Smaller Summits

Ray Aberle
Featured in our Summer 2005 catalog

A banana, a Nalgene, the dog and my rock shoes and I am out the door. Tuesday mornings are all the same. I drive the five minutes to my secret bouldering spot dubbed “The Jugs.” This is my climbing for the week. Thirty minutes of cold rock, hidden from the 6 a.m. sun.

All of us active types say it at one time or another: “When I have a kid it won’t change a thing. I’ll just take them with me.” Similarly, we all, at some point or another, bail on a trip, quick or long, because we have a human being at home that needs us in a way we’ve never been needed before.

So I get to the crag early, before he wakes up, climb long enough to remember what those different calluses are from, and head home in time to welcome my son into another day of life.

These days the summits are smaller. But they are no longer taken alone. The 30 pounds of toddler hangs from my back, always his presence, a knowledge of his need, accompanies me. The view is better, if less spectacular, because I glimpse a further horizon than ever before.

About the Author

Ray Aberle spends his free time playing “scare the mountain lion” in the Colorado foothills with his two-year-old son. Fortunately, the only “mountain lion” they routinely scare is a yellow lab named Libby.