There’s a Blue Moon Rising

December 31, 2009 at 4:49 pm

The Blue Moon

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m screwing around on the computer before we take off for our dinner reservations tonight.

It’s been a great year, better than I expected at the beginning of it all. I wanted to write a “looking back” kind of post, but I’ve run out of time now. I mean, nobody wants to read a post all about 2009 when we’ve all moved on to 2010, right?

So, here’s a quick run-down of some of the highlights from our last year. And here’s to a happy, healthy, wonderful 2010 to all of you!!

A Letter to Myself (When I Started Climbing)

May 8, 2009 at 9:35 am

Hello Young Kate! This is a note from yourself, 8 years from now. You see, I’ve been inspired by some friends to look back at old photos and I’ve noticed some things. I thought you might appreciate a little advice from the future, just to let you know everything works out, though maybe not as you expected.

First trip to a gym - Climbtime Indy.  Totally safe, all gyms use non-lockers and cord for anchors, right? (probably around 9/2000)

I see you decided to buy yourself a harness and pair of new, shiney climbing shoes! Too bad you didn’t believe the guy at the climbing store when he tried to sell you those Mythos. They end up being some of your favorite shoes in the future. But, everybody is new, and your gear will work fine. A note to start out, though. Wearing only a sport bra does NOT make you look nearly as cool as you think it does. Just sayin’.

After wandering through the desert and not finding any climbing. Only our second trip out! (5/02)

Your learning years in the mid-west will be important ones. And believe it or not, the Red River Gorge is actually a great place to climb. Yeah, I know, it’s hot and humid and crowded and you have to thrash through shrubbery to get to the climbs. But, someday, the place will become so popular, your memories will seem positively quaint. Cherish your moments in Kentucky, but know there are bigger and better things out there for you. You’ll move to Colorado. You’ll climb huge routes. You’ll have plenty of adventures. Stop complaining.

Mark leading in Jackson Falls (5/03)

Leading may seem scarey now, but it will get worse. When the inevitable anxiety disorder catches up to you (it’s hereditary, don’t fight it, just understand it), you need to be ready for everything to get harder. So, for now, keep leading, and don’t let others do all of the work. The more you do now, the easier it will be later. Lead more in the gym, lead more outside, and don’t let that silly beginner’s confidence slip away from you.

Finishing up my first outdoor lead, Jacks Canyon (4/03)

You’re falling in love with Mark, and it’s only going to get worse. It may seem extremely unlikely right now, but you will marry him, and it will be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.

Mark leading Curtain Call (10c) - still one of my all-time favorite climbs. Too bad the area is now closed (7/03)

It sounds cheesy, but you will regret the things you don’t do more than the ones you do. Every time you get scared and think you can’t do something, imagine me, 8 years in the future, thinking back to that moment and wondering what amazing person I would have become if I would have kept going. Your best climbs will always be the ones you want to walk away from. You’ll think they’re too hard, or too long, or too unknown. But it always works out, because you and Mark are smart, thoughtful, and capable climbers. These “impossible” climbs will be the most memorable, and often your favorites. I don’t know why it is this way. It just is.

Mark and Kate after climbing Bedtime for Bonzo (5.6). Everything was starting to fall together (7/03)

Cherish the time with your friends, because people wander in and out freely in this world.

And wear more sunscreen, ya idiot.

Future Kate

What’s going on here?

March 11, 2009 at 7:26 am

Thanks to great blogs like Think Buddha, I’ve recently stumbled across the fun little app at While word clouds are nothing particularly new, this site does a fantastic job of simply reading in your most recent rss entries and creating a beautiful piece of word art, concisely showing what it is you seem to be most interested in blabbering on about.


In word clouds, the most common words are the biggest. So, in this blog, I mostly talk about Mark! This seems appropriate. I also use the words “sun,” “roof,” “climb,” and “image” a lot. Must be the trip reports. But right after Mark is “Get.” Hmm. Really? I’ll have to watch that one. Surely there’s better words out there than “get” to use all of the time…

What does your Wordle word cloud look like?

Flow Yoga

February 18, 2009 at 7:19 am

Lighting Channing

My friend and yoga teacher Channing has set up a really nice website at and, I found out after class last night, she has started a series of free podcasts of her hour-long vinyassa flow yoga classes. Her classes are fairly quick-paced and generally good for all levels, though having a good grasp of sun salutations will help you follow these recordings. Channing is one of my all-time favorite yoga teachers because she does such an amazing job of bringing you into the practice by challenging you both physically and mentally. She does a beautiful job of bringing Spirit and deep mediation into an intensely physical practice. I definitely recommend checking these out.

Cam Re-sling

February 12, 2009 at 7:56 am

Reslung Cams

Last summer, there was a really unfortunate climbing accident due to old, worn-out slings on a route in Kentucky. It seems like there are one or two of these each year, and they are so sad because the accidents are preventable. Mark and I took the hint last summer and went through our slings and cordage, retiring the stuff we had been using since we first started climbing (eight years ago)!

We also went over our trad gear, much of which we bought all in one day with work bonuses during our second season of climbing. The cams were all in good shape, but many of the slings on them were not looking good. On a cam, the sling is a single point of possible failure, so it is dangerous to let it wear out too much.

Based on recommendations from BJ at Splitter Choss, we sent 24 cams off to Yates gear for re-slinging about two weeks ago, and got them back on Tuesday! Needless to say, the work was fast and professional. The new slings match the cams nicely, though the one orange TCU had to get a red sling. The price was good too, as getting all 24 cams reslung cost about $130 (less than a new rope!) Pulling the cams out of the box with the new slings was a wonderful treat, like I had just bought a whole new rack. Now, we’re both totally excited to get climbing and see the “new” cams out on the rock!

Mark and I have big plans for our REI dividend this spring, and we’re looking to replace a lot of gear that is showing wear these days (our harnesses have seen better days, the big belay biners have grooves worn in them, my helmet is cracked, etc) and I’m excited to upgrade to new, top-of-the-line safety gear as we do it. Look for more posts on new, shiny stuff this spring!!

Izzy Osbourne

February 5, 2009 at 7:13 am


Our next-door neighbors have the second coolest dog in the world. Izzy, the little rat terrior, is sweet, smart, playful and cute as can be. In the winter, we like to save up dog-watching karma with various friends so we can ask them all to watch Liv at the last minute when we ditch town during the summer. We’ve watched Izzy twice in the last month or so, and I love having her around. She curls up on my lap while I’m working on my photos. She sleeps under the covers curled up under my arms in the bed! I love my huge, fuzzy, Liv-dog, but the Iz-dog really makes you appreciate how wonderful toy dogs can be too.

And this photo is inspired by the beautiful work of Emily Setzer. Check out her stuff!

Not as bad as I thought

February 4, 2009 at 7:05 am

A few hours of tinkering last night and the website is in pretty good shape! I discovered that the new wordpress theme I love so much has heavy, heavy use of stylesheets. I know these are useful things, and good for abstracting your code, but I think this is just over the top:

Nobody should have to enclose their photo gallery code in five different “div” levels, and behind one dummy “div.” Yep, that list containing only a space is entirely necessary to make everything work. Lovely.

I still have some work to do, like adding in a link to the map on posts with geotags, and putting the “nights outside” graphs back in. But all in all, it took a lot less time to make it work than I thought it would, and I like it. And it’s fun to redecorate every now and then!

Also, Mark wanted me to post the story of his encounter with the Mangoes and the Monkey Peeler. (Imagine the sound of guitar floating out of the website and Bob Dylan singing “Mangoes and the Monkey Peeler were hard up for cash. They stayed up all night selling cocaine and hash…”)

Mark's injury

On our hike out from North Table Mountain last weekend, the two guys walking infront of me were discussing the most wonderful sounding foods they were preparing for their superbowl parties. One guy was exceptionally creative and mentioned his world-famous mango chutney. Yuuuum. So, Mark and I bought some mangoes, a pinapple, some peppers and set about making a chutney. While peeling the mangoes with his new, awesome, monkey peeler (a Christmas present from my very cool brothers), the mango got away from Mark and he took the top off of his finger nail.

I finished up the chutney, which turned out great, and we served it in big piles over spicy grilled fish. Mark has kept his finger carefully wrapped and covered in anti-biotic cream, complaining about how this terrible injury is going to ruin our early climbing season.

I guess I’ll go to Florida and get myself some sun
There ain’t no more opportunity here, everything’s been done
Sometime I think of Mangoes, sometimes the fruit dealer
Sometime I don’t think about nothing but the Monkey Peeler

Enjoying the Journey

December 31, 2008 at 2:41 pm

New Year's Eve

This year has been one for the books. Everybody is writing their sum-ups and introspections these days, and I’ve been thinking about this for a while too. Mark and I talked about what this post should say while driving across Nebraska last weekend, and I think I may have waited too long to write it.

The basic gist of the idea is that, this year, Mark and I learned that we need to let go a bit. We were very goal-oriented in our climbing this year, and in our lives. We both felt like we spent way too much time and energy on plans that fell apart at the last minute, or goals that we didn’t accomplish. We both realized, while journeying home, that we are happiest when we’re not obsessing about the outcome, but simply enjoying the ride.

Our best climbing days were unplanned. We woke up, got to the trailhead, and then walked up to a climb and decided to give it a try. The days when we attempted big ticks (Mainliner or The Petite Grepon) the plan tended to fall apart, with harsh consequences on our egos and psyches.

So, for 2009 you won’t see any plans, or tick lists on ColoCalders. You won’t see training schedules, or apex trips. Our only goal is to accept life as it comes by us, and enjoy it for what we have, not what we want.