In Good Company
Kylie Fly / 2-16-2021
Going to the desert is always a special time of year. The weather is turning between seasons, which we endearingly call the shoulder season (or as my friends and I like to say, “the butt crack” season). One day is warm and sunny and you climb in a tank top or shirtless, when the next can rain and blow cold while you wait out the storm. Always, though, the desert guarantees good company.
"Climbing is not always about the routes we send or how hard we go, but mostly the people we get to share a rope with."It takes a certain type of person to jam their way up cracks until their elbows bleed and fingertips are pink and raw. Crack climbing on sandstone is one of the most exciting and inspiring forms of rock climbing. The oranges and reds of the desert contrast the green landscape, with sunrises and sunsets that will leave a special place in your heart. Rock has a way of bringing people together and inviting us to push ourselves. There is always an opportunity to try a little harder, get a little scared, go a little further, or stay a little longer. There is no shortage of opportunity meeting challenge.
Rolling into camp, my friends Paulina, Lindsi, Austin and I began what we thought would be a crowded day on one of the desert's most straightforward and popular climbs: South Six Shooter. We decided to sleep in and enjoy the sun’s warmth as the forecast was calling for cold weather and overcast skies. Eventually we packed up our gear, had some morning coffee, and made our way to the trailhead. After a few wrong turns and false approaches, we found the path we were looking for. Gratefully, the sky was blue and had no signs of angry clouds as we made our way up to the base of the tower. We had the entire area all to ourselves until sundown. No schedule, no plans, just there to have a good time in good company.
We made decisions as a team, summited at sunset as a team, and even got handed a beer on the rappel by a French group celebrating someone in their friend circle’s birthday. They celebrated on every pitch, dancing and celebrating on the summit. When we were asked if we’d take a photo of them together, they sent up an iPhone in a climbing shoe dangling off the rope and we had a good laugh. Climbing is not always about the routes we send or how hard we go, but mostly the people we get to share a rope with. Tying in with someone is the ultimate form of trust, and walking away from every climb is walking away with a dear friend.
"They celebrated on every pitch, dancing and celebrating on the summit."
Kylie Fly is a picture maker, story teller, and bound to be somewhere.