Pick up any publication pertaining to the sport of rock climbing, and chances are, you will see a smattering of descriptive chronicles highlighting the travels and adventures of the prolific scribe Abbey Smith. A climber and writer for over 10 years, Abbey travels extensively, financing her jet set lifestyle though her writing, allowing her more opportunities to pursue her love of adventure. Abbey has reported on a myriad of topics. From the exclusive hobby of vintage motor racing, to sassy, healthy-savvy posts on BeThree.com, to being on the editorial staff of the independent green publication elephant journal, a quarterly magazine devoted to living the "mindful life" through conscious consumerism, sustainability, eco-fashion and non new-aged spirituality.
Abbey's energy for writing is ravenous. When she speaks of it, her article ideas roll out of mouth in constant barrage without commas, periods, or other punctuation, but when placed in front of a computer, the word stream subsides into descriptive prose reminiscent of Joanne Harris. Dead Point Magazine is privileged to have her as a contributing blogger.
I've never considered myself to be a homebody. Whenever I get comfortable, my transient nature takes over and I need to shake life up again. But ever since I moved from downtown Boulder to Eldorado Springs, I seldom leave the canyon. For years I've fantasized about what it would be like to live in Eldo, but couldn't give up the convenience of Boulder's pedestrian-friendly city-living. When my two friends John Dickey and Amelia Patterson notified me about a cozy one-bedroom apartment adjoining their dreamy mountain home situated at the upper rim of the canyon, I couldn't pass up the opportunity. With a panoramic view of the mountains, world-class climbing five minutes away by foot, no city lights, fresh mountain air, exciting wildlife, and artesian water from the faucet , I feel like I've checked into a rustic mountain retreat. The only draw back: an arduous approach via narrow stone pathway up two switchbacks, 30 steps up a wooden staircase and finally, a ladder or boulder to my porch.
Eldorado Springs is a treasure trove of more than a lifetime's worth of climbing. The canyon has captured many of my cherished firsts: the first place I fell in love with exposure, the first time I placed -- and fell on --traditional protection/gear, and the first route I ever soloed. Each time I enter the narrow canyon with towering sandstone walls, there's a commanding presence that relieves daily stress and brings me back to the present moment. The climbing is full value -- insecure, polished, soapy feeling holds, tricky placements, and often cryptic, technical sequences combining crack and face moves. No matter if it's single or multi-pitch trad, "sport" or bouldering, the climbing style calls you out if you're not paying attention. After a long day of work, it's the best cure for blurry computer eyes.
Living and climbing in Eldo this fall has been a dream. Despite the fact there's no coffee shop, market or bar within walking distance, the reward is solitude. I've gotten a chance to reconnect with one of my favorite climbing areas and my ankle is finally almost healed. Without the distraction of Pearl Street, I've produced more creative work than ever and even tapped into my seldomly seen domestic side -- making my own coffee and cooking every meal. For a brief time, I've become a homebody. Then, in early October the sun no longer hit my porch and the first snow began to fall, halting all outdoor climbing. As I looked out the window, heavy clouds swallowed the canyon, ice covered the path, making me feel like on a ship stranded at sea. Almost overnight, my inspiration was with replaced anxiety. The timer went off and now it's time for me to go. So I bought a one-way plane ticket to El Paso, Texas for October 30 for the endless summer in Hueco Tanks, to reunite with my family and friends, and to reignite my imagination.