Monday, May 6, 2013

Another vertical weekend

With Q and babysitter Griffin (also on stall rest with Q for the duration) entrusted into the caring hands of friends to feed/clean for the weekend, I headed down to the New for another few days of climbing with friends. After a long week of emotional ups and downs with the animals, I really needed this escape.

I got a late morning start on Friday, but arrived with plenty of time to tackle three climbs at the lake with the guys. They all climb a lot harder than I do - they also devote a lot more time to it than I have in recent years - but they're always so accommodating of my level and put up climbs for me to do. With time, I hope to lead climbs on my own mid-late summer, but I want to build up my strength and work on pushing back my irrational fear of falling (its seriously far more excessive than it should be) between now and then. Mostly, I want to be confident in my abilities.

Jeremy put up a 5.9 for me right away Friday once we got settled at the crag. I'd been on this climb before (Personal Pronoun) but it had been a few years. For some reason, it really kicked my ass. I got up between the second and third bolt and just let go, taking the mini-fall and the rope stretch/bounce. Push past the pain? Nonsense! Jeremy was a little astonished at me and gave me a real hard time for it. I shot back some snarky response and then finished the climb with one or two more hangs. Poor, sad, weak forearms!

I cleaned the route, watched the guys work an 11c around the corner, and then talked tricked Jeremy into going over to a wall with several easy climbs. I wanted to get on a 7 over there (That Eight), which had been my first lead ~4 years ago when I was climbing steadily. Jeremy tried to get me to lead it that day, but my fear rose up and at the second bolt I refused to go further, declaring he needed to give me more time and accept the small victory that I was finally comfortable cleaning a climb again after years of minimal climbing. (In college, I worked at a rock wall and climbed multiple times a week. I graduated and came home and have been climbing about 2x a year - yes, I'm aware how shameful this is considering my close proximity to Seneca and the New.) With consent to accept small victories, I shot up the 7 on top rope, cleaned it, then we did the same song and dance with Sniff the Drill, a 5.8 right next to That Eight.

I called it quits after this, my forearms screaming at me, and belayed Jeremy on an 11d (Simple Minds). The climb didn't go quite as simply as he'd hoped, so logically his friend and I heckled him encouraged him through it until to the end. Once he'd cleaned this route, we called the day and headed to Pies and Pints for dinner before rolling over to the cabin to meet friends for the night.

I'd been invited by Joe last minute on Thursday to a cabin with several of his climbing friends from Pittsburgh for the weekend. I only stayed the one night due to the horses, but it was fun to meet so many new people (from all over the world) and climb with them Saturday. And honestly, I doubt I could have kept up with the drinking on the second night anyway! Haha.

: : : : :

Saturday was a slow start. We made breakfast and sat around the cabin until around 10a when we (Joe, Jeremy and I) finally rolled out to Bubba City for the day. I started my day with Jeremy and Joe at Central Bubba, but upon learning that everyone else had actually arrived two walls down from us at Beer Wall, Kenai and I walked down there to join them on a cluster of easier climbs.

I'd barely stood at the new crag for 30 seconds when they noted that a 5.7 (Gilded Otter) was open. It was a great warm up for me before my second climb, St. Pauli Girl, a 10b two climbs to the right. St. Pauli Girl was a tricky climb for me because while my mind remembers how I need to maneuver my body to work through it, my body is too weak to follow suit right now. The start was super balancey for me and took a few goes, but it went on the third try. The climb really presented itself in three separate parts to me and I worked through each section bit by bit. It was a puzzle to figure out how I wanted to move through it and then get my body to follow suit with what I'd figured. Overall, it was a really awesome climb and something I definitely hope to hit up again when I've got more strength.

After climbing St. Pauli Girl, I took some time to belay another girl in the group up Daisy Cutter, a 5.7 friends suggested that she lead. She is just like me when it comes to leading/falling/fear. The climb is a chimney climb (big crack) and mostly just a big pain in the ass if you don't love that kind of thing. She led it up to the 3rd bolt and then fear got the best of her and I lowered her. I didn't blame her one little bit. She did a HELL of a lot more than I would have. I was really proud of her for her progress in pushing past her fear multiple times on the part she did. It was really good for me to get to climb with someone who shares the same silly level of fear I do about things (and she climbs harder than me on climbs that are on top rope).

Fortunately for us, as I was lowering her, Joe and Jeremy walked up. Jeremy oped to lead the 7 the rest of the way for us (and even he shared a story about a rough chimney climb once and even sat in thought about how to maneuver through this one several times), and then I top roped it. I don't know how the girl I'd belayed got as far as she did. Even on top rope that damn thing was tricky! My commentary as I climbed it was pretty comical because I was so frustrated about the chimney, but I did push through and finish it. I don't know that I learned much from the experience (stupid chimneys), but I'm glad I completed it despite difficulty.

high feet!
My final climb of the day was Cerveza Verde, a really crimpy 5.9. I LOVED this climb. It played to my
strengths and I was able to zip up it without any issue. Super crimpy with high feet. Love, love, love. Definitely a climb I'd like to lead if I can work through my fear to get to that level.

Between all of my climbing these two days I belayed a lot, too. It was really fun to get back into the full swing of climbing. Seven climbs in two days, second time climbing in a month, two more climbing weekends planned in the next two weekends. Its good to be back.

I grabbed dinner at Diogi's with Jeremy and then rolled home late Saturday night. I was whooped Sunday morning, but it was so worth it. Such a great weekend! Thanks to all who made it awesome.

And now, have some photos - mostly of Kenai being the most awesomely chill crag dog ever!

Lake puppy!
He's wearing his PFD because its good for lowering him down the ladders
But much to Kenai's surprise/displeasure, we didn't have to lower him down the ladders this trip
Because clearly firefighter training means you're capable of carrying a 64lb. dog up and down a ladder
Luna Moth outside Pies and Pints
Giggling after doing some silly dance <3
I was cold
HIGH feet!
Crimpy crimpy everything

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