Friday, October 11, 2013

On Borrowed Time at Moss Cliff

Life has a funny way of creeping up on you. All through my twenties I traveled a lot. I moved to a new place every year or so, making sure to explore climbing opportunities in each spot. My thirties rolled in and I became a bit more serious about work. I participated in more professional development and cultivated a few professional relationships as a guide that provided cool opportunities.

Now, nearing 35, I'm no longer willing to accept the uncertainties that a career of guiding provides. There are a few "knowns" and many "unknowns" about this particular career path. I'm going to try and outline many of these details in a future post, so that younger guides, or people interested in the trade can have a pragmatic perspective when they enter the world of "professional" guiding.

Suffice to say, I no longer want a life with so many unknowns. I want health insurance, and some extra savings to pay for life's medical "unknowns." A visit with a dentist would be nice too. Retirement savings, I want that too. Hell, I'd like to be able to give more of my earnings to people and organizations who need it more than me.

All of those things can be pretty hard to come by when you work in the guiding industry. Basically you either travel a lot as an independent guide (and hope your relationships at home remain strong) or you try to own your own business and make money off of other guides that work for you. Either way it's a struggle to make ends meet. I'm not really into either of those things, so it's time to look elsewhere for work.

At the moment I'm exploring other career options. Obviously, I'll continue to guide - I am a climbing guide and have been one for the last ten years. As time passes I'll likely be more selective about the guiding and instruction I choose to take on.

While feelings of insecurity have partly spurred this decision, climbing has helped me make the choice also. The days, weekends, and trips I've been able to sneak in with my favorite climbing partners have illuminated my unwavering love for climbing. These intense personal experiences continue to shape and direct my life. Climbing has been the most positive shaping force in my adult life, and I don't want my struggle making ends meet (as a guide it has been constant) to soil my love for climbing.

This week I had one of those days that helped remind me why I love climbing. After 17 years as a climber I finally visited Moss Cliff with a friend Donald, from Ohio who was in the area for a wedding. We enjoyed one of the finest days of Fall climbing I can remember. Moss Cliff, for those who haven't visited, has some of the most beautiful crack climbing in the Adirondacks. The rock there is very high quality, and seems better than the anorthosite at many other High Peaks Crags.

The day was full of stuffer cracks, rebel yells, smiles, and a few muscle cramps by the end of the day. This is what it's all about. Here are a few photos from the day:

The Google+ album can be viewed here:

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