Sometimes things don't go as planned, and that's alright.

Yesterday we planned to go out to St. Helena to set up a highline during a brief break in the storm.  The forecast called for rain before 10am, then mostly cloudy the rest of the day... so we were in no rush to get there early.  After a miscommunication with my buddy Conner about where I was meeting him and his friends, we finally linked up (after a detour through San Francisco, 1.5 hours later than an already late start).  We make it up to Helena and slog all the highline, climbing, and camera gear straight up the mountain, only to find that our two locations are clouded in so heavily that you could barely see anything.  We decide to go ahead and begin setting up the highline and pray for a break in the clouds long enough to try and snap some photos.  Conner had been mentioning free soloing Hailstone Arete, and decides he wants to go for it real quick before we begin the highline setup.  I've seen Conner solo before, and much harder routes, but this never really sits easy with me.  As much as I love taking pictures of him soloing, I hate taking pictures of him soloing. To try and get a usable photo I scramble up a nearby tower to get a better view of the route.  I can barely see across they way due to the clouds, but as Conner begins climbing something amazing happens... the clouds open up and we get about 8 minutes of light, just enough time for him to climb the route. Incredible.  I snap shot after shot of him climbing and I feel the adrenaline of capturing such a unique moment each time my shutter clicks. I'm also thinking I will have taken the last shots of my friend if he falls...what a rush! Conner is cool and calculated the whole way up, never losing focus. He tops out, and we hoot and holler while we are again engulfed in clouds and wind.  Now the fun begins...we struggle to build anchors on the towers for the highline and string the gear across because our fingers are cold and numb.  The cold wind is cutting right through my pants.  We battle the elements and the light and eventually decide to call it off due to the conditions, just minutes away from a potential walk.  Mother Nature allowed us a window to get some shots, and was now telling us not to get greedy.  So we break down the anchors and gear and head back down the mountain in the dark.  The "trail" we took down was not very straightforward, and I begin to think we are going to have a mini epic and sleep up here on the mountain... but eventually we find a solid trail and make it back to the car.  Maybe we were a little disappointed about not getting the highline up, but we got some good shots and we were heading home happy and healthy.  Sometimes things don't go as planned, and that's alright.