Friday, September 24, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rules of the unbeaten path

Only you know what's best for you. Pick your line, and enjoy it. When you want...Turn. Make YOURSELF happy. On occasion, look back and see if you've made a straight line or not! Keep an eye on your friends-and give high fives as frequently as possible!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Marking Teton History


I was lucky enough to become the first female to snowboard the Grand Teton.

We had been watching the weather for days, wind looked good and no new storm cycles coming our way...1st attempt was on Tuesday. I was supposed to work, and on Monday night Max and I saw a window of opportunity in the forecast and decided to make it happen. I called my boss and said, "look, there's something I need to do..."! He said don't worry about work...and get 'er done! Tuesday morning we woke up at 2am and starting skinning up Garnet Canyon just after 3am. The sun started to rise while we were in the meadow and deep down we knew we were way behind schedule. With all the gear on our backs we headed up the Teepe Couloir and stopped for a rest. The day had started and we weren't sure about the haze turning to cloud cover or the heat of the day creating dangerous snow conditions. This was the turn back moment. Once beyond the Teepe, there is no turning back. We chose to bail after 7 hours in, and maybe 4 hours from the summit! But we left our ropes and gear under some rocks at the top of the Teepe to make our lives easier on the next attempt. Once the decision was made to abort, the day became leisure. We skied the Teepe and stopped before the Meadows to take a nap on the Jackson Hole Climbers Guide summer station (which was just a tarped platform). Once we woke up and the snow was softer we rode down back to the car somewhat disappointed.

I had the next two days off, and after religiously looking at web cams and weather stations online we chose Thursday for the next attempt. Wednesday became the day of rest, we tried to sleep as much as we could and eat as much as we could. This time we thought of giving ourselves a head start and wake up even earlier. An addition to our crew was added, it was Nick, Max and myself. We woke up at 1am and in the zone were skinning by 1:50am. I was prepared for the cold skin up to the Meadows and made it as efficient as possible this time, there was no wasting of energy or time today. We got to the Meadows and it was still dark. Dropped our skins off, laced up our crampons and started booting up towards the Teepee. We hit sunrise at the top of the Teepee and we were feeling good. Except for poor Nick, at the no turn back moment, Nick had become nauseous and decided to bail and let Max and I go.

Max and I left as much unnecessary gear at that spot and started the ascent. Roping up with ice axes in hand, Max lead the way to the Stettner Couloir. Rounding the corner with Nick watching us go, I knew this was going to be the day I "send" the Grand. I had prepared myself in the past months, my determination washed away all fear and it was merely an execution of moves. Once in the Stettner I experienced my first ice climbing. Testing out my ability to trust an ice ax I moved over the ice bulge. Cleaning the gear and simultaneously climbing we reached the Chevy Couloir. It got a bit cruxy so I belayed Max as he headed up. While in the shade, and my sweat drying I became borderline hypothermia watching Max move over the biggest crux of ice. Once he anchored and it was time for me to climb, I moved as fast as I could, not knowing if we were running out of time and to just keep warm. Quickly we moved from one anchor to the next until we reached the last set, where we would be rappelling for the descent. we left one rope and some gear, ate and drank as much as we could and began the final approach to the summit in the Ford Couloir. This was just a symo climb on rope through knee deep, crusty/sugar snow. Safe for the most part but as always high exposure with serious consequence. I became so exhausted that I found myself grunting through every throw of my ax into the snow and every step with my crampons. But alas, finally we summit and it seemed as if we could see the world. I was the first to drop in, marking history of the first female to snowboard the Grand. At no point was I scared through all the climbs, but at that moment, when all I had to do was what I do best-snowboard-I was terrified. Because at that moment I knew that I would either become a statistic or mark history!! I dropped in gripping my ax in my right hand. Each turn was scarier than the next but I made it to the first rappel station and clipped in waiting for Max. Ok, so far so good, I successfully snowboarded, now the exit! 5 rappels later and some down climbing we reached the top of the Teepe Couloir. SAFE! At that moment I knew it was done. We weren't out yet, but I knew I was capable of getting back to my car alive!

Retrieving all our gear along the way we finally made it back to the car just before sunset, tired, hungry, cranky and all my toes and fingertips frostbit...But I was alive and I had just SNOWBOARDED THE GRAND TETON!

Now, I'm trying to retire from snowboarding and go back to skiing!! just kidding!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Humble Yourself Every Chance You Have.

How else can you remind yourself to laugh?

I hadn't given myself this benefit in a very long time. I can't consider all the times that I've climbed routes that put me in cruxy locations, snowboarded a peak I thought would be a difficult summit, surfed a wave that I knew was too big for me; put myself in danger knowing that there might be a possibility of not getting out clean! Those still cannot compare to how I felt today! Not sure how to put it into words, but give me a minute.

My strength was not an issue, my mental awareness was not an issue. I can only say that it's not like riding a bike, more like being fluent in a language and then after 15 years-trying to have a conversation and not getting a sentence out!

Refreshing, maybe I had become too mentally confident in snowboarding...maybe instead of having a near death, I chose to "switch it up". Applying my skills to the other side. Wait, skills isn't the right word! I needed a wake up call, to be more aware. Snowboarding, as much as its part of who I am, I let it make my senses lazy. Skiing today, sent my vitals through the roof. Skiing something I've snowboarded dozens of times forced me to think clearly, stay alert and become so focused, I'm mentally exhausted more than physically!

I feel silly even writing this, but I must report moments in my life, great, ungreat, miserable and unforgettable. I don't want to be vain in life, I don't want to be unaware of unforeseen beauty. I want to smile, laugh and experience as much as I can

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Finding the Passion

It could be anywhere, and hit you at any moment. Never assume, and at times...let your guard down. Allow yourself to be suprised. Passions endure, adapt, end and begin, are lost and found. Think fondly of those that have entered your life, consider yourself lucky even if the passing was not preferred; because there are some that never got the advantage of so.

Wonder, question, search

Give in, but always stand your ground.

I've found myself suprisingly very happy during a time when I never expected. For the first time in a very long while, I am giving in with no questions asked, because even if I have this for a moment, I am a better person.

I would rather know that I might hurt down the road than to never FEEL at all!

Enjoy everyday, and let Passion slap you in the face when it soars by!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The World in the Eye of the Beholder

Life is to be taken with a big grain of salt!

I have learned after many treks that when there is bump in the road, or a monsoon has taken out the road completely; or maybe you find yourself at a cliff's edge with no way to down must take a moment and choose the most efficient effective conclusion that will result in your survival. And every step that follows that decision is to complete that mission of staying alive all the way back to your car!

Experiences change the sight of relativity! Relating the previous mentality to everyday life allows establishing conclusions with a fearless and patient approach. Keep that in mind, and hard times are a breeze, tough choices are clear and accidents are seen as blessings in disguise!

Love yourself, love others, thank others for loving you; and always keep your cool, because freakin wastes time, loses friends and burns valuable energy.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Where do we begin and others leave off?

The process of learning yourself is through experiences, right? Taking in all that you can and molding it to make a positive impact on your life is the final goal, right? The irony is that life is a never ending "battle" of finding "peace". Like a bumper sticker on my nalgene says, "fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity"...wait, that had no relevance; but fun to say anyways!

This blog is created for life lessons (hopefully), so when I'm old and dumb, I can still figure out what I did to make my life an amazing story.

Surrounding yourself with positive people has a huge effect on your outlook and inner "shine". Surrounding yourself with amazing people like this is not hard, but takes an awareness at all times, and to quietly step away when you find yourself looking at someone questioning why they are so unhappy!

Awhile back I had written a small memoir, you could say, to a prospective employer in Tahoe, I may find myself inserting quotes from this letter.

"People have asked me what I want to do when I grow up. I’ve never had a straight answer because, that’s a bullshit question. I hope to ask myself everyday because; it evolves, progresses, surges and dissolves with every unknown event to guide you to the next."

I leave this post with this:
"I can only relive past experiences to convey my thoughts. These experiences have led me to understand what I know, and question what I don’t know. As well as not fear my ability to step into the unknown."