Travel Photo Challenge 3/10: Suesca, Colombia. 

I was nominated by Liberate Wings to post one travel photo a day for the next 10 days. Each day I will share a photo and challenge someone else to do the same.
I also decided that though pictures say a thousand words… There’s always something more to the photo so enjoy each of the mini- stories of these photos over the next 10 days!

This photo was taken during a two month climbing trip in South America.

We had decided to spend a week climbing in this little town of Suesca where the entire escarpment of climbs ran parallel to a railway track.

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Adventures of AdamsMom. Episode 1: “I Love This!”

A Week In Calgary In the Eye of a Polish Mom

I find more and more we see the young outrunning, outplaying and downright outliving the old. Our NorthAmerican sedentary ways are like a slow death filled with increased cases of high cholesterol, diabetes and heartattacks. With AdamsMom, this is not the case.

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Clip it, Clip it Good. 

It feels like forever since I’ve climbed. Since Potrero Chico in January. As I scroll through my photos and read all these climbing posts and like all these epic Instagram climbing photos I think “I can’t wait to clip it.”
For me that’s the ultimate moment in climbing. The clip. Your left leg is flagging while your right foot is balanced most precariously on a tiny crystal. Your left hand crimping hard on a microcrimp and then you realize you should have grabbed the microcrimp with your right hand and now you’re screwed so you try to cross clip with the right hand all the while trying not to pop off the wall. 

This is the moment. You slowly start to pull up the rope. It’s short. You yell “clipping!” The timing is off and your belayer is trying to feed the rope, while you’re pulling and it’s snagging. You’re starting to pump out.  “CLIPPING!” Don’t think about how far that last bolt is. 


“I’m sorry!!!!!! ” 


“I’m trying!!!” 


You take a deep breath, your whole body relaxes. The pump is going away and you pull through to the next “jug.”

Sigh. This is my favourite. This push. To hold on when everything seems to be going against your favor. There’s a 95% chance you’re going to fall, and somehow you manage to mentally and physically push yourself through extraordinary means to stay on that wall. 

And then on top of that you somehow manage to send your project. Exhilarating .

There is no other passion of mine that gives me greater fulfillment than climbing. Yes, I love to paddle, do pottery, paint, act and play in the bush, but only climbing pushes my limits mentally and physically. 

Through sport climbing I have been able to experience such great failures and overcome the same failures. It’s incredible. It’s indescribable. That feeling to work on something over and over again and fall. Sometimes falling many times. Sometimes in the same spot. 

Then that one time you get a little bit of a better hold or get half an inch closer to the next bolt, it suddenly becomes all worth it. 

To clip that last clip. Even to clip just the next clip. It’s the greatest release of endorphins ever. 

This season I’m going to clip it. Clip it good. 

Happy Birthday. Father.

When I was a kid, even now, people around us thought my dad was not as present as he should be, or that he was too hard on us, or that he should do better in this and do better in that. Everyone always has something to say. Under our particular circumstances I think he did a remarkable job. I just wanted to say thank you.

My dad was visibly a single dad for 3 years. From when I was born until he met my stepmom. And even then – he was a single dad. Just, a “married” single dad.

He worked 5 days a week, 8 hours to 10 hours a day. After which he would either come home and cook or bring home Chinese takeout. When my brother and I were older, we began to cook. Then he would placate my stepmother for hours until she would let him sleep and then repeat.

On the weekends my dad would tend to the garden, run errands, buy groceries and cook the legendary meals I know him so well for.  He did pretty much everything.  He did pretty much everything with more patience and endurance than any other human could, in the situation we were in.

Thank you Dad, for providing for us.


From my dad, I learned the foundation of being an epic human being. He is huge part of why I have a passion for communicating with my fellow human. He taught me the value of patience and how practice makes perfect.  When I was growing up my dad would play ping pong with me in the basement and teach me that repetition and perseverance is how we become better at something.

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10 000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick, 10 000 time. ” Bruce Lee.

This is where I get my dedication from. People always regard me as someone who’s very active and seems to be involved in a lot of things. However, those who know me well, know that I don’t just randomly dabble in things. They know that when I am faced with a new challenge I tend to face it again and again and again until I get it. Or at least until I progress. Then I might take a step back and try again later.

Thank you Dad, for teaching me dedication.


One of my favourite things that my Dad would do for me (and still does on occasion), was that he would bring home a Readers Digest magazine whenever he received the latest subscription.  I never really thought much about it until about high school, when I realized that while everyone else around me was reading Fashion and entertainment magazines I was always drawn to community stories and real life inspiring stories. I really believe that because of this little tradition of exposing me  to Reader’s Digest magazines, I became a better human. A human that thought more about others and learned compassion and to this day draw from lessons that some of those stories taught me.

For instance some of you may even be familiar with the story about  about Major James Nesmeth. He was a man that spent seven years in North Vietnam as a prisoner of war. For seven years he lived in solitary confinement inside a prison cell that was not high enough for him to even crouch and barely long enough or him to lay down. To keep from losing his mind and hope, he began to find ways to occupy his mind. He started to play 18 holes of golf in his mind, everyday.  He imagined each stroke, every smell and every possible detail. He visualized his technique and swing every day.  After seven years, he was released from prison and returned home. He played his first game of golf in over seven years and scored a perfect game.

The story has been told many times and the score and detail vary slightly, but the takeaway was ingrained in me from a very young age. I still think about that story and I have been using it in pretty much every thing I do. From sports, to pottery to manifesting my successes.

Thank you Dad for feeding my brain and for giving me the opportunity to learn through Reader’s Digest.



Lastly I wanted to thank my D ad for this. Thank you for always pushing yourself to be better, stronger, wiser, and kinder. You heal with patience and laughter, and you treat those around you with compassion.  From your example Pablo and I challenge ourselves to do the same.

Thank you Dad, for challenging us.

Thank you  Dad, for growing.


Thank you to Russell Thomas for inspiring me to paint in the style of Wild Colour Portraiture.

Cats and Climbing.



I have learned that those who love cats. LOVE cats. Every time I’ve travelled to third world or second world countries I have never seen a cat.  They just don’t seem to survive in the places where more people and animals need to fend for themselves to eat and  live another day. Cats are kind of a rich people sort of luxury.

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Potrero Morning Mountains

Potrero Chico Day 2 – 26 Dec 2015


Due to the fatigues of traveling the day before I ended up sleeping in until 09:00hrs. Like a child on Christmas morning I couldn’t wait to open up the tent and soak in my surroundings. I had only seen photos of the limestone Spires of Potrero Chico and there’s nothing more magical that waking up in a totally foreign geographical location. Continue reading

Adventure Begins Upon Arrival in Monterrey Mexico: En Route Potrero Chico

Potrero Chico Day 1: 25 Dec 2015

Christmas Day in Mexico!


Arriving at interpret airport we were already pretty exhausted but with the anticipation of entering a whole new place a childlike excitement began to stir in our hearts.

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John Bachar Memorial Face Problem

Talk about a mouthful for a name.

This is one of Joshua Tree’s “classic” boulder problems. Rated a V5 and the hardest boulder problem I’ve worked on at this point. What is bouldering? Well it’s a form of climbing where no ropes are used and climbing problems or routes or puzzles, are completed through a series of intricate and/ or powerful movements. These are typically low height problems where “crash pads” (mats for protecting a fall) are used. However, that being said there are some boulder problems that seem like they should climbed with rope!


I haven’t bouldered a lot in the past few years, primarily because I have to travel a lot for work and it doesn’t leave much time to work on a boulder problem. When one does have the time to commit to working on a  problem – it’s called “projecting.”

I find there’s a completely different form of meditation and focus required for bouldering. You have to work at problem over and over and over again before you solve it. Sometimes it takes hours, sometimes weeks, days and even years. When you finally get to the top of a problem it’s called “sending” it. Or you “sent it,” in past tense or you’re going to “send” it.

In the short amount of time I had in Joshua Tree, the John Bachar Memorial Face Problem became my project. Over the course of my trip I was able to work on it on three separate days and I came so close. I really believe if I had one or two more days to let my fingers heal I would have gotten it…

The Process

This was the first day I had met Karl, and we looked over the guidebook and settled on going to the Hidden Valley Area.  It’s common practice for climbers to kind of scope out a new partner and see how much you trust them, and bouldering was a good way to start our relationship.  Even though you can boulder alone (and many people do) it’s nice to have a spotter and an extra pad or more if you’re working on bigger problems., or problems with sketchy landings.


When I saw the climb “JBMFP” in the guide book my heart instantly fluttered and my hands began to sweat. “This is such a Melba problem,” I thought. For many climbers, there’s a certain type of climbing that we excel at. Some love climbs with tiny crispy holds, or steep overhanging features, and others may love climbs with no holds and just gently sloping surfaces that only spiderman climbers can somehow stick to.

We started off  with Karl warming up on some high ball boulders (really high climbs, that I would rather be on a rope for). Then we migrated to the John Bachar Memorial Boulder and tried out a V3 arete which was going no where, so we moved around to the face and started working on JBMFP.  I think I intentionally steered Karl over there with a  “Oh hey, would you look at that? This one it looks good!” Fully knowing exactly what kind of climb it was.

Day 1:

I guess I over estimated my skill. We didn’t get very far.  Maybe 2 or three moves. But it was progressing and we decided it was worth trying again another day. And besides, it looked like such an awesome problem, I KNOW I can get it!

Projecting JBMFP V5 Karl

Day 2:

While I was away at my cousins wedding in Palm Springs for the weekend, Karl had met up with a couple of other climbers and they gave him some “beta” (411 or key moves on the climb… secrets!) and he was happy to walk me through it and we progressed even more. Well Karl, the bugger, actually sent it!  When I gave it a go…I remember how excited I was to see Karl get to the top and there’s something about seeing someone get a send, it makes you want it so much more.


I hopped on it a few times and each time I got a little higher and the last attempt… I made the mistake of looking down at my pad. My drained when I realized how far it was and my hand started to slip, karl was bending over and moving the pad. Then all I remember was Karl’s head lined up between my legs and as I fell and I thought for sure I was going to sit right on his head and kill the guy.


When I finally contacted the pad and I was checking all my resources to see if I was still in one piece and I’m I had a dead body on my hands, all i could hear was ringing and this muffled voice of a brit cursing at me for letting go. Karl was so mad that I didn’t keep going, he yelled at me like he would his daughter – “Bloody this,” “bloody that,” I felt so bad… I let him down!  I tried it maybe one more time to appease him and then I couldn’t muster up the guts to get up any higher than the last time.  I look down and my knuckles are bleeding.


Battle wounds of JBMFP

It was Karl’s last day and he told me. “YOU better come back tomorrow and get this. Go find a spotter and an extra pad and come back tomorrow morning.” I sheepishly looked down at my feet and said “yes, sir.”

When a man like Karl tells you to do something you do it. Did I mention he was a retired Principal? Yeah. Well… imagine.

Karl and I shared a lovely meal together at CrossRoads in Joshua Tree and I was rejuvenated. I spent all night planning on when and how I was going to find a stranger to build an instant bond and convince them to spot me for an attempt for the send. I posted new notes on the message board and actually was able to pay it forward with a couple of Polish guys that were out of luck for a campspot so I invited them to join mine. It was nice to have some company for my last night in the desert.


Rafal and Piotr just came from Yosemite and small world being as it is, they happened to meet the one asian in Hidden Valley Campground that also happened to speak a little Polish. Needless to say we had some awesome conversations and hopefully they’ll be visiting Adam and I in Canada next year!

Day 3:

I was up before sunrise, due to some unwavering nervous energy. I spent the night dreaming of JBMFP. Playing out the beta and over estimating the height so when I would get on the face it wouldn’t be a factor.


It was a quiet morning. But why wouldn’t it be? It’s 6 in freaking morning… I read my book, made some coffee. And as the sun rose I saw another climber (with a  crash pad) camping across from me and I decided that this was the first guy I would approach to see if he would spot me.

I’m funny this way, even though at times I’m a Cassanova at conversation and social skills, there’s times when I’m a stuttering idiot. This was one of those times.


I recall saying “Good Morning,” and asking if he was climbing today. And before he even answered I think I just blurted out this pleading paragraph of how it was my last day- my friend just left – I don’t really boulder much but i’ve been working on this problem- today is my last day to send it – I really need a spotter because i’m scared of heights and I might die – but if he was busy with his friends I totally understand. And started to back away slowly and dismiss the idea before he even has a chance to say “oh hello there.”

I’m crazy like that. But Jay, being a super awesome nice guy and friendly as most climbers are, simply said “No,problem. Let me just make some tea and we can go.”

Wow that was easy. I’m such a dunce.

I discovered that Jay, was a theatre tech and that instantly resonated with me because of my love of community theatre. We had some great conversations and my awkwardness quickly dissipated.  We we got to JBMFP it was game time.


The Final Attempt.

I had gone of the moves in my mind numerous times. I played it over and over in my head. Right hand crimp, left hand crimp. Left foot smear on black crystal, right foot step onto thin edge. Left hand bump to sloping nub. Left foot move to chalked crystal below  the bulge near my knee. Slowly step up – big move to right hand thin side pull. Cross left foot to edge next to the right foot. Step up and smear on a  dark scoop with the right foot. Adjust the right side pull and bring up left foot to sloping nub while maintaining body tension because this is where it’s dicey and vulnerable. Solid. Step up and grab the next slopey nub on the top left. Feeling really thin right now. THROW for the INCUT! Stick it. Keep it! Reach to the left edge, now I’m just 7 inches below the top out!

At this point it’s the highest I have even been on this climb. But I was focussed. I just didn’t know the beta. I haven’t been here before. My right foot tests an edge. Nope I feel like I’m going to swing out (Barn Door.)  I bring it back. Uh.. this feels better…. but I only have three point of contact and my right foot is useless… I test that edge again. “Fuck NO… that’s SUCKS.” …. I bring it back. Again. It’s so close.. but I am so stretched out I’m like a broken record, repeating the same move over and over but not moving forward. I HAVE to move my feet – I start to fall. Only inches away from my send. And I’m grasping at the air thinking “NOOOOOO, KARL IS GOING TO GIVE ME SHIIIIIITTT.” I felt like I fell for a long time, but Jay’s got my back.  That feeling, of moving so many moves in this first attempt was unreal.  It the feeling that combers live for. Some call it adrenaline, I call it passion. Love. Climbing.

I gave it a couple more go but my fingers were done. There was no more skin left and I just couldn’t get any higher than the first couple moves. The sun was coming out and the air was getting hot. I missed my chance. This time.


And, thus ends my epic trip to Joshua Tree. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Okay maybe actually sending JBMFP but at least this way… I have a story of the fish that got away.

I’ll be back fishy. I’ll be Back.

To see the video of my fall click here: JBMFP V5

A Friend In Joshua Tree


There’s always time to try something new and the best way to do that is to travel solo sometimes. I love a healthy balance of travelling on my own because it forces me to meet people and force myself to Jtree, for the most part has no cell phone signal. So be prepared when heading out there, especially if you’re hoping to rendezvous with people.

Notes on back, good ol' fashioned message board

Notes on back, good ol’ fashioned message board

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