Last spring I made the conscious decision to not let the bike rule my year. Meaning, I did not want to focus on racing a road bike and all the time required to train – I wanted to let my year flow, do whatever sounded good at the time, travel to different places, do a little of everything, and especially to get back to what I used to be most passionate about. Climbing.
From 1989 to about 1996 I did little else. It was time spent doing anything but working. Little did I know it was an investment in my future as an athlete, part of the outdoor industry and finally as a professional mountain sport photographer. Time well spent. Later, I mellowed out on the climbing schedule to study photography and figure out exactly what it was I was going to do. Hooking up with Janine established a vision, we committed to being outdoor photographers and once again I was both climbing and shooting climbing.
As our business grew we evolved towards other subjects. But lately, the bug is back, I am ready to climb, or more accurately I am ready to go on a climbing trip. There are few things like it, especially in the States if one knows where to go and how to live; car camping in the Eastern Sierra sage, sleeping beneath the stars on a clear Sierra night, waking up with a wall of granite as your objective. Bliss.
Ahead of us are six weeks cruising the US; our old playground of the Eastern High Sierra, Indian Creek, Yosemite and finishing up at Smith Rock. What makes this trip extra special is the fact that we are doing it all with Italian friends – the first being Alberto De Giuli, who has never been on US soil. To see my own nation through his eyes will be interesting, he has been entertained by me in his home country, now I get to revisit what is so familiar but once again experience the newness of it all.
First up for Alberto: Acclimating to the art of being a dirtbag American climber. It is nearly impossible to be a true dirtbag in Europe. I have tried to tap into my roots but truly, it seems hopeless as I get more and more civilized with each road trip. Just the other night we bivvied in our car at the Tre Cime before climbing, but having eaten lunch that day at a three star hotel followed by dinner at a Michelin Two Star, Brunello buzz and all, this hardly qualified as “dirtbagging” it. As we settled into our car for the night we watched some nearby Germans cooking on their camp stove, Janine posed the question, “I wonder what they’re having for dinner?” At this we roared, but soon we realized that we truly do miss some of the simpler things.
In the coming weeks we hope to share some of what we are up to, check back here for stories, reports and of course loads of photos.