today i resurrected the Burn All Maps tour for the 2006 season.

it came to me as i awoke on the living room couch, unable to, and uninterested in understanding why i came home as late as i did, but then promptly decided to eat 3 burritos at 3am while ADHDing between waterworld and blade II on the tele. still, all things considered, it was a great morning because warren miller's cold fusion was available through comcast (rock), and dag gum that was a great way to spark this morning. i put some good medicine up in me while watching glen plake (fucking glen plake!) shred up BC, and then i, oh clever i, dropped in chris sharma's rampage which pretty much added the extra length and girth to the giant psychic boner any decent, warm-blooded, beer-swilling young man would sport from such stimulation.

it was then that i decided to resurrect the Burn All Maps tour.

also in honor of Kodiak's silver anniversary, and in homage to Pete's absence from the board meetings (read: drinking OE and then pissing it back into the empty bottles), did i do this thing on what will no doubt be this historic day. it came to me in perfect clarity, like a divine thought seeded by some mischievous god... i was going to try and get myself killed, but if i lived... oh if i lived, dear readers, this would be a day to remember.

packing list for today's excursion (in strict order of importance):
1) 1 tin fresh Kodiak wintergreen
2) the Pixies entire discograpy (possible substitutions: James Taylor, Del tha Funkee Homosapien, RHCP, Mos Def, Reverend Horton Heat, etc.)
3) 3 nutrigrain bars (blueberry)
4) 1 blue (blue goddamnit!) nalgene bottle, w/ 1L california tap water
5) 1 Petzl Calidris harness (easy on the crotch and stylish, too!)
6) ~100 ft. climbing rope (retired... nice work there, slapshot)
7) 1 brand, spanking, lick-me-shiny, new Petzl grigri belay device ($79.95 at your friendly REI outfitter)
8) webbing and.... um... safety anchors... and shit like that.... whatev...
9) the 7th edition of Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills (holy text) for ready-reference

oh, and burn all fucking maps. get behind thee, satan!

packing was a piece of piss, since i happen to have all these things at the ready for just such an occasion. ho ho!

i played a little game some of you might know as 'follow the greens' on the drive to my as-yet-unknown destination (should you be unfamiliar with this game, get in your car, and follow the green lights until you arrive at something sweet... like the la brea tar pits). this will ensure you will find something you weren't looking for which, in reality, is the very definition of adventure! hoo-ray!

after driving for about an hour through pounding rain, i finally found what i was looking for. i parked my car and took a good, long look at the distance separating me and the most perfect spire of chippy, fine-grained sierra nevada granite batholith i could have hoped for. off i set for my destination on the lightest of feet, and after about 2 good miles of truckin' i made it to the western face of my rock compadre.

hola! i cried to my gargantuan friend (she just stood there quietly). keep in mind my AdventurEction had not subsided, and i was anxious to climb atop this wild bitch and show her a few tricks i learned in summer camp. oh, but i didn't just jump right into the red meat... i ran my hungry eyes over each curve of her spine, memorizing each dip and rise of the soft, marbled stone as it swirled provocatively before me, aching to be touched, to be held, to be slapped with a wicked sloper so hard the chalk sprayed from my fingers and left imprints on the rock. oh yea... this tower wanted to be climbed. she wanted to be climbed oh so bad...

i scrambled up the west face because it was shallow and exposed to the wind, and i was no mood to be climbing in the wind and rain (which, according to the national weather service was ~1.8cm today... nothing like clinging to wet rock to save your life... best to climb the east face). when i reached the top, sweating and panting from the effort, i was rewarded with one of the most spectacular views i have seen in my short, but wicked awesome, lifetime. i won't go into details here because, frankly, i'd fuck it up and wouldn't do it justice, but i knew in my heart i'd be up here again, if only to collect my gear, so i wasted no time in setting my three anchor points and headed back for the 'please remove your dumb ass from the gene pool' moment that was about to transpire. because, dear readers, i have neither the experience, nor the skill to be climbing unknown pitches by myself. but, well... fuck it. there i was, right? right?!

as soon as i put my hands on the rock, i remembered i hadn't climbed in about a year.

so then, goes the first ascent.

i said a quick prayer to the rock gods to keep me safe (and to keep any motherfucking treasonous hold from giving way beneath my flailing arms), went through the rituals i'd been trained to execute (on belay? motherfucker you know you're on belay. you are the motherfucking belay!), and climbed on. at first i was uncomfortable with the rain slicking up all my holds, but when i put my hands on the rock i felt the soft/sticky moss whispering to me, 'don't worry, pilgrim, we'll keep you safe,' and yea, verily, it did! oh yes, i got the sewing-machine legs, and oh yes did i get the pump-y forearms, but i climbed that be-hyotch! and when i awkwardly swung my legs up the 'summit,' i was the master of the goddamn universe. i stood above all the valley below and for one, tiny moment, i really was the king. hoo-yea.

it wasn't the most difficult pitch i'd ever climbed, but upon quiet reflection, i decided to rate it 5.holy-fucking-shit-i-just-solo-flashed-this-pitch!!! which i think might stand for subsequent ascents.

i reset my anchor points and climbed two more routes before naming my pitch 'You Fucking Die! I Said' after the same-titled and
hilarious pixies song that i had been listening to before leaving the warm womb of my cherry chariot. after my third climb, the rain subsided and the sun peaked out from under the protection of the misty horizon, and the thunderheads drifted east in great anvil migrations into the night. what more could anyone want in this life?

on the drive home, i stopped and bought three pounds of garlic and two pounds of dried chilies for $4.95, a blackberry pie, and two delicately frostbitten artichokes from a farmer's market on the way back. yes, i said it. i bought pie, which, according to the charter, makes this a certified, gut-shot, snake-bit, bona fide, motherfucking authentic beginning to the 2006 BAM tour.

sleep tight, skip, you sly motherfucker. these skinned knuckes, blistered feet, calloused fingers, and sore knees are the reason why we keep doing this shit year in and year out.

...great fucking day ... great fucking day...

ps. how am i still alive?... will wonders never cease...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You sound like some kind of californian hiking superman.Can I see your tights?