It was not so long ago that there were no events to list for “What’s Happening” around the valley. I was coloring cat pictures, running sprints down the lane, and cleaning every closet in the house. It was a time none among us will ever forget. We embrace the “good” things that came out of the lockdown/quarantine and rejoice that the “bad” things have come and gone. We are surviving a pandemic. However, there were those in the valley who did not survive and became part of the over 1 million lives lost to date. For their friends and family, lives were permanently changed with the loss of someone they loved.
As life has been breathed back into the valley, posters continue to pop up for events everywhere. I recently noticed the Methow Valley Climbers (MVC) is returning an event that only had one inaugural formal gathering before the pandemic. On Friday, June 17, a Climber Potlatch & Fundraiser will be held at the Mazama Community Club beginning at 6 p.m. followed by a film sponsored by The North Face titled “Reel Rock 16.”
According to Mark Allen, owner of The Mountain Bureau — a craft mountain-guiding service — and president of MVC, the event will provide an opportunity to learn about the project list for the upcoming year and where donations to this local chapter of the nonprofit Washington Climbing Coalition are going to be spent. There is also an MVC Facebook group set up for the geographically dispersed climbing community to network regarding their sport; e.g., meet-ups to climb, information regarding climbs, and gear sales.
The movie to be shown, “Reel Rock 16,” is a compilation of four new short films: “Bridge Boys” (a horizontal big-wall adventure on the longest, most ridiculous crack climb every attempted); “Barefoot Charles” (the opera-singing, cave-dwelling Frenchman who climbs futuristic boulder problems without chaussons); “Big Things to Come” (an elite boulderer’s struggle with a project propels her on a decade-long journey of self-discovery); and “Cuddle” (a link-up of 17 alpine summits pushes a famed climbing duo to the brink — and into each others’ arms). Can’t get more exciting than that.
This past winter I watched two nail biter climbing movies — “14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible” and “The Alpinist” — both of which were beyond my comprehension as to skill and fortitude needed to undertake such attempts to conquer hostile peaks, not to mention ice walls. (Side note: “Reel Rock 16” is from the creators of “The Alpinist” and another climbing movie, “The Dawn Wall.”)
In addition, one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors is “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer. Maybe I am a wee bit fascinated by climbing, though, my feet need to always be on stable (flat?) ground! (I also watched “The River Runner” about the kayaker who paddled four treacherous rivers in Tibet. Terrifying for a non-water person!)
Footnote: How many times have we heard the comment — “It’s so green in the valley” — this spring? The welcome rain and cooler temperatures have kept the valley lush and verdant thus far. What’s not to love?