in el paso doing laundry

we have been on the road 10 days now, and today (the first day of december!) i’m taking advantage of our rest day to do laundry. we have a lot, even though i limited the number of clothing items we all brought. we have had to double-wear some things, but that’s okay. part of being on a climbing trip is being dirty. at least the van doesn’t smell… yet.

the past week has been lovely after the rough start we got on the weekend. we only lost one climbing day because of the terrible weather. we had planned to rest on monday after climbing saturday and sunday. but since we were stuck in a hotel room both weekend days, we climbed a little bit on north mountain on monday. it was still pretty cold and even a few snow flakes fell, but by mid afternoon the sun burned off the clouds and the temps got to nearly 50! each day since, the weather has gotten warmer. yesterday (saturday) was a pleasant 68 degrees–hot in the the sun. we were climbing in t-shirts, and the boys didn’t have to wear 2-3 layers of clothes including long johns.

daily, we have been like lizards, soaking up rays in sunny spots between climbs, as my friend april describes it. once the sun goes down, we scurry back to camp to make dinner in the dark and cold, and huddle in our heated van. paul and april have this down to a science, since they climb here every other weekend during the chilly season. their van is a bit bigger than ours, so our boys watch a movie with their babes while we cook in the cold. then we hang out and eat together, all crammed in. they made it festive for the holidays with colored christmas lights strung along their windows. looking from the outside in, through fogged up windows, the effect is more than cozy. then it’s bedtime, and we crank the heater for a while and snuggle down deep in our sleeping bags for the night. a few of the nights have been really cold. we wake up and put the heater on for a little bit again just to take the edge off. in the mornings water we left out on the picnic table is frozen.

this is climbing in the desert in the winter ( nope, i guess technically it is still fall). we complain a little bit. we compare it to when we come here in the spring–april-ish. in april it’s hot in the day, and hiking and climbing, very sweaty. but the sun stays up into the evening. we cook in comfort, and we can all eat together outside and sleep with the windows in the van open. there are also very few people here climbing since it is considered the off season for climbers. it’s almost worth it though, trading creature comforts like warmth at dinner time for climbing in lower temps during the day. the rock is chilly and crisp, and our fingers stick to it like velcro. who knows which is better. we will probably just have to keep coming back to figure that out…. a life long endeavor probably. no complaints about that.