It takes great effort to accomplish hard things, sometimes more effort that you’re capable of. The Opal is rock-hard proof of this. I thought climbing 5.11 was challenging. I didn’t realize how much harder it would be when climbing with a backpack filled with a 70 meter rope and water for the day. I thought 5.12 layback sounded nearly impossible but couldn’t have imagined how hard it would be on a route that appeared not to have been climbed since 2015, where ever foothold on the pitch was coated with black algae. I witnessed my first ever fall on trad gear when Mico’s foot slipped (before this, I’m not sure I truly believed the gear would hold). I thought bolted 5.11 slab would be a little more possible for me until I realized we had to downclimb the 5.11 slab and watched Mico fall repeatedly on a single section. I don’t know what the last three pitches of the climb are like because we didn’t make it that far. The plan is that once Mico sends the 5.13 pitch, I’ll ascend on a fixed line, and we’ll finish the last two pitches together. I’m confident that Mico will be able to send the entire route if we put in the time. I’m less confident that I’ll survive the experience, but that’s part of what I like about climbing–the chances it gives to surpass your own expectations.
Despite the crusty shell I’ve worked hard to cultivate over the years, on the inside I’m a girl who loves daffodils and big yellow butterflies. I reveal this not because I want you to think I have a softer side, but so that you can fully appreciate the tragedy that occurred when I hit one of these big beautiful butterflies while driving. The butterfly went splat on the windshield and peeled off as I continued driving. It left behind a mustard-colored trail of what I imagine were butterfly innards. I wanted to stop the car and see if we could offer the bug any medical assistance, but Mico was worried about running out of gas, so we continued on. I consoled myself with the fact that there was probably little we could have done for it. I had been driving about 60mph. As with every sad event, there was a silver lining. The butterfly tragedy afforded me a moment to contemplate myself and my place in the cosmos. I realized that life was finite and precious and that I could not afford to waste it climbing routes that got below a four star rating or eating healthy food.
We’d like to take a moment to thank a couple of our sponsors who made these videos possible. The Jon Chen Frypan Company for providing us with the cast iron skillet (we still have not figured out how to use the other thing which we think might be a griddle) and Archangeli Oils for the quality canola oil which we nearly finished during our fry everything bonanza. We hope these videos inspired others to follow in our footsteps and dream big because it is possible to fry anything you put your mind to!