We knew we were going to be cutting it close, we knew we would be tired, but we always thought we were going to make it.
We started the week out in California welcomed by smoke from wildfires initially in San Francisco and a talkative old Airbnb host. Hoping for a reprieve from the cold in Chattanooga we met some good folks, revisited some good folks and got good work done with some of our brands. After all the work was done we were excited to be on the way to Horse Pens and a couple days of climbing despite the 4am wake up call and a long day of travel. We landed in Denver for our connecting flight to Atlanta to find that it had been cancelled, and United had no real plan to try to get us to Atlanta. We actually were notified the night before of its cancellation, but being several beers in, TJ was convinced it was a glitch after glancing at a radar. After lots of back and forth with the lady at the counter we had flights.... Except it went to Houston first and didn't land in Atlanta until 3pm on Saturday - which means we wouldn't make it to Horse Pens at all. So after much more back and forth with the attendant and some moaning on our part we had standby tickets to Atlanta and some meal vouchers. We maxed out the meal vouchers on some Chick-fil-a and went over our options - maybe we should just rent a car and drive in to Horse Pens, if we left now we would just make it in time for things to kick off? But we also wouldn't have any camping gear and would still have to drive to Atlanta after to pick up TJ's truck that was waiting for us at the airport.... Maybe a bit over zealous. However, it would make a great story and we envisioned arriving the morning of with eagles soaring and fans cheering our effort.
We kept weighing our options and walked over to the standby flight to check in, if it came down to not making it at least we could roll in to Denver and go to the climbing gym for a bit before our flight to Houston. We asked the lady at the counter for any updates and found out I was pretty high on the list but TJ was 11 spots behind me. Puzzled because TJ had booked the tickets and flies a lot more than I do so we asked how they determined who is up first? She simply said "status", we looked at each other and laughed - which happens quite often in nearly every situation we find ourselves in together. So here we go, what do we do if only one of us can make it? We decided if I got on I would take TJ's truck and go on to Horse Pens, at least Metolius would be represented and I could get some photos of the event. But it wasn't looking good, the flight was filling up and they weren't calling any names. We kept our eyes on the screen and right as the last people were boarding my name got a checkmark by it.
TL;DR - I made it to HP late Friday night and TJ didn't make it, despite being tired I was there for the comp and was able to snag some photos. Feel free to use them if you see some you like just give us a tag and a follow @ontheroadandoff
Hope to see all of you next year at the Triple Crown's, if not before.