2012 Year in Review



Like 2011, it's time to chronicle my life in 2012.  This is more for me and my family but some may find it of interest.   In my old age I forget when things happen and this helps me keep the events in some sort of logical order.  If you follow my facebook page, you have probably seen most, if not all, of these pictures but this puts them together for ME.      I thought 2011 would be a tough year to beat but 2012 had some moments that were definitely life changing

Paul Robinson and Alex Kahn arrived late in 2011 and stayed for a while as 2012 got under way.   They are excellent house guests and we are really looking forward to their visit this year.

Yes, I can spot V15!  Paul later sent this V15 (Meadowlark Lemon) while Nat and I were off climbing Dark Shadows.   We saw the prep but not the finish.

Paul working a yet to be completed project on their last day.  

2012 was the year for Natalie to step up her game.  She lead Dark Shadows, Armatron, Black Magic, and broke into leading 5.11 sport clean.

Nat leading on Dark Shadows

Nat on the incredible varnished slots of Armatron

Nat's first 5.11 clean lead!!! 


Sending the sweet huecoes in the Black Corridor

Following the scary Black Dagger

Ken Danielson made a quick visit and we were surprised by a freak snow storm while hiking into Ice Box Canyon.   Within minutes, we went from clear to snowball fighting.


 Nat's sister and her family made a brief visit to paradise in the spring.

The Fogel's experience Icebox Canyon

We almost lost our precious Kappy to a torsion of the stomach.   It was touch and go for a while but he has come back strong. 


Who knew he was pink with a lot more spots??


Arkansas represented for Cole Fennel's bachelor party.  Reed came in a bit early and had to leave early so we braved the cold and got in a route. 

Reed styling on Black Magic

Rockin the limo at the bachelor party 

Betting, and losing, on my first horse race

Cole and Andrew Blann on Epinephrine while Andrew Childs and I climb Sour Mash.

The best hike in Red Rock, Bridge Mountain


You can't get much higher than this in Red Rock.  Top of Bridge Mountain.

 Tyler came to Vegas for his birthday and we headed to San Diego

On the beach near La Jolla with sea lions in the background
 On the aircraft carrier

The amazing Lego Land

Tyler kicking our asses in the super fast go carts


Then the very best part of 2012!!!   I married Natalie Neal!
Thanks to Karen Whalen for the Red Rock shots




Fred and Michelle Onsaga were our witnesses and enjoyed to festive mood.




Our great photographer and friend, Karen Whelan,  that took all our Red Rock pre-wedding pictures.   We followed her adventures as she made the trek to Everest basecamp!  

Karen was inspiring to push beyond normal limits to reach her goal.   

THEN, our house got flooded!!  The bottom floor had about 2 inches of water and we had a week of fans and dehumidifiers running 24 hours a day.   The good part is that we got new tile floors and much nicer, taller base boards.
Standing water in the kitchen
Installing new tile.

New baseboards and floor with the walls getting ready for new paint.


July brought Ashley and her boyfriend Brian for a birthday visit.   
The cute couple in the Black Corridor

Ashley having no problems on this 100+ foot climb in Pine Creek Canyon.


Brian made it look easy.
On the belay ledge before the happy couple got to do their first rappel

Ashley's birthday present, Gordon Ramsay's Steak House.

Near the end of the dinner, my plate spontaneously exploded!!  So, the entire feast was comped!!!!   The best food I have ever eaten, btw.

BIRTHDAY CHALLENGE TIME
For my 63rd birthday I lead 63 5.10 pitches in HCR allowing 5 laps for 5.10a and 10 laps for anything harder.   I ended up with 20x5.10a, 20x5.10b, 20x5.10c, and 3x5.10d (computer crash caused a loss of the original hi-res so I pulled these off my other blog)
Three laps on Crimp Scampi when I had already done over 45 pitches.

Huge thanks to Natalie who gave up her day of climbing to belay me.


Next day Nat got to onsight one of the best routes in Arkansas, Dumpster Diver 5.10b

A view of Dumpster Diver from below.

Most of the summer was spent training for.....
THE 24 HOURS OF HORSESHOE HELL!!

Nat showing how Leather and Lace rock. 


I let them have their way with my haircut
I now always put my age on my head to elicit sympathy from the youngsters.  It doesn't seem to work.

Maura and Jon get in the spirit!

Jeremy and Nate admiring our coordinated outfits.

Maura won Intermediate Women

Nat won Advanced Women

Nat and I earned our 100 route T-Shirt

One really fun thing that happened at the 24 this year.   I was the subject of a video project by Chelsey Rodgers.  Here is a link to it:
Thanks Chelsey.  You did great work considering the subject matter ;)

Natalie had an odd request for her birthday.  
BLACK ORPHEUS 
1000 foot, 11 pitches with no retreat after pitch two with the 5.10 crux three pitches from the top.   

Technical and exposed.

Nat on the sea of rock leading to the crux of Black Orpheus

The hardest 5.6 pitch you will ever climb.

 Next day we hit the hot springs for the first time.


Matt and Danny Zemler showed up for a brief stop with Brent Smitheren
Brent gopro'ed most of the climbing

The Zemler boys

One of the fun highlights of the fall was Joe and Brandy's wedding.   Six teams of two climbed three different multi-pitch routes to join up on Solar Slab ledge for the wedding.
Climbers arriving from different routes

The wedding ceremony high up on Solar Slab wall

Dave and Callie Vaughn showed up for adventures that always push my limits.  This trip's intimidating climb as Levitation 29, a 7 pitch 5.11c route

Dave lead every pitch with style and I was able to get everything clean except for the hardest 5 feet of the route.    Fun to follow routes that are beyond your ability to lead clean. 



 Top of Levitation 29

On Black Orpheus, I lost my phone hiking down the endless slabs in the dark.  The next day, another climber saw something shiny in a crack and FOUND MY PHONE.   Reward = lodging at casa Dower.  Zach and Cole hit us near the end of the year for Thanksgiving and we had some fun cragging together.

Cole on The Gambler

Zach on Hunter Thompson Dome

Christmas in Kansas City
Big get together at the Reuters.  It was nice to have Tyler mix in with the Reuter clan.

Nat with Tony and Vinnie and her mom and dad.

Ashley, Brian, Tyler, Nat and I had an early Xmas before Ashley and Brian headed to Colorado

Nice to visit Tyler and Sam.

As the year came to an end, Erin Shaw and Alan Burgess moved to town.   I think we will be doing a lot of climbing with this dynamic duo.  And believe it or not, he is a year older than I am but his climbing resume certainly puts anything I have done to shame.  Quite the character.
Erin, Alan and me cragging at Hunter Thompson

We finished up the year with a small gathering of locals and visitors for New Years

Typical casa Dower get together.  Colorado, California, Arizona and Las Vegas represented.

Another great year in Vegas.  

Milestones:  
I got married.   
I got over 100 routes again in 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell.
Shared the adventure of climbing Black Orpheus with my new wife.
I got up Levitation 29. 
Many new friends made and exciting new places visited.

Life is good.