The blog of the adventures (or mis-adventures) of an active mountain woman.

Wonderful Distractions

Dean Potter on the Eiger

It has taken nearly six months to have the hindsight to blog about my wedding, but there was one particular unexpected gift that I would like to call attention to – and that would be proofreading a 30 page law school paper.

I fully realize that this doesn’t sound like a gift – and to be fair, I didn’t initially see it for what it was, either.

The wedding was family only with the exception of one friend each. As my childhood best friend is now in law school and I sometimes proof her work, it wasn’t unusual for her to ask me to take a look at this document as well. What was unusual was that it was the morning of my wedding and I wanted nothing more than to look at her paper.

The anxiety and anticipation of the day faded into a dull background hum as I pondered the context for capitalizing the “T” in Trooper. Contemplating apostrophes quelled nausea and I was struck by the similarities to what most extreme athletes already know – distractions can be priceless.

It’s no coincidence that some of the hardest climbing routes have been put up by recent divorcees or those going through trama. When “real” life gets to an overwhelming point, complete and total immersion in another activity can offer blessed relief. Since I was getting married, arguably a happy yet still nerve-inducing event, editing a technical paper suited the bill just fine. But when life really throws a curve ball, a pen and paper can’t cut it for some athletes. And there is no focus like climbing large parts of El Cap in Yosemite, sans rope (yes I’m looking at you Dean Potter). When every finger placement matters, there is no room for dull “what ifs” to run through your head, and that can a blessed silence. And fortunately, as few of us approach Potter’s level of expertise, most of us can get that bliss in the company of safety gear.

Article-of-the-day: Potter free-bases the Eiger (that would be free climbing, as in no rope, with a parachute to jump off).

Wonderful Distractions

One Response to “Wonderful Distractions”

  1. Rebecca says:

    Wow…El Cap and no rope? I am glad as your best friend that you chose my paper as the distraction and not potential death. 🙂 I will have another paper for you to read shortly! Get ready for the putative father registry. (bet you have to look putative up—I sure as hell did!)

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