The Life I Found

It’s about 6:45pm on a beautiful Tuesday evening. We are driving down a dirt road that has seen better days, and I know like the back of my hand. Which has also, seen better days. Dust, dirt and rocks are trying to slow us down as we wrap around yet another corner. I yell out, “climber!”, like it’s a deer in the middle of the road. We give each other a respectful nod of the head as we drive past. This is the perfect moment. I am not driving so I can enjoy the beautiful mountains around us, the way the sun reflects off the volcanic rocks and the slowly setting sun.

Sublime (& what I still think is Charlie Tuna Fish) is playing on the radio and even my hair is dancing around my body to a happy tune.

There is nothing better than this moment.

I am not saying that this climbing day was the best I have ever had, but it is up there. There wasn’t any particularly stellar move, or hard rated climb that I crushed, it was just perfect. Why? Because I climbed and any day that I can do that, is perfect.

My climbing buddy and I decided to head up to Upper Park and do a quick climb at Devil’s Kitchen. This is not a great spot to climb because there are only a couple of routes there but it’s 15 minutes up the dirt road and a perfect excuse to push-off studying for finals. Just for another hour or two…. No one was up there, so we set up, rapelled down and found that the base of the climb was filled with flies. Like, apocalyptic flies. At first, we couldn’t figure out why but then we realized that there were a number of dead mice.

Sweet.

Then there were the mosquitos.

Also, sweet.

This one climb, (which has been rated a number of things so, who knows or cares?) goes directly up the middle of the rock. It’s basalt, so it’s super crimpy, slick, deceiving… kind of like an ex-boyfriend of mine…. Regardless, almost every hold you expect to be stellar, sucks. Besides these facts, I love the place. It’s a fun area to just bang a couple quick climbs out and call it a day.

I was up first and just banged it out. Did I send it? F- no! The first part of the climb is this crazy sequence that I finally figured out last summer and then of course… forgot it. Once I got past the start of the climb, it was fine. Even though I was tired from being out of shape, I felt amazing. Like, drug induced amazing! I was breathless at how beautiful it all felt. Thank (insert name here) for my ability to still climb.

Once school is done, before summer school starts, there will be a lot more moments where I am feeling the same way but for now… I will not take this for granted.

Lauren Azevedo-Henderson is a climber and foodie with a degree in Art History. Lauren has been cooking all her life and has been seriously climbing for just over 2 years. While living in her ex-boyfriend’s van (only for long weekends or a week at a time) she started cooking what you would call “gourmet” food on a camp stone in the van. She now spends most of her time in Red Rock, NV and started writing her food/climbing blog “The Climbing Chef” just last year.