Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Warmer than last time...

by Ben

You know those nice warm January days? You know, like the 65 degree, sunny, windless days when you can wear a t-shirt and shorts, and you actually try and stay in the shade because the sun is too warm? No. I didn't know about those either, until this past Sunday. I got another chance to head out for some nice winter bouldering with my friend Aaron and some other folks he knew. It was absolutely gorgeous out, good sending weather. Good thing, because Aaron wanted to send Mongolian Cosmonaut, a V8 problem that he has been working on. Edit: Turns out this boulder problem is now consensus graded at V9, according to Mountain Project.

We bounced around for a little, getting warmed up and playing on some other stuff. Then we moved on to Mongolian Cosmonaut while Aaron was still fresh. The problems starts very steep and hanging from a pretty slopey hold. Then you fire the right hand up to a small pebble, bump it up to another slightly better pebble, bump up one more time before you can bring your left hand over to one of the pebbles and start moving up the boulder. It's very awkward and involves a lot of tough moves before you can get solid enough to start upwards. Aaron was having trouble getting his feet to stick under the boulder, while he lunged for the pebbles.

After some body position adjustments, he was sticking the next move and looking pretty good, but it's wasn't happening and there was one more problem to be dealt with. Diagnosis: His shirt was too heavy.

With that solved, it was sending time.

Here are the rest of the photos.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Keep the Christmas coming!

by Ben

Here comes more Christmas pictures! Our plan for Christmas morning involved getting into the airport at 1 am, going to my parents house to sleep, having Christmas morning with my family whenever my nephews wake up (6 am), then heading over to see Genny's family once it start winding down at my house (9 am). It was a great plan until the numbers inside the parenthesis became reality. So, we got over the Genny's house and spent the rest of the morning with her family. In the afternoon is when her whole bigger family gets together at the house across the street and has a good time and some dinner. It was really great to see everyone again, the shrimp sauce was amazing, and dinner was delightful. It was also a great opportunity to practice some indoor lighting techniques that I wanted to mess around with in a safe environment. Here are the highlights!

Here's the rest of the pictures!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I'm thankful for...

by genny

blue gels and flashy flashes

my husband who made dinner tonight and did the dishes too

an apartment to call home while i'm 1,861 miles west of the real home

the many many people east of here who i love and miss. there's space for you here with us. look! see that space for you in the picture?


i'm thankful for our new blue primaloft jackets

that fit perfectly!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Remembering Lygon Stevens.

Last August I had the opportunity to climb Longs Peak with a large group of people I had never met before. Not my usual style, I prefer to know my climbing partners. But this was a special case. For starters, I had only been in Colorado for 1 week and didn't know anyone besides my wife and a few others. The real reason was that I had gotten plugged into an organization called Climbers For Christ while I was in CT, and though it wasn't very active in CT, it is much more active here. So I caught wind that they were doing a climb of Longs Peak the weekend after I got back from my honeymoon, and this climb was to be in memory of a girl named Lygon Stevens. Count me in.

Time for the back story. Once I knew I was moving to Colorado a year or two ago, I started spending lots of time on 14ers.com trying to soak up and learn everything I could about the glorious mountains I would soon call home. One day I came across a thread about a young girl who had been caught in an avalanche on Little Bear mountain, which is one of the 56 mountains in Colorado over 14,000 ft. Within the post about Lygon was a link to another forum on the Climbing for Christ webpage, which I had never visited or even heard of. I followed the link to find out more, and not only found what I knew I was looking for, but also found what I didn't know I was looking for. A community of Christian climbers. When I barely even knew who she was, Lygon had already made a difference in my life. I had made a post on the Climbing For Christ webpage and then eventually fell out of touch with the situation. That is until I got back from my Honeymoon on a wednesday night, went online, and found out that there was a memorial climb on that saturday. I contacted Nick Stevens, who was the event coordinator and is the father of Lygon, and told him that I would love to come along to hike and also document the day with my camera. He said it would be great to have me along, and that was that.

Longs Peak is a looong day (hence the name?), and you need to start the mountain around 2-3am in order to beat the afternoon thunderstorms. So what do I do, I show up 45 minutes late and miss the group start. Now I'm hiking in the dark, as fast as I can can, trying to catch up to a group of people I've never met before. This was terribly unsuccessful, since I hiked right by almost the entire group. I got to a wide open area called the boulderfield, which is a good resting stop. By now it was slightly daytime, and you could actually see people. There were quite a few groups taking breaks, so I made my circuit, trying to figure which one I belonged to. Finally I saw a hat that said "C4C"... Bingo! Introductions were made, we rested and chatted while the group grew with new arrivals. As we set off on the upper half of the mountain, the altitude started kicking in. Soon all the people whom I had passed on the way up were passing me. Suddenly the pictures went from peoples faces to their backs. Getting to the top sure was a struggle, but it was certainly worth it. On the top the whole group slowly congregated for the first time since the start I had missed.

During the whole course of the day, I slowly got to know a family who had suffered a terrible loss, but was somehow still filled with an abounding joy for life and a love for God. It was a great day that I won't forget, and I came home with some pictures I really liked. This post was spurred by an email I received from Nick, which contained a hyperlink. The Denver Channel 7 had just run a story on Lygon and the book her family had compiled of her excellent journal writings.

Here is the news story on Lygon. It is certainly worth checking out.

Here is the gallery containing the rest of the pictures from the Climb.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Holy Christmas, Batman!

Get ready for 1 million pictures in the next few blogs. Being home in Connecticut from Christmas time was really great. Genny and I have tons to post about, but for now I'l just throw up few pics.

My nephew Carson.

My Nephew Ryley.

My Mom.

My Dad and Brother.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Time to play catch up.

It's been a while since the last post, so ignore the post date. I'm gonna go back in time a bit. After the very pleasant day of bouldering, the next day was absolutely frigid. So Genny and I decided it was an excellent day to stay inside and make cookies. We had a Christmas party to go to that night, so we thought we would show up in style... with cookies!

Genny ws excited to finally get to use her Pampered Chef cookie gun. I was dubious when she pulls this thing out, but let me tell you how totally sweet it is. Press it to the pan, pull the trigger, pick it up, repeat. Perfect cookie after perfect cookie. Unfortunately, now that I'm blogging about that, everyone will know that we're not master pastry chefs. Below, Genny writes my name in cookie dough, which was badly burned in the oven due to it's small size. Apparently we are no good without the cookie gun.

It was a great day and the cookies were delicious. The highlight of the day was my brilliant decision to put peanut butter cups on the PB blossoms instead of regular old hersey kisses. They were a hit at the Christmas party, although, Genny says she still prefers the regular old kisses. Best of all, we used this picture of us and our cookies for our Christmas card! Merry Late Christmas everyone!