Thursday, January 24, 2008

2007 recap

The 2006-7 Boulder winter was particularly brutal, even for the seasoned locals. Despite the four feet of lingering snow in town, the resorts were bare. After 1.5 years away from the Bay Area I was starting to miss ethnic food, the big city clubs, and E Sierra granite. It didn't help that I was spending extended periods of time out at our company's HQ in sunny S CA for my software implementation project. Thanks largely in part to Tricia I found out that our mutual friend, Dave, had an open project manager position at HQ. Within a month I had secured a position and started packing up my stuff.

As a last hurrah to CO I threw a benefit for Boulder County AIDS Project. Thanks to friends (especially DJ Ajay, a
man with impeccable musical taste) and a large number of talented and dedicated BCAP volunteers we pulled it off and raised $500.

Once out in CA Dave put me on the "rope gun development program", which I desperately needed given my extended sport climbing hiatus. Unfortunately, I had left my regular alpine climbing partner, Erick, back in Boulder. I lucked out and got a last minute invitation from another summitposter, Miguel, to climb the E Buttress of Mt Whitney. Miguel would turn out to be an entertaining and motivated climbing partner and we would tick off a number of routes, including the N Arete of Lone Pine Peak, a link-up of the N and W Ridges of Mt Conness, and a car-to-car traverse of the Palisades from Thunderbolt Peak to Mt Sill (trip report), mostly soloing. Deron joined us on several trips. Due to my chronic TFL tendinitis (and pending labral tear surgery) I had stopped racing ultras and reduced my trail mileage from last years peak of 75 miles a week down to somewhere around 15. Amazingly, I pulled off one of my best alpine climbing seasons to date (list).

At the end of August I headed off on my motorcycle to Burning Man. I decided that after having volunteered at the industrial and fine arts non-profit, the Crucible, for several years, and the fact the event wasn't getting any smaller, it was time. The concept of building a complete city from scratch then removing all traces of it within a few weeks was intriguing. I was fortunate to be accompanied by fellow enduro rider, Dan, on way the up at least. We had a somewhat arduous journey, with an overturned gravel truck on Hwy 14 blocking all lanes and weather ranging for 95F heat to 1.5 hours of rain & hail starting at Mammoth. I couldn't help but laugh as we rode through the downpour.

In the end I had mixed feelings about Burning Man. A lot of the art was amazing and the Thunderdome definitely did not disappoint; however, the constant sensory overload (noise, lights, people) became overwhelming. OK, so maybe part of it was the fact I had one alcoholic beverage the whole time and didn't partake in any drug use. At any rate I was floored with the amount of crap that people hauled in (full size beds, propane grills, etc.) especially given the supposedly green theme.

In mid-October I headed back to CO (Vail this time) to go under the knife. I made a pit stop in Boulder for the weekend and hung out with friends and hit the Denver clubs. Unfortunately, the constant drizzle squashed my Flatirons climbing plans. The surgery went by quickly and the post-op was remarkably pain-free. They ended up repairing the labral tear, cutting away bursitis, and loosening up the top of my iliotibial band, all with three 1/2" incisions. The most annoying part was the crutches, and I made it my mission to get rid of them ASAP. I was told not to climb or run for three months (right...).

Huge surprise, by November I was back climbing easy routes. At the end of November I headed to India for a week+ to audit consulting firms for work. The city of Bangalore wasn't overly exciting, but I took a day trip to the hill stations near Tumkur. I was surprised to find huge granite domes surrounded by rolling hills and forests. One of the temples (more like a serious of temples), Shivaganga, was built into the side of one of the domes with every increasingly precipitous steps cut into the rock. Much of the journey to the top was spent chasing of the nasty temple monkeys, but it was worth it for the spectacular views. One the way down I stopped in one of the smaller temples part way down and the priest walked me through the proper temple etiquette, although I admit that I only pretended to drink the holy water.

I tacked on a few extra days and headed to Mumbai, which was much more my style as far as cities go. I found the blend of colonial architecture and Bollywood culture fascinating, and the efficient trains and pedestrian friendly streets were a welcome change from Bangalore where I had to constantly use autorickshaws to get around. The street food was amazing, especially the chaat, pav bhaji, and kulfi stalls. The brief trip barely satisfied my travel bug, and I knew that I had to return soon for an extended tour.

I rounded off the year with a trip to my favorite destination, Bishop. Tricia, Matt, and Wyatt were wonderful hosts, as always. Along with AT, Karen, Janet, the Marks, Masa and Mary, they helped me celebrate my birthday with papadums, Grey Goose, Pama, and some entertaining discourse. A fun time was had by all.

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