Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Gear Gathers

Thanks to a climbing friend of mine, Eric Darr, I found Steep and Cheap. I wish I had found it sooner as in just a week I bought my Big Agnes Moon Hill 0 degree sleeping bag for $143.95. I scored an Obermeyer base layer shirt for $24.00. And I got a High Gear solar pod for @24.00.

These prices are great and if I had known about it earlier, I could be literally hundreds of dollars ahead of the game right now. On the other hand, I keep seeing things I want but don’t really need right now and it is difficult not to grab it. I have a lot of stuff yet to get, but my gear pile is getting higher and the big items are almost all in now. I am excited about all the stuff and its use in the Big Mountains!

On Backs and Stuff


This week has been very hard on my back. For some reason last Saturday it just started hurting on the left lower portion. I took my usual Alleve and rested it. A few days later it felt a little better but the concentrated pain area had shifted to the right. I have stretched and tried to help it work its way out to no real success.

Back in 2004, my weight was about 70 pounds more than it is today. I was sedentary…working at a desk all day and going to law school classes at night. No exercise. My back was so problematic that I could hardly carry my books from my car to class. Trips across parking lots were as if I were a pioneer looking across the vast and open plane to the destination at the edge of the horizon. When I would go to the grocery store, I found myself looking long and hard at the little electric carts…..but for me, I felt that would be giving up.

2005 in Ireland

I graduated law school n 2006. By then I was not working and was studying for the bar. Again. Very sedentary and no core strength to think of. Small tasks were made huge as a result of poor fitness and a “bad” back. I could not walk far. I could not stand for long periods of time. I could not sit long. It was not a good time for me.

Fall of 2007, a friend of mine and I decided that a good way to be sure we stayed in touch would be to do a 5k walk every month. Most of them had a one mile element and that would be a starting point. So, we signed up for the 2007 Candlelighters walk for childhood cancer. The day of the walk, my back ACHED. I took some meds and…well…a bit too much. When we took off, I was hunched over and we were definitely going to only do the one mile. But we missed the 1/2 mile turn around and were over half way through the 5k before we realized it. At one point, I had to tell my friend to stop talking to em for a while because I just had to try to make it through the walk and was hurting too bad. We finished. It was ugly. And we were definitely last.

We signed up for another…and after that another. And more. And soon we even signed up for a 10k in the Valley of Fire.  Finally I was moving and doing something besides getting closer to crippled.  And I liked it.

Stacey and I circa 2007

I even began spin class! There were setbacks, and my knee ended up requiring surgery. See, I had added golf to the mix too and was doing an awful lot given the weight I was carrying. But days after the surgery was at the 2009 Fatboy 5k. I went and though I could not walk it, I was there while Stacey did. And I was excited to get the leg going and get moving again.

By this time I was walking 5 and 10ks, golfing,  and never even looking at the electric cart at the grocery store. Then I started working at my current job, where some co-workers talked about Kayaking. I love the water and had been in the desert about 11 years by that time. So, I decided to give that a whirl and LOVED it.

Hoover Dam

Got my own kayak and absolutely enjoy every minute of a kayaking day.  That added yet another activity in to help improve my health as well as my quality of life. As a result, I have met tons of people with whom I really enjoy hanging out. They all also did something else  I never thought I would EVER want to do…..ROCK CLIMBING! So, I got a harness and some climbing shoes and started going to the indoor gym with them. It was really fun and so I started going regularly. It is good for balance and it is also a great time to visit and get some social time in for the week. I don’t climb a lot and really have stopped for now to get some more weight off. But I still go on the outdoor climbs so that I can hike and take pictures of my friends. It is so quiet out on the walls and peaceful. I love the time outside and the wonderful exhaustion that comes with a hard scramble and hike in and out. Today I find my weekends filled with hiking, biking, kayaking, golfing going to rock climbs or anything else that comes up. I bowl on a league for fun and I do CrossFit at CrossFit Max Effort in Las Vegas. I really have so much better a life than I did back when my back determined to limit me. I am writing this today because this week’s back pain reminded me how far this path has taken me. From looking at an electric scooter in the grocery store wondering if, at 45 my life had come to that, to eying Base Camp at Mount Everest at 51.

Got my Flights Booked!



I will head to McCarren International Airport after a big giant pet fest with my puppies and depart for San Francisco. This will be a familiar flight to see my sister and God parents before leaving the good ol’ U.S. of A. I am sure I will be quite excited and feel differently than the usual San Fran trip.


I will catch a ride from my sister, in her cool Mini-Cooper of great big varooms,

 to San Francisco International Airport .  Hope that it will hold all my gear for the trip! Next stop HONG KONG! Will have a 12 hour lay over so hope to sneak out into the streets of Hong Kong and get my China on!  

28 MAR 12  –  WEDNESDAY – AIR   CATHAY PACIFIC FLT:6732 HONG KONG TO KATMANDU 06HR  25MIN                                  

This is the flight from Hong Kong to Kathmandu! It has a brief stop in DHAKA Bangladesh! WHOOO HOO! Who knew?  

Then in Katmandu where the guides of Mountain Madness will pick me up and whisk me off for the trek of a lifetime! 


   KATHMANDU-HONG KONG            04HR 40MIN

 I am hoping there will be a way to see my Cousin Leo and his wife and daughter if they have joined him in China by then. If not at least to see him would be a blast given it is about 45 minutes by train to where he is living.


This tiring long flight will be the exhausted end of my adventure with one more bit of fun! My sister will meet me at the airport for eating and regaling of stories before she sends me off to Las Vegas.

UNITED AIRLINES      FLT:609 SAN FRANCISCO TO LAS VEGAS  01HR 26MIN                           

And at last, back to the Doll House (my cool Vegas digs) where I am reunited with my puppies and crash with the full exhaustion of it all.

Everest In My Sites

As I sit at Starbucks in the warm Vegas heat wearing flip flops and Wayfarers, it occurs to me that only 9 months from now, I will be departing for Everest. Mount Everest. I will be undergoing an adventure like no other I have undergone. I have done a bit of traveling. I spent three months in the Philippines with Alliance Youth Corp in 1983. That was a great trip and a cultural explosion for my pretty narrow view of life to that point. I have traveled in South America and Europe as well. Those trips were tourist trips with fine hotels and great transportation. But the Everest Trek? That will be EPIC.

I came across a blog about the trek and am reading it like it is GOLD! This is like previewing the day for day I am going to see and feel and hear and ouch and it is exciting! Hiking in Red Rock, below, will be the bizarro world opposite of what I can expect in Nepal.

Down to Black Corridor

Meetup Wall

Today’s approach to the newly bolted Meetup Wall was rigorous. It was 1.5 miles in, but was up, up, up with scrambling being the word of the day. I find that some things that I try to do still intimidate me and I tell myself I am unable. That slows me down. Lots. But on the up side, I never gave up and I made it. I got some help and that was great. But I have to get to where I am self sufficient.

Great Day in Red Rock!

The day was pleasant and warm. The destination was flooded in shade.
This was a knee buster that really crashed the knees, both going up and going down. But the view, the rocks, the sky…..all worth every bit of it.

Meetup wall is a wall with 8 routes ranging from 5.6 to 6.10. It was bolted recently, in 2011, and this was our first trip to see it. It was not disappointing, challenging even the good guys on the approach, The routes were fast but good and afterwords, some of the climbers moved over to Hunter S. Thompson wall. I peeled off from there and took a path through Black Corridor and worked my way back to the parking lot. It was a tough exit, requiring me to toss my pack off more than once to get through narrow slots and steep drops. I assessed this approa

The Look Down

ch as more difficult than the approach to Cut your Teeth wall. I really do not think I could have nade it up this approach last fall when I first did Cut your Teeth. The CrossFit has helped and if I could just increase my participation there I would see great results. So that is what I need to do!

What a Journey!

I keep plugging along trying to get to the ultimate conditioning for this epic adventure. I make two steps forward and one step back. That is better than one step forward and two steps back, however. Tomorrow I will go to The Meetup Wall. Might even bring the harness and take a stab at a couple routes.

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