With two fingers jammed in a fissure, my feet pasted on little nubs and I smiled as I placed a stopper the size of a skittle (yes, I’m always thinking about skittles) into an old pin-scar. As the bright sun warmed my frozen cheeks, I couldn’t keep from smirking. This place was amazing, tall, and inviting.
It’s amazing how experiences can shape your perceptions, while the surrounding landscape, cliffs, and forests change as you experience the world through a new lens. These past years I have been able to revisit landscapes that I cherish. Amazingly, these places are not the same. For the most part it is not the landscapes that have changed, but the filters through which I view them. Much like a map, overlaid with various layers of velum, each explaining different features, topography, and perspectives, my friends and outdoor experiences have drastically shaped the way I view my environment. New layers on old, providing more depth and understanding.
Exactly one year ago, I climbed Moore’s wall for my first time. It was a frustrating/defeating experience. I’ve was used to climbing trad in Utah, where a 5.10 feels like a 5.10, and you have a clean crack system to follow. Moore’s is the exact opposite – an old-school trad haven where fixed protection is non-existent. I’m not kidding when I say there is a 5.7 with a 5 ft. roof. When you top-out a route, be prepared to start a treasure hunt for some slung chockstones, a solid tree, or any random semi-safe way to get down the wall. After a day climbing moderates here, my ego took a major hit. I was struggling up what should have been warm ups.
Returning from this past visit, exactly one year later, Moore’s salient features are not the run-outs, bad protection, and sandbagged routes, but the amazingly beautiful 300ft. quartzite wall. Moore’s has the greatest bulletproof quartzite I have ever touched. Meandering fractures and weaknesses flow up its 300 ft. face. Learning how to exploit these fractures and place good gear, although tricky, is extremely rewarding.
This past trip to Moore’s stands in direct contradiction to my previous experience. We all climbed hard and did not worry about the gear we placed. The only way to reconcile the paradox between my previous Moore’s experience and this one, is that my experiences in this past year enabled me to see Moore’s with a new layer of velum. This new lens helped me see a totally different wall, one which was protectable, fun, beautiful, and a lot less intimidating than before. Nelson, Jordan and I, climbed some amazing routes, including the ultra classics Quaker State and Zoo View.
On a personal note, I’m doing well. I absolutely love school. I can’t believe I’m almost halfway done. Kate and I will be heading back to SLC this summer. I’ll be working for an awesome firm called Nadessan Beck. They work in a lot of different areas of law, but what attracted me to this firm was the fact that Mike Beck, one of the partners and founders, is an amazing climber himself. The firm has an awesome reputation for solid work, while allowing their attorneys to have an amazing work-life balance. Although I’ve always been interested in Environmental Law, I’m excited to check out the world of Sports Law as this firm represents such climbing heroes as Chris Sharma and Dean Potter. Hopefully I can use the time I spent snowboarding, my legal education, and my passion for people, to help out some of my buddies that are killing it on snowboards.