Thomas Bukowski @neodude

Mostly I go climbing

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Looking up Pancake Flake on the Nose, May 2017. The sun was setting, the clouds were closing in, and the hardest, last third of the route lay above.

One of my favorite things about big days in the mountains is the years of reflection and daydreaming the experiences offer!
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Looking up Pancake Flake on the Nose, May 2017. The sun was setting, the clouds were closing in, and the hardest, last third of the route lay above. One of my favorite things about big days in the mountains is the years of reflection and daydreaming the experiences offer!

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A #tbt to a month ago in Yosemite, featuring Ben in the classic Rostrum shot, making that insecure lieback move that so exemplifies granite climbing.
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A #tbt to a month ago in Yosemite, featuring Ben in the classic Rostrum shot, making that insecure lieback move that so exemplifies granite climbing.

Hold a mirror up to your past, and it changes your relationship to the passage of time. Hold yourself up to the world, and it reflects your sense of place within it.

I spent a month away, but it lasted a lifetime. There is no dislocation without familiarity.. it's time to go home, to the warm, golden familiarity of California.
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Hold a mirror up to your past, and it changes your relationship to the passage of time. Hold yourself up to the world, and it reflects your sense of place within it. I spent a month away, but it lasted a lifetime. There is no dislocation without familiarity.. it's time to go home, to the warm, golden familiarity of California.

I spy, with my slanty little eyes, some sandstone cracks next to a clinic we are considering working with. From a rapid 3 and a half day trip to Ethiopia.
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I spy, with my slanty little eyes, some sandstone cracks next to a clinic we are considering working with. From a rapid 3 and a half day trip to Ethiopia.

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The indescribable summit of Presten, near Henningsvær, Lofoten Islands, Norway, reached after 13 pitches of pure granite, Type I only, fun.
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The indescribable summit of Presten, near Henningsvær, Lofoten Islands, Norway, reached after 13 pitches of pure granite, Type I only, fun.

"Sunset" over Tysfjorden, Nordland, Norway

I've forgotten how the midnight sun feels. Without darkness, nothing differentiates today from the next; it all merges into a continuous melange of light, changing ever so imperceptibly – is it slightly less bright at midnight, or is it just my imagination? There's a sense that nothing is happening and everything happening at the same time. You try but never really sleep well, tossing and turning, waiting for a reprieve that never comes. Instead, just fleeting shadows – your existence suspended, the passage of time a distant memory from a different world.

It turns out, I've really missed Norway. There's an orderly kind of calm here in both civilization and nature that weaves so seamlessly into my idiosyncrasies, like only a few other places, say Tuolumne, or Marin. Only in these places can I really let go.. let the weariness of a life of struggling wash over, and, upon the inevitable return to a more discordant reality, turn up a little more rested, but hardened too, knowing that there are a few places where I do finally feel I belong.
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"Sunset" over Tysfjorden, Nordland, Norway I've forgotten how the midnight sun feels. Without darkness, nothing differentiates today from the next; it all merges into a continuous melange of light, changing ever so imperceptibly – is it slightly less bright at midnight, or is it just my imagination? There's a sense that nothing is happening and everything happening at the same time. You try but never really sleep well, tossing and turning, waiting for a reprieve that never comes. Instead, just fleeting shadows – your existence suspended, the passage of time a distant memory from a different world. It turns out, I've really missed Norway. There's an orderly kind of calm here in both civilization and nature that weaves so seamlessly into my idiosyncrasies, like only a few other places, say Tuolumne, or Marin. Only in these places can I really let go.. let the weariness of a life of struggling wash over, and, upon the inevitable return to a more discordant reality, turn up a little more rested, but hardened too, knowing that there are a few places where I do finally feel I belong.

Sometimes at the end of the rainbow is a phoenix...
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Sometimes at the end of the rainbow is a phoenix...

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Nose in a day - it finally happened! I'm completely wrecked, it's totally next level. The Nose really is the best rock climb in the world.

Clockwise from left: afternoon clouds coming in to bring some Patagonia-style conditions to the upper pitches; Mr. Guy lowering out on the pitch before the Great Roof; oh god, there's still a long way to go; and the sunrise over Half Dome on the descent. 
The deets... 22 hours and 30 minutes start to tree. It's a semi-onsight (neither of us had been past Dolt before), and we had to pass 5 parties which really burned up a bunch of time :( Can't wait to go back, actually free some of those upper pitches, and go faster! Ahhhh!! More climbing!!! Also! This was my first time climbing with Jonathan.. what a first climb! I'd like to thank him for his flexibility to last minute plans, the endless psych, and some real fast cam jugging.
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Nose in a day - it finally happened! I'm completely wrecked, it's totally next level. The Nose really is the best rock climb in the world. Clockwise from left: afternoon clouds coming in to bring some Patagonia-style conditions to the upper pitches; Mr. Guy lowering out on the pitch before the Great Roof; oh god, there's still a long way to go; and the sunrise over Half Dome on the descent. The deets... 22 hours and 30 minutes start to tree. It's a semi-onsight (neither of us had been past Dolt before), and we had to pass 5 parties which really burned up a bunch of time :( Can't wait to go back, actually free some of those upper pitches, and go faster! Ahhhh!! More climbing!!! Also! This was my first time climbing with Jonathan.. what a first climb! I'd like to thank him for his flexibility to last minute plans, the endless psych, and some real fast cam jugging.

Another weekend staring upwards in Yosemite. In this photo you can see the crux of (from right to left) Mary's Tears 11b, (almost) The Crucifix 12b, Gravity Ceiling 13a, and Northeast Buttress 5.9+. Two of those routes down, two more to go!
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Another weekend staring upwards in Yosemite. In this photo you can see the crux of (from right to left) Mary's Tears 11b, (almost) The Crucifix 12b, Gravity Ceiling 13a, and Northeast Buttress 5.9+. Two of those routes down, two more to go!

John Joline was one of the seminal people who taught me how to find joy in the vertical world. One time, lowering off one of those innumerable climbs at Rumney, he casually said to me, "Thomas, if you put some time into this, you could be pretty good." I've never lost the motivation that comment gave my little 19-year-old self. 
He passed away a year or two ago, and I never got a chance to show John, look, look, I did it! I never got a chance to say thanks. In a way, it's one of the biggest regrets of my life.. it makes me cry every time I think about it.
  • Comments 1

John Joline was one of the seminal people who taught me how to find joy in the vertical world. One time, lowering off one of those innumerable climbs at Rumney, he casually said to me, "Thomas, if you put some time into this, you could be pretty good." I've never lost the motivation that comment gave my little 19-year-old self. He passed away a year or two ago, and I never got a chance to show John, look, look, I did it! I never got a chance to say thanks. In a way, it's one of the biggest regrets of my life.. it makes me cry every time I think about it.

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Moonlight Buttress may be the best climb I've done in my life.
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Moonlight Buttress may be the best climb I've done in my life.

It's so, so nice to be back in Yosemite again!
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It's so, so nice to be back in Yosemite again!

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