  Anyone can be a decider, but few can be a leader.  With the dismal economy and the constant war on terror, Obama seems aligned to take steps that coincide more with the absolute and enduring impact that FDR had on our country.  Assuming all goes well maybe we will get lucky and Obama will have a chance at more than two terms.

To bring this thought on course, it is the lack of fear that Barack shows towards an agenda that has nothing but daunting tasks in its lineup.  The thought alone of what he faces in his daily planner is daunting: stabilize the economy, create 3 million jobs, rekindle respect for the US, nurture the national hope, broker some peace in the world and raise to daughters in an urban environment.  Though, going on a first couple weeks impression, it suggests the right man was chosen for the hardest job in the world and his outlook appears to be that the man is at least as great as the task.  Thus, the only thing that Barack fears, is fear itself.  And maybe another crackberry crash.

Now, to lower the bar to a human level, yet keep with the theme, I look back at some of the situations I have put myself into and the fear I faced.  Now I wonder if it was really just fear.  The first on that list of fearful situations is when I climbed the Nose Route on El Capitan in Yosemite with my friends, Tim Kemple and Dave Hume.  It was twenty three and a half hours of jugging and climbing.  The two rope guns definitely took the lion’s share of the sharp end, but I got my fill as well.  Aiding the Great Roof and bounding through the joyous laybacking of the pancake flake had to be some of the most fun big walling on granite I have ever encountered.  Yet waiting just a handful of pitches above was the last jumar to top out.

Cutting loose from the last belay there is over 3,000 feet of air underneath you that drops away and comes back as up drafts, one of which stole my chalk bag a few pitches earlier.  I felt the knot slide off as I was lay-backing and I watched the bag rise from behind me and get carried off on a breeze.  I never did find it and was entranced by the sack as it danced away on a cloud of its own chalk.  When I saw the movie, American Beauty, the video of the plastic bag dancing brought me right back to that moment in time, the blur of Middle Cathedral standing in the background.

As my hand left the final belay and I started to swing out, a host of thoughts bombarded my mind. First I thought to close my eyes, but my eyes would not close.  Instead they just stared down and around at the abyss that could swallow me at any second.  Then, all of the falls and abuse that the little pink PMI rope ever took catalogued themselves in my brain; I should not be using this cord.  Knowing that over-thinking never solves a situation I just set my feet and started jugging.

Every heave on the rope created a new and stomach twisting creak.  After each upstroke I caught myself staring at the taut rope as it pointed straight up and went over the edge of the capstone above.   Each jerky movement of that free-hanging jumar made the rope drag side to side on the rough granite above.  Was that a core shot I could see or a figment of my glycogen deprived brain.  Honestly I probably should have puked my fear right out and into the void below.   Yet the idea of someone getting killed by a vomit rocket at terminal velocity did not sit well with me.  Also that we had run out of food and water about 10,000 burnt calories before, I doubt anything would have arisen anyway.  To my great relief, the cord held and I made it over the top and then endured one of the most epic walkoffs ever, but that is a whole other story.

So, as you know, I am still here to relay the story. That must mean that the fear, of real and present danger, is still just fear.  If finishing off that route was so inevitably fatal then no one would endeavor to take on equal or greater gauntlets.  When we find ourselves in front of a demanding task that seems greater than ourselves for one reason or another, one only needs to slow down and acknowledge a couple simple truths:

  • We probably would not be there if we could not handle the situation and succeed at the task.
  • Confidence and calmness will aide you as you ready the necessary tools and engage yourself.
  • There is nothing to fear, but fear itself.

As for that little pink cord, that was its last journey.  Not a bad way to finish.  If you are ever in Yosemite, follow the Merced river down to El Portal.  A little past the post office there is a pull out on the left for a great swimming hole.  The rope swing on the tree across the river is where that mighty pink rope makes its last stand.  How it got up there was a whole other story as well, but fear not and go swing on it.


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the road less traveled

wenden >< wenderstock, switzerland

wenden >< wenderstock, switzerland

sometimes the road less taken is that way for a reason.  sometimes, avoiding the path of resistance means there is a support network, a mechanism in place that is sophisticated enough to allow you to pursue your life without binding you in the webs of others.  sometimes the road less traveled just ends in a cul-de-sac, leaving you to turn and head back.

i can remember topping out on half dome about eight years ago with Alex McAfee.  it was later than we wanted it to be, part my fault, and we had very little food and water and just knew it was best for us to get down.  walking off of the backside was kind of a surreal endeavor at night with headlamps.  there is a great slab, like a sea of granite melting away from you.  somewhere in the middle is a walkway with some metal wire handrails to guard the average person from a hideous, yet eventful death.  we crisscrossed that slab for twenty minutes expecting to hear each others’ last screams, denoting that we did not find the handrail and not to go toward the scream.  eventually we found the walkway and followed it off of the slab and turned to find the trail that would lead us back down to the front of the formation where our bags were safely stowed (or so we thought).

jingling away with rope and rack, probably still in climbing shoes and disco shades, we slowly made our way down picking through the bushes on what seemed to be the trail.  the caveat being that too far in one direction could possibly end up in a large fall and a bummer of a story for the other to have to pass on to the park service.  let alone the loss of gear that would never be used again.  hiking through the thicket, especially around climbing areas, you generally rely on these paths of least resistance, meaning that someone has possibly travelled there before.  this is often a good thing.  it means you are probably not far from where you should be, especially since you often do not know exactly where you should be, but know where you would like to be.  this is often more interesting in the middle of a large rock face when you realize you have climbed two pitches in the wrong direction because you convinced yourself that the topo and description led you up these ‘obvious’ features.  that situation, however, is a different story.

in the end, the path that was easiest to follow brought us down safely, though hungry and bedraggled, to our campsite to discover that marmots had clawed holes into Alex’s bag and eaten his snacks.  whereas my bag had oddly been unzipped and also emptied of its aromatic contents by some small mammal.  thank god tuna comes in a hermetically sealed can.  the trickle of water that seeps out of that face and some unstolen snacks got us through the unplanned second evening under half dome.  the next day we ransacked the cafe next to the yosemite post office for a three course lunch.

at the time i thought our feat was stellar.  two guys who had really never climbed before, minus a quick romp on middle cathedral, had sent the northwest direct route in 14 hrs.  now i look back and think, shit, we could have done it so much faster if i didn’t get all scared up in the zig zags and crawl my way through the ‘thank god’ traverse.  maybe next time.  but i think it would be more fun to free the whole thing and not start stepping in slings.

the moral of the story is that sometimes, to get where you’re going, the path most traveled is requisite.  often the journey is the path less traveled with an occasional leg that has seen the wear and tear of others.  it is in this moderation between us and society that our true individual path lies.

seeing the news feeds with hints at a partial nationalization of some of the US’s largest banks is what made me think of this path.  for we would not be the first, nor the last.  yes, true enough, we often aim to forge our own history here in the US.  but sometimes there are lessons to be learned from having only watched others.  the UK just nationalized a bank, japan nationalized many banks, and there are a slough of other examples.  actually what we would be doing probably would not be called nationalizing due to the nation’s anafalactic allergence to socialist ideals.

in some way we need to get the financial sector on track.  its hard to put the patients back in charge of the asylum but order is needed.  unfortunately, all of the dollars spent on the financial industry in the name of the tarp plan are tax payers dollars.  in the end, we want a return on our investment.  we cannot just buy bad debt in a new federal-entity and wipe them out.  no, we need to get some percentage back from functioning loans and other revenue streams.  this is not a path of least resistance by any means, nor can it be the path of most resistance.  at least for our nation’s sake.