Shinobe: rock art, climbing and Beaver

We tried to leave the snow behind but it insisted on following close behind. We fled further south to a little known area called the Parowan Gap where an incredible array of rock art can be found but more on that later.

En route we were forced to bivy for the night at horrific truck stop in Beaver, UT. I know my restroom diatribes resemble the beating of a deceased horse, but I couldnt make this stuff up if I tried. And I can assure you, having written four blogs plus photos in two days, I have little desire to ‘try’.

So we parked in the back, out of sight of the filthy clientele of this establishment and both of us being in need of some “freshening up” before crashing out for the evening, we headed in to the truck stop to seek out their bathrooms, which were located behind tasteful display racks of “I love Beaver” memorabilia.

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Bouldering in Joes Valley: why Utah is the best state to live in

As many of you know, Stefanie and I have been batting around the idea of moving to Utah. The first question from anyone who doesn’t climb is invariably something along the lines of:’Why would you want to move there? What is there anyhow?’ The answer we found may surprise you but Utah is the best state to live in if being active outside is a priority for you!

After our foray into the Winds, we packed up the car in deteriorating conditions and cold and wet we made the drive out into Pinedale. We had wanted to spend some time climbing in Idaho but the weather system that was poised to hammer Wyoming was still active to the west in Idaho. The only reliable option to beat the cold and snow was to head down into Utah.

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Hiking in the wind river range: Green River Lakes and Squaretop Mt

From the joys and comforts of Devils Tower Lodge we headed west and then south to the climber friendly haven of Lander Wyoming for some hiking in the Wind River Range. We were hoping to find some reprieve from the cold and windy weather while pulling on the limestone pockets of nearby Sinks Canyon. On our last foray through central WY we opted for Wild Iris, the higher elevation cousin which sits at a cool 9000 some odd feet above sea level, perfect for summer outings. Sinks is around 5000 feet and we hoped it would provide us with some convenient climbing.

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Devils Tower: Sacred to Many

Devil’s Tower is the columnar volcanic monolith rising out of the plains that most people would recognize but few would be able to place it in the very northeastern corner of Wyoming—near Hulett to be exact—without a bit of research. Since we stopped at the tower last summer on our way through, we had a chance to do that all important research. I concluded that maybe in a few years I would be ready to climb it and Stefanie told me that I had better look elsewhere for a partner because she would have none of it. Ever.

Stefanie attempting to position Capt Silverhawk for a photo-op in the middle of the highway.

Wyoming: you’ve never seen so much nothing.

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Custer State Park: Climbing in the Needles

As I mentioned in the previous post, we left Rushmore with the intent to go straight to the town of Custer, set up camp there, and save the climbing for the following day. We had to head through Custer State Park to get from point A to point B anyway so I twisted Stefs arm to get her to let me check out a few routes that we might want to come back to on subsequent outings.

As we made our way up through the granite spires known as “The Needles” I pulled the car to the side of the road into a small pullout. The Needles Highway is quite narrow and as crooked as a Chicago politician. I extricated myself from the cramped vehicle and dodged a minivan full of gawking tourons and made my way down towards the spires. The charm of the Needles lies not only in the barely protectable nature of the climbs but also in its elusive layout which, taken with the shortage of quality guidebooks can leave a visiting climber completely lost only a few hundred feet from the road.

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French Creek Camp: the best camping near Mt Rushmore!

It is pretty tough to turn a relaxing time at an RV park into an exciting bit of writing, so I will summarize as best I can…but read on if you want to hear about the best camping near Mt Rushmore!

Custer was our first stop last year when we came through; we wondered if the welcoming and sometimes raucously entertaining ambiance was simply an anomaly or if round two would be more of the good stuff. We arrived later in the evening around 10 due to some impromptu climbing in the state park as we made the arduous 15 mile trek from our previous camp at Rushmore into Custer. Chalk it up to friendly locals and our inability to resist classic routes. For the sake of brevity, I will limit the climbing discussion in this posting and elaborate in the next…

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Mt Rushmore

Mt Rushmore is known to most for being the location of the presidential monument but there is a LOT of great rock adjacent to it which is open to climbing. Free primitive camping didn’t hurt anything either so it made sense as a first stop. The Black Hills of South Dakota are home to not only a lot of wonderfully friendly people, whose company we enjoyed for a second year in a row, but also to some wildly unique climbing.

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Origins of LivingVertical: adventures of a type 1 diabetic

This is where our story picks up. It’s not  really the beginning, rather it’s where we began to realize that we were part of a story and that was special; worthy of being recorded. So begins the adventures of a type 1 diabetic with better things to do than being limited by a medical condition that just happened without any invitation…

At the time that I wrote this (2009), I had been Type1 for about 10 years and didn’t know a single other person living with the condition. My wife Stefanie and I are seen here on the summit of Devils Tower in Wyoming. I didn’t know it at the time but my life changed dramatically that day. One year before, we had passed casually below the tower and from the safety of the road Stefanie said that I’d need to find another partner if I wanted to attempt it. Together we stood on top a year later and a world of possibility opened up.

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