An opportunity to interview for a job in Salt Lake City came up, and although I wasn’t feeling quite ready to end my trip, I’ve also been starting to feel burned out. I’m tired of rock climbing! There, I said it. Leaving Wyoming felt strange, though, because it had been home for almost two months. That was actually the longest I had stayed in any one place all year.

So, Evan Raines and I packed up and headed to Salt Lake after climbing what he likes to describe as “nonsensical” rock. We made a stop in the City and got in somewhere around midnight. Too tired to find free camping, we crashed in one of the visitor’s lots (I slept in my car and Evan slept in a tree.)

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Evan “Quick Draw” Raines at Scarface Wall. Photograph by Chris Spratta

I honestly don’t know many people who get as excited about rock climbing as Evan. I really enjoy climbing with him because, in addition to his awesome attitude, he has a beautiful style. He says he genuinely just enjoys the movement in rock climbing. With his natural talent for it combined with dedication and enthusiasm, he’s been putting down some of the hardest routes known in the southeast.

We woke up in the morning and warmed up at Elephant Rock, then ventured on to check out Checkered Demon (5.11a). Evan led it first. Exhaustion began creeping in and after watching the beginning moves (sort of a weird, strenuous layback protected by an old pin) did not motivate me. The next day, my motivation was back.  Evan has a funny knack for picking out bold, testpiece climbs. He’s a real go-getter like that. We took the scenic approach (AKA we got lost) to the Incisor to try Crack of Doom (5.11c). There are two fixed nuts as well as a pin protecting the very beginning of the climb. Again, Evan led the route first and on his way down, cleaned the gear for me.

Frustrated at the opening move on Crack, I became increasingly annoyed at my lack of reach after having watched Evan cruise this section. There is an undercling directly below the fixed nuts that I just couldn’t grab. Finally, I listened to Evan for foot beta and cranked on a small-ish crimp. Bingo. We climbed a few more routes that day before I dropped Evan off at the Salt Lake City airport, went to my interview, and then continued back to Colorado alone.

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Evan was so happy to get to City. He said the climbing at Vedauwoo was “harder than giving birth.”

I thought about what I’d do if I got the job I’d interviewed for. I thought about my burnout, too, and how it was growing. I love climbing, please don’t misunderstand. It’s the thing that dictates all of my life decisions in their entirety. But I also just started feeling like there was something else that was missing. I needed a better balance, but I hadn’t figured out what that balance was between yet.

I think that you need to do something seriously enough to be truly interested in, but you also keep it in enough perspective so that it doesn’t consume you. The way I try to live my life is kinda funny. I have faith in chaos and a belief that everything will always work out the way that it’s meant to. You’ve just got to be motivated enough until you can make it to the chains. Faith is that really shitty sloper that isn’t always so easy to hold on to. But, it’ll be there and is ready for you to use when you’re ready to see it.

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