Friday, August 17, 2012

What I've Been Up To This Summer

After taking my daughter in for her first day of kindergarten, I suddenly realized that summer is almost over and it has been a busy one for me. I had three weeks of it taken up with an NEH Summer Institute in Florence, Italy studying the relationship between art and science in the work of Leonardo da Vinci. It was very interesting stuff and I had a jampacked schedule of lectures, museum visits, and side trips including Venice, Siena and Milan.
Looking at a Leonardo landscape drawing from 1473 at the Gabinetto dei Desegni e Stampi at the Uffizi
My research is focusing on Leonardo's understanding of mountains and his articulation of that understanding through the visual arts and writing. There's a lot of work to do yet! I wasn't only in the library or the museums however and even took a couple of trips to the local gym. Unfortunately, the climbing was very slabby but there was a decent fingerboard and a campus board so despite the heat I kept a little bit in shape

+GAZ, the gym near Florence
In the end, I think the time off was actually helpful. The return back to climbing was initially brutal though I felt I adjusted quickly to the altitude and the hike to Lower Chaos. Since I have been back I have focused on a few problems, making progress despite high temperatures, humidity and of course the infamous road closures on the way to Bear Lake. My main nemesis is Nuthin' But Sunshine, a problem I am trying because it is classic, hard, and most important, it's in the shade in the morning. I feel on the very edge of being able to link moves and am so close on the crux move pictured below.

The infamous move off the pinch on NBS. Hoping it will go!
 I have also tried (on and off) Automator and Freaks of the Industry and feel like European will go when I have the right conditions. Naturally, the best conditions occur when I have to go back to teaching so it may be time to get tickets for South Africa next summer!

In the end, I am drawn to Lower time and again because of the unique environment and atmosphere, something I have been photographing for several years now. The changing weather and rapidly shifting light makes for very interesting and compelling photographs (at least to me) and I find myself trading back and forth between climbing and shooting photos when conditions warrant.
Mist and sunshine on the north face of Mount Otis
I hope to be writing more frequently going forward as there is plenty to discuss in the world of climbing right now. More soon!

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