Wednesday, January 12, 2011

No. 7 - 2011 - A Look Ahead

- by Bill Urbanski

     Last Sunday, I took advantage of a crisp January morning to ice climb at the Rock Cut along State Route 309 near Dallas, PA.  This is a gem of a spot for ice climbing, especially around these parts.  It is so easily accessible – ten minute drive from my house, parking just off the highway, and a short three-minute scramble approach leading to an 80-foot wall.
Ice Climbing at the Rock Cut

Friends from my local climbing gym were already there and had just finished setting up top rope anchors when Patrick and I arrived.  We dropped packs and donned crampons while Mike, Jim and Daphne played on the lines they had just set.

Patrick and I jumped in and we all took turns running variations on the two routes for the next several hours.  It was a good bit of clean winter fun.

I am new to ice climbing, and so Sunday complicated things a bit for me – at least for the next few months while shimmering shafts of ice still decorate walls such as those found at the Rock Cut.  Ice climbing ads yet another activity to an already ambitious and over-crowded adventure schedule for the coming year.

I set the bar pretty high for myself last year, visiting twenty US states and the District of Columbia, and climbing in such exotic locales as Denali, Joshua Tree, New River Gorge, The Gunks, and Devils Tower, Wyoming.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to top 2010 for quantity and quality of adventure.  But I sure am going to try.

Aside from ice climbing, I’m back at it indoors too, honing muscle and technique at the Wilkes-Barre Climbing Gym.  I’ve also resumed in earnest my running schedule.  With so much time last year spent climbing I neglected running, and for the first time in five years, my yearly mileage total dropped below 1000.  I will not allow that to happen in 2011.  2010 also marked the first year I did not run at least one marathon since 2004.  Again, not gonna happen in 2011.

I expect to add a half this year as well.  The Lehigh Valley Half Marathon in May looks inviting.  It’s a race I’ve been interested in running for some time, but it always seemed to conflict with the Boston Marathon.  This year, with Boston out, Lehigh will be in.

The Grand Teton
My top mountaineering objective for 2011 is the Grand Teton in Wyoming.  A successful summit will allow me to complete the Wyoming Triple Crown, which includes the Grand, Devils Tower and 13,804 foot Gannett Peak.

Gannett Peak from Bonney Pass after summiting in 2007
While I still haven’t worked out the details with my climbing partners, I may very well end up returning for a fourth run at Gannett and a second shot at the Tower.  I may try to hit a Colorado 14er or do some climbing in Moab or Yosemite – so much to climb, so many choices, so little time. 

From July 14th through the 16th, my good friend Stony Burk and I play host to the Highpointer Club’s annual convention which will be held in Bellefontaine, Ohio – more on that in a future post.

Then there are all the other usual suspects that eat up time – farm work, house work and work work.  Maple syrup season is right around the corner; new vines have been ordered for the vineyard, and of course there’s the tending to all the other regular crops.  Oh yeah, and there’s that climbing wall / fireplace chimney project.  I suspect much of the soreness I can expect to endure this coming year will have as much to do with stone masonry as it will with climbing.

I’m excited at the prospects for the coming year.  Aside from the planned ones, there will certainly be as many if not more unplanned adventures ahead, ones I haven’t even considered.  Life never fails to surprise, presenting new opportunities, new experiences, and new adventures.

I wish everyone a happy, healthy and productive 2011. Stay strong, stay active and be ready to take it all on, no matter what comes your way.

1 comment:

  1. Running the Wyoming Triple Crown in one trip is an ambitious prospect, but I think we are more than capable. Also, I think I may run that half marathon with you.