Owltoberfest 2015 almost didn't happen.The night before, rains made the road impassable. I notified everyone I could about the situation; but, undeterred, I drove up Saturday morning, as planned, and by the time I got there, the river was significantly reduced. There's no cell service at the Owl Tor, but I learned that if you drive east on highway 166 past the usual turnout about 3 miles, there is a spot with very good cell reception. So I went there and notified everyone I could that the event was back on. Still, this significantly affected turnout.
The weather turned out to be perfect. Day 1 was at the Owl Tor and Natalie Mims got the event started off right by redpointing her project, Auto-Magic (5.12a) and earning herself the Lord of the Forest title. There were some solid sends on Sunday at the Tor – but this event has rules and Sunday was the day we climb at Mr. Lee's – so, nice work, but no LOTF title for you. This was the first, and probably the last, year that I pulled together some prizes for the LOTF. Many thanks to all of our sponsors:
Maxim RopesI've climbed for over 30 years, and I've never thought much about what rope I buy. I always just bought the cheapest one I could find. But after using the Maxim rope that Natalie won, I can definitely tell a difference and plan on buying Maxim going forward; I was truly blown away by what a great rope it is.
Kilter Climbing Grips
Santa Barbara Rock Gym
The Pad Santa Maria
Here's Natalie redpointing and with her prizes: a Maxim 9.5mm x 160' rope, certificate for a harness from Misty Mountain, holds from Kilter, climbing videos from Inertia, chalk from FrictionLabs, day pass to The Pad in Santa Maria, and a DVD of Take it to the Limit.
The second set of prizes went to the person did the most community service for the event: Luke Anderson. Luke worked tirelessly both days taking photos. Luke won a Maxim 9.9mm x 160' rope, climbing videos from Inertia, chalk from FrictionLabs, day pass to The Pad in Santa Maria, and a DVD of Take it to the Limit.
Here are 17 that he picked out and below are a few of my favorites.
|Erik Holstad on Chips Ahoy (5.12d)|
|Andree Areno on The Old Pro Skill (5.12d)|
|Pablo Hammack on Sea of Love (5.12b)|
As I mentioned, 2016 sucks...
On February 24th, I learned that Scott Cosgrove past away on the 23rd. Scott was always an inspiration to me. From the easiest way to downclimb a cliff in Joshua Tree to projecting a hard sport climb, Scott was always happy to give me advice. His accomplishments are many, and you should already know about them, so I'm not going to list them here. I'm really hoping that someone tries for the second ascent of G-String someday. There was a service in Joshua Tree and it was good catching up with many old friends.
The next day, February 25th, Lisa called to tell me that Steve lost his battle with mantle cell lymphoma. I met Steve in 1990 or 1991 when I was finishing up at UCSB. We did a lot of climbing, put up many routes, drank all the coffee, and watched a ton of movies; we might have had a drink or two. Our current project – a choss pile near his house in Salt Lake – is now my job to finish. Shit.
On September 17th, about 15 of us got together to attempt the Grandeur 10 and scatter Steve's ashes. The Grandeur 10 was Steve's wish for a funeral. It involved hiking the Grandeur 10 Trail while hitting 10 crags along the way and doing a climb at each crag. Bob Banks warned me that it would be "fucking hard." So I knew I was in trouble: I'm not a hiker and Bob chews up aerobic stuff. Plus, I had hernia surgery 20 days prior.
The last movie I recommended to Steve was "Bill Cunningham New York" and his reaction to it was classic Steve. Fashion, of course, held no interest to Steve; but passion did. Bill Cunningham was a man of passion. Steve was so psyched that he emailed me during the movie, which was rare. Here's the email chain on 1/23/2016:
|Me @ 10:11 am:||Bill Cunningham is the Jiro Dreams of Sushi but for fashion. A must watch.|
|Steve @ 10:20 am:||Watching now. RAD!|
|Me @ 10:28 am:||So much good stuff in that movie! The bit about his clothes is great, as are his thoughts on money.|
|Steve @ 10:40 am:||It's really fantastic. I love people like this.|
|Steve @ 11:46 am:||"please, he is the most important person on earth." [quoting the movie]|
|Jade's cave in Santa Barbara circa 1991|
below: Scoping the future at the Owl Tor
Finally, here's a song we played a lot back in the Shop days, it's from "Straight to Hell."
Together, Bob and I have seen and read just about everything about Ali. Bob suggested The Firing Line. "With William F. Buckley?," I replied somewhat confused. Yep. If you're under 40, I doubt you've ever heard of it. My parents watched it when I was growing up and I always remember my mom saying "I don't agree with anything he says, but he's very intelligent." This type of intelligent discourse is sorely lacking in today's media. What makes this even better is that in Ali: The Whole Story they interview Buckley and he says (paraphrasing): "...in the end I thought he [Ali] was absolutely right."
This year's Owltoberfest is October 15th & 16th; Saturday will be at Mr. Lee's and Sunday at the Owl Tor. I haven't been able to get any new routes up; but Micah completed The Tower of the Damned (11d?) on the Doom wall. The road was graded recently, so getting to the Owl Tor is easy. I hope to see you there!
One terrific thing did happen this year: I got engaged.