Last night I went to listen to Sonnie Trotter, a climber and a friend give a talk. This morning, I reflected on the things he said and his wild adventures. I first met Sonnie and his then-girlfriend Lisa in Rifle, Colorado in 1996 or 97. We, myself and my then-husband, had heard about this Canadian guy who was sending hard Rifle test pieces in short turn. I remember his enthusiasm and his lightness about everything Rifle had to offer. No focused determination, just joy at being in the canyon and climbing.
Sonnie went on to continue to send hard routes, and as he noted in his talk last night, realized something was missing for him in the pursuit of hard routes - the adventure. He eventually shifted gears and became more interested in difficult trad climbs and doing things that are more adventurous. As I considered where I was, now struggling away on things that even post baby I could do with less effort than today, I deeply considered what motivates me. It's not the big stone pillars that shout, come and climb me and I will definitely give you an adventure. It's not pursuit of successfully completing the next route, because there is always a next route.
Then Sonnie showed an shot of Tommy Caldwell sitting at a hanging belay with a lawn chair and umbrella, noting what an incredibly optimistic person Tommy is. It's true and it is the reason my ex-husband and I asked Tommy to be our child's godfather. He not only tries harder when the going gets tough, he embraces it all.