Two Under Two

Our neighbors have two little boys, Pierce, who is almost two and Roman, who is 10 months (exactly two weeks older than you).

Last night we had the pleasure of watching Roman for a little over an hour while his mom took his older brother to the ER. Pierce ran into a bench and thankfully only ended up needing two stitches on the bridge of his nose. Poor little guy. I am so glad that I was at home and could help out.

But, the point of my post today is that I realized that having two children under the age of two is hard work and I only had to do it by myself for roughly 20 minutes before your dad got home. I don't know how mothers do it!? Valium? You've got one going one way and the other going another. One needs to be changed, while the other wants to be picked up. It has to be a master juggling act, is all I can say about it and that I have A LOT more respect for mothers that do it and make it look so effortless today than I did yesterday. Especially working mothers, like my neighbor. Here's to you, because let's face it, there is NOTHING effortless about having a child, let alone TWO!

Don't get me wrong, aside from you getting noticeably irritated/concerned/jealous when your dad or I held Roman, both of you were delightful together and very well behaved.

We want to have another baby (most days) and have them be close in age, but in doing the quick math, if all goes as planned (the stars are aligned and the universe is on our side) we, too will be members of the distinguished group known as parents of Two Under Two. I sort of shutter at the thought....

My question to all of you mothers of two out there is: A) how did you plan (timing/age wise) for your second child? and B) did you do so knowing that you would have two under two? And, lastly, is it as challenging as it seems? Don't lie!! :)

The best is yet to be.

Day 36/100

The High Five

From time to time, I'd like to share my High Five, a list of five products that I am loving right now and why.

DISCLAIMER: The High Five will sort of be a random list, but will contain five things that make my life as a mom a little easier, funner, brighter and happier. The High Five may or may not be baby related. Enjoy!

1. Yogurt Covered Pretzels
I felt like I had been living under a rock until I tried my first yogurt covered pretzel. In a word: delicious! I will never forget my first one; Fourth of July weekend just weeks after you were born. OMG! Greatest combination of sweet and salty ever.

2. Flip Video Camcorder
The easiest thing in the world to use and a perfect way to share special, funny and cute Lucas moments with family and friends near and far. I haven't even begun to use this device to it's fullest potential.

3. Cetaphil
According to the Web site: The #1 dermatologist and pediatrician recommended brand of skin cleansers and moisturizers specially formulated to provide effective, gentle skin care to help your skin look and feel its best.

All true and super inexpensive to boot!

I am forever on the quest to find face products that are light weight, nondrying, chocked with SPF and don't smell like perfume. Cetaphil is it! In the two months that I have been using the facial cleanser, moisturizer with 50 SPF (the highest SPF of any facial moisturizer!!) and night cream, I noticed a change in my skin tone and texture. L-O-V-E these products!!

4. Sugar Free Red Bull
This fantastic pick-me-up has actually been banned in some countries because of health risks, including heart attack or stroke according to Australian medical researchers, but on nights when I want/need to stay up past 9:00, it is a must.

5. Fisher Price's Laugh & Learn Learning Home
I have learned that nothing brings you more delight than sitting in vintage cars, being on the swings at the park, crawling and this fun toy in the waiting room at Cranial Technologies.

Your Mommy & Me friend, Brenna has one too and you spent almost the entire two hours we were at her house recently playing with it. I'm thinking we might have to get you your very own...

The best is yet to be.

Day 35/100

On The Move

Guess where you headed yesterday morning?

Scary! Thank goodness we had the house baby proofed almost a month ago.

It's crazy to think that just a week ago, I could put you on the floor and know that you couldn't get very far by pivoting and scooting around on your belly. Now, you are a little man on the move who has completely embraced crawling. And, if there is a lone Cheerio on the floor, you are sure to find it.

It has been so fun to watch you enjoy your new found independence and explore our ENTIRE house. You are definitely keeping me on my toes and I should be able to lose that last five pounds of baby weight in no time. :)

The best is yet to be.

Day 34/100

Natasha Barnes: Vegan Athlete

Natasha Barnes, a Mission Cliffs climber, and bona fide rock crusher has been climbing for the past 11 years. In between sending 5.13d sport routes, bouldering problems like Thriller and Midnight Lightning in Yosemite,and going full tilt on the Yosemite offwidth circuit, Natasha attends Palmer West Chiropractic, where she is obtaining a doctorate in Chiropractics and Physiotherapy.

For the past five years, Natasha has followed a strict vegan diet. "I only eat Vegans," she jokes. Natasha abstains from animal products, processed food, and operates her body on nutrient dense food. She took a moment to talk about her diet as an athlete and how being vegan helps her send.

what are the advantages of being an athlete on a vegan diet?
Being healthy, feeling healthy and recovering faster. Nutritional stress (stress to the body created by food that has unhealthy properties) is a major source of stress on our bodies as climbers. We put our bodies through the ringer all the time and if we are not eating the right foods (unprocessed foods rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, high-quality protein, fiber, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and good bacteria aka probiotics) than our bodies lack the components they need to to regenerate completely and effectively. Regular consumption of nutrient dense whole foods supports cellular regeneration which rebuilds muscle and other body tissue and is essential for recovery. Faster recovery = climb/train more often and harder = climb better.

VEGAN PIZZA. Spelt crust, ricotta, Sundried tomato pesto, basil, spinach, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and sundried tomato topping with a Malbec.

What do you eat to perform your best?

My best performance foods are whole veggies and fruits. The most nutrient dense and hydrating food. Bananas, oranges, apples, bell peppers, dates, grapes, leafy greens, nuts and seeds etc. I like to eat a big salad with lots of different veggies incorporated if I can. My favorite is one I call Guacamole salad. Mixed greens, cilantro (lots of it), garlic, tomato, avocado (2-3), agave nectar and salt and pepper to taste. It's only a few ingredients but its a winner.

Do you have any difficulties cooking on climbing trips?
No. I usually do burritos or veggie stir-fry because its pretty easy to put together no matter where you are. Plus I love black beans, avocado, tomato and cilantro...AND hot sauce!!

Sprouted corn tortilla, lime crema, shredded cabbage and carrot slaw, chile-beer marinated tempeh, cilatro, tomato, avocado.

How do you eat when you are bouldering? How about when you're sport climbing?
I try to eat pretty light while sport climbing. Bananas and other fruits for quick energy or hummus and veggies for lunch, sometimes I'll just snack on whole grain chips and salsa. I've been trying to remember to drink more water lately. While bouldering all bets are off and its cookies down the hatch. For some reason when I am bouldering I want to snack all day.

How do you add variety to your diet?
I try to experiment a lot and try different foods that I see or read about that I haven't tried before or try different recipes. A lot of the time I end up finding a new food that I totally love and I try and make it more. Its a also good way to make sure I am getting a good rotating variety of vitamins and minerals in my diet.

Will bacon ever grow on trees? How can someone switch their diet?

Haha!! Maybe they can genetically modify some plant to do that but that would be weird. It's easy to switch to a healthier diet. It doesn't have to be a vegan diet. Most of us could benefit even from a small change in diet. It's all about experimenting with new foods and finding what you like. Try to incorporate new veggies and fruits into your diet. You might be surprised. There are a plethora of web resources to help you with the transition to healthier living and recipes for vegetarian food.

These are some.

I also HIGHLY recommend this book by Brendan Brazier Canada's best (vegan) triathlete for athletes more serious about healthy living and eating.

big french fry

Although he was never really gone, I feel like I finally have my husband back. For the last 9 months, Nate has been working hard on his National Board Certification portfolio, an advanced teaching credential. As soon as he drops it off at the post office tomorrow after school, he will be DONE! Then he has to take a test in June to prove his proficiency in Spanish and wait until November to hear the results. It's not exactly over, but his weekends spent working on the portfolio are over, so we went out to celebrate!

We went to Chili's, because we knew it would be Lucas-friendly and pretty quick. Lucas did really well too, and even sat in his high chair the WHOLE TIME! That doesn't always happen. We ordered him a kid's meal with broccoli as his side, because we knew that he would have a couple of Nate's french fries. Sure enough, as soon as Nate's burger came out, he asked for a french fry. But he was not happy with the small french fry he was given. He wanted a "big french fry." We weren't sure we heard him right the first time, but sure enough, that's what he was saying, and he was not happy until he got a "big french fry". He's definitely 2.

I am thrilled that Lucas is age appropriate right now in both receptive and expressive language. But, I always fear that he won't maintain that level. Our ongoing challenge in the coming years will be to keep it that way. Well, tonight confirmed for me that Lucas continues to progress in his language acquisition and usage.

Lucas is quite the flirt when we're out in public. He waves to people as they arrive and says bye-bye as people leave. Older people especially enjoy his waves. As one couple was leaving the restaurant tonight, a gentleman waved back and told him that he liked his "flashing light". It was very nice of him, and at least he didn't mention contacting outer space...

On the way home from dinner, I caught a little video of what Lucas regularly sounds like when he's narrating his own play. There are a few intelligible words, but mostly jargon. He's usually more understandable than this, but he is definitely trying to tell a good story here about the sun. You should be able to understand "bye-bye & sun". I also hear him reference a snowman at the beginning. Enjoy!!!

*Don't forget to turn off the music player to the right. This video is not captioned, because I don't know how I would caption jargon..."

Wild Animal Park

Today, your aunt Leah and I took you to the Wild Animal Park. It was hot, but we still had a lot of fun.

We pet an antelope, saw a bat display, pretended we were a butterfly and took a cool ride on the merry-go-round (I even took your Doc Band off so that you could enjoy the wind), but visiting the baby elephant (born February 14) was our favorite activity.

We bought a membership, so we'll be back soon. Next time we want to check out the gorillas!

The best is yet to be.

Day 32/100

What's Wrong With This Picture?

You eat WAY better than I do. Your diet consists of organic fruits, vegetables, biscuits and crackers, tofu, whole wheat pasta, whole grain oatmeal cereal, free range chicken, yogurt, sugar free apple juice, etc. Last night you had lentils and brown rice while I went through the drive-thru at Del Taco for a Del Classic chicken burrito with extra lettuce, cheese and tomatoes and a, you guessed it, diet Coke. Disgusting, right? Actually, it was pretty damn good considering the only time I have fast food is on road trips.

Every time your dad is out of town I have to fend for myself when it comes to dinner, which typically means a bowl of cereal or cottage cheese, blue corn chips and salsa.

What's wrong with this picture?


My dad always used to say that once I had children that I'd need to learn to cook and he was right. It's time.

The best is yet to be.

Day 31/100

You Win

We've had some trying times lately, you and particular Wednesday and today. It seems as though you're on an every other day schedule; a good day followed by a bad day. A battle of wills, if you will.

Your witching hours are between 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM. These two hours make me literally and figuratively pull my hair out and stuff you down a drain pipe.

Even at nine and a half months old, you have a mind of your own and at almost 38, you better believe that I do too! More often than not, however, you win. Hands down, you win way more than I do.

I try to do what's best for you when it comes to... EVERYTHING; from naps, feeding, play and bath time, changing, packaging you up in the car for an outing to a host of a zillion other activities, but if you and I aren't on the same wave length, this mommy better watch out! She is going to lose 9.5 times out of 10.

You win so many rounds that I have stopped keeping score. I think it's something like 9956 to 21, which doesn't change the fact that I do know what's best for you. Whether you think so or not.

Now that you are mobile and a lot more independent and patience can't be bought, a lot more wine is going to need to be purchased.

Today, we hosted our first Mommy & Me play group and it was a lot of fun. Afterward, you were exhausted and fell asleep for exactly 28 minutes. When you woke up, you were very irritable and nothing would make you happy, so at wits end I put you in the car and drove you around for over an hour in Friday going home traffic while you slept and I got some much needed peace and quiet. I'd say I won that round, would you? Hmmmm...maybe not, I did mention the peace and quiet, didn't I?

Alas, there are moments that make it all worth while, like this, when we are one. Calm, quiet, connected and in sych. I live for these moments.

The best is yet to be.

Day 31/100

Mt.Pleasant update! Classes added for next week!

Goooood morning peeps!
I am in bliss as the sun is streaming in my window. And well... it is just plain lovely. (especially after all of yesterdays "moisture" and cloud cover haha.. )

Anyways...Just wanted to give you a heads up that YES there will in fact be Yoga next week at Mt.Pleasant between our regular sessions so feel free to drop by!

I asked and we received! Yay!

These 4 classes are drop in only as they are during our week off between sessions. (I believe they are all $12 to drop into as well)

Registration is on for all sessions beginning the first week of April and I recommend registering soon to ensure a spot. (for all classes)

A couple of things to note mt.pleasant-wise is that I have added an additional daytime Hatha class on Wednedays now at 1230. (just like the Mondays class) So now those of you who have been asking to be able to double up, can! And I kept it seriously reasonable too. It is a huge savings to register for both days. Oh, and I've upped the class time from 75 minutes to a full 90.

Soooo...register away! All sessions for all classes start the first week of April.

Here are the classes I've added for next week:

Monday March 29- Baby & Me Yoga from 1045am -1215pm
Monday March 29-Daytime Hatha from 1230pm-200pm

Wednesday March 31-Daytime Hatha from 1230pm-200pm
Wednesday March 31-Prenatal Yoga from 630pm-745pm

Have a really wonderful day! I'm off to my Kid's yoga class now to do a lot of barking and meowing and jumping around. (don't worry I don't make any animal sounds in the above classes!) But you always can if the feeling strikes!

Have a lovely day & see ya soon. XO

Ready - Set - Go!

Someone learned to crawl today!

The best is yet to be.

Day 30/100

Wonderful, Exhausting Motherhood

"It'd be nice if something made sense every once in a while" - Alice

How long am I considered a "new" mother? Sometimes I don't feel like I am any more experienced today than I was nine months ago. Sure, I know a few more things, but I am by no means a pro.

My son has been sleeping through the night for months, but how long does my sleep deprivation last? I am tired all the time! Last night I went to bed to sleep at 8:30 and tonight will be similar, I'm sure. I'm "on" all the time, so the minute my head hits the pillow, I'm out!

I love talking candidly with my fellow "new" mom friends about the frustrations that come with our roles and how every day is so utterly mundane, yet also so vastly different from the next. I have found that not all mothers will talk so openly about how hard this is, so it's refreshing to find someone that will. Thanks, Jenn, if you are reading this. I love our walks and talks. We need to be able to vent and be open and honest about our feelings. I do, anyway. It revives me and lets me know that I'm not alone in this crazy wonderful, exhausting thing called motherhood.

I love how Debra Gilbert Rosenberg describes motherhood in her book The New Mom's Companion: Care for Yourself While You Care for Your Newborn:

"New mothers enter the world of parenting feeling much like Alice in Wonderland.
  • Being a mother is one of the most rewarding jobs on earth and also one of the most challenging.
  • Motherhood is a process. Learn to love the process.
  • There is a tremendous amount of learning that takes place in the first year of your baby’s life; the baby learns a lot, too.
  • It is sometimes difficult to reconcile the fantasy of what you thought motherhood would be like, and what you thought you would be like as a mother, with reality.
  • Take care of yourself. If Mommy isn't happy, no one else in the family is happy either.
  • New mother generally need to lower their expectations.
  • A good mother learns to love her child as he is and adjusts her mothering to suit her child."
Nothing else in my life has changed me the way motherhood has, not going away to college, not getting married, not losing a loved one. It's completely shocking and there is a lot that no one tells you about motherhood before you experience it for yourself. It is one of life's greatest mysteries and yet, if we are lucky, we all do it.

I forge ahead knowing that the best is yet to be.

Day 30/100

It's In The Genes

Since I have known your dad, he has owned 13 cars!! Nine modern daily drivers and four vintage vehicles. The vintage ones are the most exciting. They all had original parts and their own unique history. The latest addition in our ever-revolving garage door is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS 2.7.

Your grandfather sells cars.

Your dad sells cars.

Cars are in your dad's blood and from the looks of your face in these photos, it is definitely in yours too.

The best is yet to be.

Day 29/30

My entry for the Beautiful Grim Art Auction

Graduation Day

You successfully completed eight weeks of Kindermusik today and you better believe that your diploma went straight on the refrigerator! I am so proud of my little boy.

You enjoyed the class so much that we have signed up for another eight week session.

If you would like to cultivate a love of music in your child, I highly recommend these classes.

The best is yet to be and let's hope that there are many more diplomas in our future.

Day 27/100


evidence 010


I missed you while I was away, but my trip to Vegas was everything I hoped it would be and more. I got a little sun, won a little money, had some amazing meals and shared lots of laughs with my friends and got inked!

I got my first tattoo in 1993 with four high school girlfriends, all of which I am still friends with: Katie, Kendra, Kristin and Sara. We were all in Phoenix for a mini reunion, attending the graduation of our friends and after breakfast one morning with nothing else planned to do, we decided to get tattoos. We couldn't agree what we would all get, but we did agree where we wanted to get it (our right hips).

We soon found a tattoo parlor and after consent forms had been signed and we drew numbers to see who would go first (I was third), we were pouring though albums of artwork and scouring the walls of the shop to find the perfect design. I chose a sunflower, my favorite flower. Over the years, everyone has added to their tattoo or got another one (or more).

They say once you get one tattoo, you are likely to get another....

I got my second tattoo, a beautiful angel wing on my right ankle, in August 2002 on a weekend visit to help your aunt Leah move into her dorm at U of A. She was going to get one then too, but chickened out at the last minute. She has since gotten one and has had it embellished.

After dinner on Thursday night at Nove at the Palms hotel, my friend Diana and I both found ourselves at Huntington Ink, the most over priced tattoo shop on the strip! We were committed so there was no turning back. My newest addition, taking all of three minutes and didn't hurt a bit, is two small stars on the top of my right foot. I have been wanting them for almost three years and had often drew them on to see how they would look. Once my parents died, I really wanted them in their memory.

Tattoos are permanent and each one of mine has deep and personal meaning. I have no regrets about any of them; they are a part of me and I love them.

The best is yet to be.

Day 26/100

Gil Hedley's "Fuzz Speech" (real human cadaver, not for the faint of heart)

Use it or 'in-fact' lose it. Those words couldn't be more true. All you have to do is wake up in the morning to notice how we are all a little stiffer. And as we age? Well, countless things begin to happen and thats what makes a yoga practice so incredibly important. Yoga, massage, body work of all forms. Just plain movement!

Gil Hedley Ph.D, the anatomy teacher in this video (whom I would give anything to one day study with), really couldn't put it any simpler. We are continually being covered over with fuzz and need to break through it or well...

We won't be able to move! seriously!

Energy won't flow, we'll feel like crap, we'll be in pain, depressed and eventually become ill. Lack of movement, believe it or not, can actually cause joints to fuse together! That means the joint is gone and is no longer a joint!

Talk about frightening...

I don't speak very often about an accident I was in once, but I know all about being unable to move, atrophy (muscle wasting), trauma, healing, and yes...being absolutely covered in fuzz! I'm talking about a three year recovery support, the works. (but enough about me. I really couldn't feel better!)

Thought I'd share this video just in case you know someone who was 'debating' going to a Yoga class...don't debate, just get on your mat!

Forget the mat just get on the floor! Get inside your body. Really inside. Life is just too short to not connect with yourself and break through the fuzz.

And while you're at it you'll be receiving countless other benefits. The benefits of a regular yoga practice are literally endless and on many levels. Whether you come to yoga on a Doctors suggestion, or to increase flexibility, improve athletic performance, get strong, ditch stress, meditate, heal from trauma... or even just to look great in that new bikini. (haha)

Yoga is for everyone.

I think I can speak for all of us in saying that we all want to feel as vibrant and healthy and vital as we possibly can while we are here.

So let's get moving. Let's do it up and enjoy life to the fullest!

Take that first step and find yourself a yoga class near you and get started. Our beautiful city is brimming with yoga venues of all kinds and some of the greatest teachers anywhere.

And a special thanks to my most cherished teacher in this city Bernie Clark for bringing Dr.Hedley to my awareness and for sharing so much of his incredible knowledge, wit and wisdom over the years (most recently in my Yin Yoga Teacher training). Bernie is the man. In my opinion Bernie Clark makes the yoga scene in Vancouver what it is. To find out more about Bernie, yin yoga and what he does for this incredible planet of ours go to... and

Border Country

The ring of a hammer hitting a drill bit bounced down Gunsight Gully in Yosemite. Mad Dog’s mullet flapped in the breeze as he swore about having to sink another “bristler.” Balanced at a small stance with the help of two hooks, Mad Dog (née Dana Drummond) wailed on the drill bit. Jeremy Collins and Mikey Schaefer traded off belay duty on the ledge above a concave arc of granite.

The hard granite of Middle Cathedral Rock, with its sparse opportunities for stances—not to mention the team’s traditional ethos—kept the three climbers from placing many bolts. They moved slowly; connecting the short technical features of Middle Cathedral into a massive new free climb presented problems not only with protection but with route finding as well. Still, after six months of work in 2009, the trio had completed Border Country (V 5.12c).

Schaefer, a former Yosemite Mountaineering School guide, had scoped the line for a number of years before recruiting Mad Dog and Collins for a ground-up ascent of the route. One of the tallest short men to ever walk through Camp 4, Schaefer’s first ascents have included the first ascent of the 5.12+ Grade V face route Night Shift on Tuolumne’s Fairview Dome. A technician in the sacred art of slab climbing, Mikey walked confidently through his decade of Yosemite climbing, establishing significant first ascents in the Valley.

Mad Dog comes from Northeastern pedigree, but he spends his summers in California, working Yosemite Search and Rescue, hiding his crushing abilities beneath a Hulk Hogan mullet and a John Muir beard.

A couple of years ago, Schaefer and Drummond met Collins in Patagonia, where each had just completed separate first ascents. Collins took a few weeks off from illustrating in the Mid-west to take his horn-rimmed glasses, mild mannered, Clark Kent attitude to crushing altitudes in Yosemite.

In early June, around the time the climbers were halfway done with their route, an avalanche in China claimed the lives of Yosemite Valley monkey Micah Dash, budding filmmaker Wade Johnson, and Colorado alpinist Johnny Copp. The last entry in Copp’s journal, which was recovered in the remnants of the men’s basecamp, includes a poem entitled “Border Country,” which describes the perils of living on the edge of the unknown. Dash and Copp’s climbing goals had forced them to deal with a large increase in objective hazards- rock fall, crevasses, and ultimately avalanches. The mountains are dangerous.

Sean “Stanley” Leary, climbing with Mikey Schaefer, attempted the second ascent of Border Country. He made short work of the initial thousand feet, climbing 5.10 thirty feet between the bolts and sparse gear, and gaining a U-Shaped bowl mid route.

Stanley has nerves of steel. Four months earlier, Stanley packed the ashes of his recently departed girlfriend, Roberta Nunes, and jumped off of Patagonia’s El Mocho, tracking in his wing suit for 600 feet. The winds blew across Cerro Torre’s satellite peak spreading Roberta’s ashes blew across the glaciers. Then Stanley stopped descending. Panicked, he tore at the cord for his BASE rig. When his canopy opened, he propelled a thousand feet above the summit of El Mocho. He attempted to spiral and descend but the Patagonia winds kept him aloft for 13 endless minutes, until he was able to follow a few condors out of the thermal upwind and down to the glacier.

Four months later, Stanley returned to Border Country. He made it up to the head wall but fell pulling the hard face moves. Off the belay, Mikey and Dana had scrunched their bodies, stepping on a tiny edge, and mantling off a small dibit with their thumbs. Despite Stanley’s talent and tenacity, he couldn’t bend his long limbs into the mantle. He pulled on the bolt protecting the move and continued to the summit.

On the run-out fourth pitch of Border Country, 500 feet off the ground, I stopped. Katie Lambert, a Yosemite hard woman with an ascent of Tuolumne’s technical Peace (5.13c) to her name, belayed attentively below me. I pondered placing a tiny cam behind a small flake. I wanted to impress my attractive belayer with my climbing prowess. I shrugged. Running it out any more than I needed to wouldn’t impress anyone. I shoved the unit in, shot up another 20 feet to just below a bolt, and mantled onto a small edge.

I balanced precariously, crimping down on a wet hold as I stared at the bolt. Suddenly my hand popped. My body teetered on the brink. My hips pulled into the wall and then my back arched away from it.

I fell 20 feet before hitting a slab, flipping upside down, and rocketing down another 20 feet before the cam I had begrudingly placed caught me. Katie’s eyes went wide. The lobes of her half inch cam had bent. I groaned. My climbing prowess wasn’t impressing anyone. She met me at the belay, and we continued onto the headwall, where Katie danced up the difficult 5.12, hanging the rope for me. When the shadow of the Nose covered the entire Zodiac, we began descending, rappelling the route two pitches below the summit.

Luis “Lucho” Rivera slept in the back of his pick-up in Camp 4. Around midnight, the rangers knocked on the window, trying to wake him and alert him that he was camping illegally. He lay still, afraid of the heavy hand of the “Green Gestapo.”

The rangers shook the truck. Lucho remained motionless, with saucer eyes, hoping that they would leave. Instead, they straightened a coat hanger, twisted it through a chink in the car window and began to poke the dirtbag climber. He eventually fell out of his pickup and into the arms of the ticket-ready rangers. Despite years of establishing first ascents in the Valley, and a strong desire to climb new free wall routes, Lucho began hanging in the Valley less and less. He felt he had given enough to the Yosemite climbing scene with his countless first ascents, that a cold winter night in the back of his truck would go unnoticed by the rangers. The rangers poke and prod climbers because they often break laws. Out of bounds camping is illegal, so is power drilling, and leaving fixed lines- activities which make the logistics of climbing easier. The constant battle between climbers and the bureaucracy can be more epic than the climbing.

One of the largest bits of Yosemite climbing news in 2009 has been the definitive lack of any groundbreaking achievements. In the past decade, the Huber brothers, Tommy Caldwell, and others have established a dozen hard free routes on El Capitan with seasonal fervor. Last year, the young Alex Honnold free soloed the Regular Northwest face of Half Dome (5.12a), reviving a true sense of boldness within the ragtag crew that calls Yosemite Valley home. Thanks to a tireless crew of Bay Area boulderers, the Valley has exploded with double-digit problems and many newly developed blocks.

Compared to the tidal wave that was the last decade of activity, 2009 seemed flat: no new routes were established on El Cap, no bold solos were done, and the participants in what once was (and always will be) the center of the American climbing universe, diminished. Bachar died. Dash died. Copp died. In this hallow space, Border Country stands alone as the achievement of the year.

Unlike the free climbs on El Capitan, which had been worked and sussed on rappel, Border Country was an adventure up into the unknown. The three first ascentionists didn’t have what Bachar once called “the invisible toprope,” the mental assurance that better gear, or even holds, was coming. A dimming of the unknown.

Why the lull in the Valley climbing scene? A number of Yosemite denizens, like Stanley, have spent less time hanging in the Valley and more time BASE jumping off small bridges, planes, and remote Patagonian Towers. Many climbers, like Lucho, have avoided the Valley for fear of persecution. Not only are activities like BASE jumping illegal but camping, and generally being in the Valley presents enormous difficulties. Jesse McGahey, the current law enforcement officer with “climber ranger” status, doubled his staff in the past year.

“Climbing Rangers are a crucial piece of protecting the vertical Wilderness through outreach, education, hands-on maintenance, and coordinated clean-up volunteer work,” McGahey stated in an interview. Undoubtedly, the rangers have helped protect Yosemite, but they still chase climbers through the boulders at night. The ever-increasing bureaucracy involved in camping and staying in the park scared a number of the committed dirtbag rock climbers, the monkeys, out of the Valley.

Others have moved onto the alpine setting, trading the warm California climate for the blustery cliffs of Patagonia. Facebook updates from El Chalten, the town below Cerro Torre, were in vogue. For many aspiring alpinists, Yosemite has always been merely a training ground—not a proving ground—where they could learn to move fast, freeing and aiding, up a big wall. Once they have the skills, they move on.

Many climbers just appear to be over it. The energy involved in climbing hard new routes in Yosemite is daunting. Hand drilling on the sharp end brings more calluses than glory. The sheer adventure wears people down: the technical ground-up climbing, the offwidths, the rangers. The ditch is a meat factory that chews climbers up and spits them out. 2009 was a year with a noticeable shortage of fresh meat.

Lucho hung off the side of the Middle Cathedral, belaying and staring across the river at El Cap. Hayden Kennedy crimped his way up the wall, onsighting Border Country until the definitive mantle crux. Hayden, though only 18, has already proved himself as a true, young Yosemite force. Though lean, tall and talented, he has the flexibility of a flagpole. He tried to hike his foot up and scrunch into position for 15 minutes. Finally his teenage voice cracked, “Dude, I like c-an’t do this!”

Across the river, El Capitan loomed. Hayden’s big-wall free-climbing list had been slowly increasing and a send of Border Country would be a solid achievement. Routes like Border Country are establishing a solid foundation for the next generation, routes that will give them experience necessary to tackle the bigger and harder lines with a sense of the adventure.

Collins returned to Border Country in early November. He climbed through the tick marks that Hayden, Lucho, Stanley, Katie, and I had left for him. Below the summit, the sun dipped behind Lower Cathedral and the walls of Middle Cathedral became arctic. Collins returned to a ledge, and rappelled the route. Before he began his descent, he opened an urn and spread the ashes of Johnny Copp on the route. The scene in Yosemite changes, but the spirit of the climbers remains.

this article was published in Rock and Ice 185 and can be found online

Pretty Things - Update

After posting about this last week, (Pretty Things) I just couldn't get it out of my head, so needless to say, this gorgeous handbag is now mine! For those of you wondering, yes the scarf is really attached.

It will be making the trip to Vegas with me this weekend. :)

The best is yet to be.

Day 23/100

Viva Las Vegas

March Madness* AKA "The Big Dance" refers to the annual NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament. This tournament, held late March through early April, is a single-elimination tournament in which 65 teams compete against each other over the course of a three weeks for a shot at a national championship.

During this time, teams will be moving up one tier at a time, working through to the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, the Final Four and eventually into the finals. This is the season where basketball nuts become completely crazy cheering on their favorite team in the hope for a championship.

March Madness is also one of the reasons for my annual weekend girl's trip to Las Vegas! What better place to watch college ball, hang out with my friends, enjoy some fine dining, pampering, the pool and do a little gambling, dancing and celebrating? I have been looking forward to landing on this page of my calendar for weeks....

My good friend, Kathryn's birthday falls right smack dab in the middle of March too, so she is the other reason we go. Although, we try not to let it go to her head, after all, she has earned the nickname Birthdayzilla for a reason! Kat, if you are reading this, you know I love you.

This year will mark my seventh trip, but some have been going for 10 years! I missed out last year because I was pregnant and Vegas is not a whole lot of fun if you can't drink, plus is hard to escape all the cigarette smoke, so I am really looking forward to this year's getaway.

This trip will also mark my first TWO nights away from you. So far, I have spent six single nights away from you, but never TWO consecutive nights and I'm a little nervous. I know you are in good hands, that's not what I'm worried about. I'm worried about me! I am going to miss you so much, but I am going to try to enjoy the time away and be in the moment. I wonder if you'll even notice that I'm gone?

*The term "March Madness" was coined by Henry V. Porter in 1939. Originally the term was used to refer to the Illinois High School Basketball Tournament. Later the NCAA picked it up after a small legal battle with the Illinois High School Association. March Madness was then used to refer to the collegiate national basketball tournament. This was started in 1939 by National Association of Basketball Coaches and only had eight contending teams at the time.

Bear Down, Arizona!! Oh, wait, they didn't even make it to the tournament this year (the first time in 25 years!). :(

The best is yet to be.

Day 23/100

Someday You're Going To Have A Wallet

Your dad and I get a kick out of talking about all the things you are going to do, be and have like; a wallet, a suit, car keys, a cell phone, a cup of coffee, your own apartment, a date, an interview, etc. and it makes us giggle. We only know you at nine months, so to think of our little nine month old Lucas having and doing all these things is silly and sweet.

You have so many firsts to look forward to!

We're trying to remember and document all of your first everythings, but there will come a day when you experience firsts that we won't be a part of. Really big, super exciting, weird and wonderful firsts like; your first day of school, the first time you tie your shoes, your first kiss, your first broken heart, the day you get your driver’s license and your first car (not necessarily the same day, mind you!), your first pay check, and many years down the road, the first time you truly realize your life is your own.

You will make decisions that will affect your entire life. We hope they will be good ones. You will make mistakes too, but if we've done our job, hopefully you will learn from them.

We want you to have every single opportunity that we had growing, travel and exposure to different cultures, as many pairs of sneakers you can wear out and books you can read, family game nights, vacations and open, honest conversations around the dinner table, a lifetime of warmth, security, support and the best of memories. In short, we want for you what any parent wants for their child: EVERYTHING! :)

That's not too much to ask, is it?

The best is yet to be.

Day 22/100

Happy St. Patrick's Day

The best is yet to be.

Day 22/100

spring is in the air!

Today I was reminded why springtime is my favorite time of year. I love not having to wear a coat, I love the sunshine, I love hearing the birds, and I love not being couped up inside. I feel like springtime is a time for new beginnings and new life; it gives me a more positive outlook on life. I look forward to spending lots more time outside with Lucas and the wonderful new language opportunities it will bring!

Lucas enjoyed his first trip to the park in about 5 months. It was so much easier now that he can walk well! It was great PT too, walking on uneven surfaces. He could climb up himself and slide down by himself, both improvements from last summer. He even willingly gave me his ear before going down the slide when I asked for it.

He giggled with delight, like I haven't heard him giggle in some time. It's going to be a great spring.

The Roundhouse is back! The Roundhouse is back!

This is going to be the shortest blog post in the world because I am running late here, but I feel like screaming it from the rooftops I love this place so much! lol!

I will be forever grateful to Lilli Q' Cafe and Playhouse as well for allowing me to hold my Roundhouse classes there during the Olympic Hiatus and I can't recommend enough checking out Lilli'Q. (1268 Pacific Blvd-right next door to the roundhouse!)

It is a lovely cafe and play spot for babies and tot's & momma's and families.
And the owner is the momma of a 1 year old herself!

Anyways, gotta fly! headed there now. Yay!

Registration is on right now by the way for both the Roundhouse and Mt.Pleasant!
(see schedule for links & info and such!)
Love, Lori XO

Keeping Our Children Safe

People in San Diego are understandably enraged and confused: a convicted sex offender (who, in the past, had beaten and raped young girls and got only five years in prison) was let out on rape and kill a young woman again.

This is a heartbreaking story and I, too am outraged and very scared for my child's safety.

Thousands Gather to Mourn Chelsea King
Outpouring of Grief Revitalizes Shaken Community at Teen's Memorial Service

By Lisa Fletcher
POWAY, Calif., March 13, 2010

More than 6,000 mourners held sunflowers tied with blue ribbons as they said goodbye to Chelsea King, the straight-A student and cross-country runner who was known for her kindness and compassion.

"She was a person who brought sunshine and light to school every day," said Dakota Douglas, Chelsea's friend and cross-country teammate. "She was an incredible person, was nice to everyone. I just can't believe that she's gone. School's not the same without her."

King, known for her gentle spirit, helped plan a prom for developmentally disabled kids, packed relief boxes for those in need in Africa and served as a peer counselor at her school.

During the memorial, a giant monitor over the high school football field reminisced of happier days -- Chelsea laughing with her friends, loving life. The school band filled the air with music; Chelsea had played the French horn in the band.

As everyone grieved, there was a message of hope. This strongly Christian community praying together that something good would ultimately come from something tragic, that laws would change, eyes would be opened and accountability would be had.

Chelsea went missing while running in a Rancho Bernardo park last month, just outside of San Diego. Thousands in this close-knit community turned out to search for her. Volunteers passed out flyers by the thousands and tied blue ribbons on trees across the city to remind people she was missing.

This community is now turning that same energy into demands for change -- outraged that a paroled sex offender may have slipped through bureaucratic cracks.

"This is just an assault to everybody's child," said Christy Georgedes, as she choked back tears. "I've got three daughters and she's my fourth daughter, and this is going to stop! So we're going to show our love today but after that, beware. You just watch how powerful things are going to get."

Parents we spoke with say they will do anything within their power to change the laws if necessary, but most of all they will demand accountability from those whose job it is to track the whereabouts of convicted predators.

Police arrested convicted sex offender John Gardner three days after Chelsea's disappearance. Two days later, her body was discovered in a shallow grave.

Terri Francy, who has kids at Poway High School, told us this community won't stop until families have the protection they deserve.

"Seven times that he [Gardner] violated parole and had they got him, had they put him behind bars where he should have been, then he wouldn't have been out there to commit this crime," Francy said. "I hate to live in the 'what ifs' and 'it shouldn't have happened,' but it's true. It shouldn't have happened. We want to stop it now."

It is unclear whether Gardner violated his parole or whether the state didn't properly track him. But enough questions have been raised that on Friday, Gov. Schwarzenegger ordered a probe into the way the state handled Gardner's case.

Officials say that Gardner, who's now charged in Chelsea's death, is also the focus in the murder investigation of 14-year-old Amber DuBois, whose body was found in a neighboring community last Saturday.

Gardner was released early from prison in 2005, after molesting a 13-year-old girl.

My friend Wendi sent me a link to the Web site Family Watchdog and I was shocked to find that there are 15 (!!) registered sex offenders within a five mile radius of my house!

As a parent, it is our job to keep our children safe. We have to do our best to prepare them in case they are ever in danger or threatened in any way. I have a nine month old and I'm already thinking about this stuff!

I'm afraid these days, it goes a lot further than "Don't talk to strangers" and “Look both ways before crossing the street”. There's Internet stalking, identity theft, bullying, child predators in our parks and playgrounds, child abductors, substance abuse, etc., etc., etc. How do I teach my son to be safe without frightening him? It's enough to make you want to put a GPS tracking device in your child!

A parent should never ever ever have to bury a child. My heart goes out to the parents of Chelsea King. May they find peace.

The best is yet to be.

Day 20/100

Home Sweet Home

I was either a saint in a former life or the universe felt like it owed me one because you were just awesome on our trip to visit your grandparents in the Bay Area. You are a super traveler and I couldn't be happier.

I was so nervous because we haven't made that trip since before Christmas; my stomach was literally in knots before each flight. I know it's only an hour and a half gate to gate, but that can seem like an eternity to a new mom. Plus, you are a very different baby now than you were three months ago. Thankfully my worry was for not and you were a champ. Well, until halfway through our flight home when you reached out for the cup on the tray table of the poor girl sitting next to us and dumped her entire drink in her lap. Luckily, she was a great sport about it and forgave you almost instantly. Those baby blues come in very handy!

Our visit was nice, but a little stressful. You barely ate a thing while we were away. It seems as though all that delicious homemade baby food (Bon Appetit) has turned you into a foodie and you wouldn't touch the Earth's Best, even though it was the same stuff you devour at home (peas, sweet potatoes, rice and squash). Apparently it tastes a lot different.

The other stressful thing about our trip was the fact that my in-laws have recently put their home on the market and with viewings happening at any given moment (with notice fortunately), the house has to be kept pretty much immaculate. A lot easier said than done, especially with a nine month old... you come with a ton of gear! We made it work, but it wasn't fun.

I just realized that I didn't take any photos (other than a couple not-so-great iPhone photos) on this trip of you at the park, or with your great aunt Judi or cousins, or in the loving arms of your grandma. Next time.

I love traveling almost as much as I love coming home!

Here's to a great week...

The best is yet to be.

Day 19/100

25 Random Things About Being A Parent

Another great e-mail forward (that's two in three weeks) sent to me by a fellow mom of three. Thanks, Natalie!

1. It is very hard to determine if you’re really done having children. You are. And then you aren’t. And then you hold a sweet little baby and fall in love. And then the baby poops all over you. It’s very difficult to decide.

2. A well-balanced meal is anything the kids will eat without complaining.

3. When you say you’re going to "slip into something more comfortable," you mean your favorite flannel pajama bottoms and your Jayhawks hoodie.

4. Coffee.

5. No matter how many pictures and videos you take, it’s never enough.

6. Sleep is for the weak. And that doesn’t change until the kids are out of the house.

7. Every single emotion you have is heightened with your children. You are happier, angrier, more worried, more defensive, and more devastated when something bad happens to them. All of this is because you love them more than you ever knew was possible.

8. Don’t bother asking a parent about anything interesting, like the latest book read, movie watched, or lecture attended. It all ends with the same word: Nickelodeon.

9. Wine.

10. Dinner will never be quiet again. But then it will be too quiet.

11. There is no greater joy than seeing your child succeed at something. A close second though is seeing them fail and pick themselves back up and try again.

12. Watching a child learn to read is one of the joys no one tells you about. It is magical, and it happens so quickly.

13. You can never receive too many handwritten notes or pictures that say "I Love You", even when they’re not spelled right.

14. The matching $100 sweaters you bought your kids for the holiday picture were totally worth it — even though you ate ramen noodles for the rest of the month. You’ll have that picture forever.

15. No matter how crazy your kids drive you, and regardless of their age, when you peek at them fast asleep at night you can’t help but wonder how you’ve been so blessed.

16. You will lose all practical knowledge and the ability to win at Trivial Pursuit. But you will be an expert on Lightning McQueen, Fancy Nancy or a host of other commercial characters.

17. You may have been a star athlete, drama queen, or chess club champion in your heyday, but your biggest competitive rush now may come from outbidding someone on eBay to win an auction. Probably buying something for your kids.

18. Those guys that wrote Love and Logic must have had nannies to raise their kids.

19. "Walk of Shame" has a whole new meaning when you’re parent. It becomes the 500 feet between your car and the emergency room, carrying your child, who on your watch....

20. Someone needs to write the Santa Claus/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy manual for parents. It is impossible to be prepared for the depth and breadth of questions posed in your child’s lifetime. ("Why does Santa’s wrapping paper look just like yours?") Parents need a job aid that can be accessed quickly and on the down low.

21. Whenever you hear the phrase "Uh-oh" followed by a long pause, grab your camera and your stain stick and start looking."

22. In your younger days you would have thought it was too "Big Brother" to microchip your kid. Now, it’s tempting...very tempting.

23. While you used to compulsively check Web sites for great shopping deals, now you compulsively check the sex offender registry to make sure no predators are living nearby.

24. On the rare occasion you get a "date" with your spouse, the conversation revolves around poop, Gymboree and whether or not it’s cool to drive a minivan.

25. When it’s all said and done, no one could have ever explained how you could love so deeply, hurt so badly, tire so quickly, and still experience more joy than you’ve ever known...all for a child.

The best is yet to be.

Day 19/100

the sweet surprise of twenty-ten


mommy jacket off!

Oh blog, how I've missed you! It's been a while. That's not to say that nothing exciting is happening though! Here's an update on what's going on in the life of Lucas.

Lucas is starting to string together 2 & 3 word phrases, and his jargoning is starting to make sense to me! On Friday, when I took him to Nate's mom's house before work, he wanted me to stay, and he kept saying "mommy jacket off!" His 2 word combinations are much more spontaneous, and no longer consist of just "_____, please", etc. His vocabulary must be 300+ words now.

Did I mention that he's testing age appropriate in language? At the end of January, he was re-tested for his annual IFSP review, and the results were outstanding. I can't believe that he made up 2 years of language in 1 year! Now the trick will be keeping it that way! The language journey is far from over.

Lucas is definitely 2! And he's so much fun! It's really enjoyable to watch him engage in pretend play. He picks one of his animal "friends" and he'll read to them, cook for them, take them for a walk, etc. He even wanted to give his bear a bath the other day. He will also imitate situations, like conditioned play and being placed in time out. He'll take the peg puzzle I use with him to do conditioned ling responses, and hold up the pieces to his ear as he says the lings (unprompted). He'll also take his "time-out" chair, put it against the wall, sit in it, and yell "no, no, no"! It's definitely time to carefully watch what we say and do around him!

His music class must be paying off, because today I noticed that he was singing the isty, bitsy spider. I got it on video... so enjoy his *singing*! You will have to use your imagination a little bit, but you should be able to understand "itsy", "spider", "sun", "wash", "out". I think the spider gets washed out a little much in his version though, LOL!

On March 31, Lucas is finally having surgery at CHOP to repair his trigger thumb. We were waiting to see if we could combine it with another surgery he was going to have, but ended up not needing (yay!). I'm all about the two-for-one surgeries. Your prayers for an easy procedure and quick recovery are appreciated! (both are anticipated)

My wish is for everyone to find their yoga.

We are just so lucky. I mean really...
Does it get any better than this?

To those who know me I know I may seem a little "over the top" (maybe even "irritatingly" happy a lot of the time) haha.. but I'm human and believe it or not, I have my dark days as well.

I know very well that we are all experiencing our own reality in every moment and that things are continually changing and evolving. We don't always feel like celebrating and aren't "always" overflowing with bliss ( because well, quite frankly, shitty things sometimes happen to us at times!) Life is truly so uncertain and none of us ever know what is around the corner.

But all in all....It is a such beautiful world and there is never a shortage of things for me to feel incredibly and deeply grateful for. For instance teaching yoga is a continual source of joy and inspiration to me. I would recommend it to anyone, anytime, any day of the week because Yoga is for everybody. As long as you can breathe you can practice yoga.

It's no secret that I teach weekly Yoga classes to everyone from pregnant mom's to babies, (post-natal) to kid's, and to all- levels and ages of adult's. This isn't by accident. Sure, it's more study time for me and more prep time each day (keeping things fresh and new) but I love it. I really really do.:)

And the best part?

(short of owning my own yoga studio that is) I have full control of my class pricing! (aside from applicable taxes of course.) I get to keep my classes affordable. That truly is a luxury. There aren't many places you can teach and set your own price structure. I feel very blessed to be able to do this and for as long as I can continue to.. that is what I'll be doing. So far it has been 6 years. I make my own prices and schedule and feel really good about keeping yoga accessible to people. My classes are $12 to a maximum of $14 to drop into and even cheaper if you register. (most are 90 minute classes)

My Yoga practice is one of the biggest things in my life, right up there with my partner and loved ones. My love for yoga just keeps growing and I feel a richness, inner peace and gratitude for my practice that I have difficulty putting into words.

Yoga means many things to many people. There are so many facets of yoga. It is just so profound. And yet your yoga practice can be whatever you want it to be!

Simple. Thats what my practice is. And it becomes even more simple the longer I practice and teach. And thats the beauty of it. It is your own practice and yours alone. For me a yoga class is time for me. A rare chance to pause and reflect and breathe. To be in my body. To let go of the past, the to-do list, whatever is going on tomorrow. Yoga really helps keep my life and my body in balance. It's a chance to draw in and nourish myself. To recharge.

Whether it's Ashtanga, Kundalini, Iyengar, Yin (although I believe everyone would most certainly benefit from some yin- it's delicious!!) Whatever it is... find the style for you. If you don't resonate with a certain teacher or venue or style, try another one!

Maybe Yoga for some people is golf, or tennis or running? I truly believe that the more people who practice some form of yoga, the more love and peace there will be in the world. And the benefits are absolutely countless and undisputed.

Hope to see you in a class soon!
My classes are super casual with lot's of variations for everyone. This is my full time job and all I do.
I hope to see you on the mat soon :)

Dominating the Boulders: Paul Barraza

Berkeley Ironworks manager, Paul Barraza has worked with Touchstone Climbing gyms since 2001. Despite long hours making sure one the busiest Bay Area climbing gyms runs smoothly, the 36 year old has managed to crush many difficult boulder problems in the Sierras. Every weekend with an incredible degree of consistency, Paul drives to Yosemite, where he sends projects and develops new boulder problems. His impressive tick list includes Yabo Roof (V12), Shadow Warrior (V12), the immense Diesel Power (v10), and countless other problems. In's 35+ ranking, Paul is number 1 in the United States. In the first few weeks of February, Paul managed to put down a long time project- Dominated a V13 in Yosemite's Camp 4 Boulders. He took a moment out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for the Touchstone Blog about his life and his climbing.

How long have you been climbing for? How did you get into climbing?

I loved to scramble around in the mountains as a kid, but I didn't start climbing until I discovered the climb wall at Oregon State University 17 years ago. After my first trip to that tiny gym, I was hooked. Every weekend my friends and I would go out to Smith Rock and scare ourselves silly on the technical routes there. It was a good place to learn because there were tons of great routes of every grade and you learned to use your feet.

How do you balance a full time job, a family life, and still manage to climb hard?
It's not hard when you like all three! As long as you can climb consistently and train in a semi-scientific way, you can always make progress. Saying that, I have had long stretches where I haven't improved, but you just have to ride those out as well. The nice thing about climbing is that while you might not be improving - you're still having fun!

Can you describe your training a little. How does your periodization schedule work?

Basically I boulder/train two nights during the week and try to boulder 2 days outside on the weekends. During the year I will do an training cycle (where I do intense weight training) in the late summer to get ready for the fall season and a second cycle around this time of year to get ready for the spring season. Since it is too hot to boulder in the summer, I take it easy to rest up the muscles and tendons a bit, but I still climb and hit the gym consistently so I don't lose that base level of fitness.

Dominated [v13] from Paul B on Vimeo.

Here's Paul's ascent of Dominated captured on his iPhone.

How long have you been trying Dominator? What was your process of sending such a difficult project? What's next?

I spent about 5 years working the Dominator when the conditions were good. I joked with friends that I was going to write a book called, "101 ways to fail on the Dominator" because I had tried every conceivable method and nothing ever worked out. There wasn't much to the process besides being psyched and flogging the heck out of it with a delusional level of devotion. I think I just wore down the boulder problem to the point where it felt sorry for me, if that is possible. It did help to watch Tim Doyle and Randy Puro (both of whom have done the Dominator) get on it one day to actually see the subtleties in their beta so I could see what I had to do with my body. What's next? More bouldering of course!

Paul is a member of the highly active Beta Base crew, who have established a slew of Yosemite boulders. Paul has also done some excellent work developing a solid training program, which can be read about at his blog. Training 4 Climbing.

Crosstown Traffic: A TR by Jake Whittaker

A little while ago, last Spring maybe, Yosemite Valley climbers Jake Whittaker and Alex Honnold headed out to try Crosstown Traffic, a 5.13 free route established by the Huber brothers on Washington's Column. Jake, a closet crusher who is the only non-famous person to free climb El Capitan in a single day, wrote this about the route:

Alex dragged me up this thing last spring...I was kinda off the couch(off the farm), so it was extra spanker for me.

I led the first pitch of the Prow, then Alex headed out on the crux pitch which was very wet and grassy. He spent a lot of time throwing hummocks over his shoulder, hanging on gear, and looking over at me and saying, "This is the worst climbing experience of my life...."

I managed to toprope through the 5.12R first half of this pitch and thought it was rad...featured 5.12 face climbing with copperheads for gear. Then I figured out the .13a boulder problem, finished gardening it, and sent it on TR in a couple of tries...its probably a V5. Honnold quickly lapped it on TR too.

I led up the next pitch, J-tree grain for a ways, without much gear, then traversed right to, and across, a slopey and glassy was kinda scary, with the gear way back left in the corner. I clipped a bolt and climbed up into an .11+ move right above the ledge. I tried to clip a piton but it fell out. It was only about a quarter inch long! I chucked it over my shoulder and powered through the move onto a series of stances.

From the highest stance I clipped a knifeblade. I then spent who knows how long climbing up and down the next fifteen feet, fiddlin in a few pieces of terrible gear and getting really pumped...I was starting to regret my lack of fitness.

After much whining and more up-down action I committed to the crux .12a mantel move in full savage survival mode. I pushed, I pressed, and I went for the high-step to finish. Instead of getting my foot on the shelf, I pasted my knee in desperation, quivering. Then, in full beached-whale position, I slid off into space, wondering if I'd die.

Ping, ping, ping! The pieces I'd placed popped out of the flake with ease. My feet hit the stance by the knifeblade and I tipped backwards, wondering when I was gonna smack the big ledge. Then, the knifeblade caught, I slowed, floated past the right end of the ledge, and stopped. My death scream slowly dwindled away and echoed across the valley. I looked UP at Alex, and said, "You wanna give it a go? I think I might be blown...for the week."

We switched rope ends and he toproped up to the knifeblade. He then repeated the numerous up and downs on the flake, but skipped repeating my gear placements...though I wondered if those pieces had helped steer me right, ensuring I missed the ledge. Finally he committed to the mantel shelf, but instead of hittin it straight on, he traversed left, cripped somethin, and mantled on that side. I looked away and held the rope.

"Gosh, that was scary...wait, what the f*#k?" After performing the crux mantel Alex stood on the shelf at a huge no hands, on a pitch that seemed to be a free variation to the aid line of Electric Ladyland. There, where any normal person would have proudly hand drilled a bolt, Alex Huber apparently decided to place a copperhead. Honnold clipped it, then, after some excavation, managed to get in a marginal TCU behind the ledge...where a lost arrow would've been bomber.

After much wondering and contemplation about the next move, Alex JUMPED upwards and caught a small bucket with both hands and climbed another 20 feet of choss to the anchor! Who knows what would've happened if he hadn't stuck that bucket, or if something had broke.

Note that the climber in this photo is nailing 5.10 fingers. Nailing on free climbs is fucked up!

Since I was a worthless pile of sh#t by this point, Alex dogged up the next pitch, a rad .12b with bread loaf pinches and spicy gear. He sent it second try and then onsighted the next two pitches of 5.12. I started to recover eventually, and managed to onsight the .12c flare on TR...the flare is 5.9 and the fingers in the corner afterwords is maybe .12a. After that we were both tired and it was late in the day, so we rapped before the traverse.

Back on the ground Alex said, "So are we gonna send tomorrow?" I said, "I guess YOU are...." I wondered...who goes up on grade V 5.13, which we now knew should include an "R" in the rating, kinda gets spanked, and decides that the next day would be the best time to attempt the redpoint? I spent the rest of the evening trying to decide if should take jumars...I finally decided not to. For training, I'd power toprope with the pack.

Since it was easy, I again led the first pitch of the Prow, but unexpectedly tore off a microwave sized block, took another huge and dangerous whipper, and let out another blood-curdling scream.

Alex patiently redpointed the crux, and I sent on TR. He repeated the scary mantel pitch, again we marveled at the ridiculous engineering...a couple more pitons would make it a lot safer. We established a good rhythm and Alex floated the rest of the route, though, unlike on the topo, we traversed straight right all the way to the belay just after the Harding Slot. We toiled up the rest of Astroman, and as we did the last pitch, Alex said, "I can't believe I scrambled this." He soloed it again a couple days later.

In conclusion, Crosstown Traffic is a funky, grainy, chossy, runnout, but completely rad new-school route. I still need to go redpoint, but wanna add some more pins to that one pitch. With a lot of traffic it could someday be kinda good. Its like what I imagined free climbing A4 would be like when I was a kid...and i enjoyed toproping most of it. A solid big wall partner is required because of the traverses.

additional notes by Jake Whittaker:
We traversed as per Crosstown Traffic, but at the last bolt Alex decided to continue traversing the obvious dyke feature, on toprope, as opposed to busting blank looking .12 moves into runout terrain. We couldn't tell where we were "supposed" to go till afterwards. So technically we didn't complete Huber's route. The way we went just seemed like the natural way and was super fun and safe bucket traversing. I left the bolt clipped and pulled the rope afterwards.

The initial traversing part of this pitch presents some difficulties for a follower unable to free climb and too impatient to lower out, aka: me with a pack on. I elected to unclip and run, which nearly exploded my tight fitting performance shoes. Apparently my eyes got really wide. Alex was laughing hysterically and said I looked like an owl...hoo! Coulda got real hurt numerous times on this route....

Notes: made by Eric Sloan

Very minor comment on Jake's awesome story: Alex Huber probably didn't place the copperhead on the 4th(the Hubers show the first pitch of the Prow as two pitches, odd because of the long, hard pitches on the rest of the route) pitch, as Endangered Species, which Crosstown follows on pitch 3,4 & 9 was put up in January just 4 months before Alex did his climb. (it's possible that that 4th pitch crux had some fixed pins, which someone doing EL lowered down fifteen feet and cleaned or cleaned while bailing from there). So the second pitch hummocks that J describes Alex cleaning might have been more cleaned out, and there may have been an extra fixed piece here or there which fell out or was removed before Alex and Jake did their climb(Jake describes leaving the traverse bolt on pitch 8 clipped. when we climbed EL in '07 there was a quickdraw on that bolt, which I easily reached over and cleaned from the EL pitch).

Jake Whittaker comments:

So the .12a mantle pitch is part of Endangered Species? That would explain the lack of a bolt. I'm guessing Huber had a pin behind the shelf, since it looks like that on the topo, that would be real nice to have in there. Who knows though, that guy's crazy. Honnold wasn't worried enough to do anything about it. Another knifeblade right next to the other one would be awesome too, especially as the years go by.

It sounds like you cleaned a quickdraw from the first bolt of the traverse...probably where Huber's jug monkey lowered out. I left the second bolt clipped and we went down then right at .11a-ish instead of right and up at .12c.

It definitely didn't seem like anyone had free climbed up there in a long time...and its probably already re-vegetating.

It makes it scary to repeat these routes when the crucial pro is pitons etc. that aid climbers can easily booty as they go past...not really any solution though, other than taking pins and a hammer and dealing...or being less safe.

Ok aspiring hardmen, get out there and buff this thing till it's as clean as Astroman!

Further comments and the original post can be found on Supertopo.