Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Real Kind of Climbing

I'm a fan of the "Better late than never!" attitude towards life and in that vein, here's a story from Thanksgiving.

My brief November jaunt up towards Massachusetts was filled with lots of excitement and entertainment even though the Monday before I drove up I was a mess (read: pulling an all-nighter).  I terrified the daylights out of my mom when I called her up on Tuesday morning because I couldn't find my car keys after packing up my "I look like I'm moving out for 2 weeks" luggage (turns out the couch cushions devoured them). The drive up was mostly innocuous. I only screamed at a dozen drivers on the way up, particularly in Connecticut (even after six years of living there, I have no patience for their drivers).

I was in a little bit of a hurry because I was on a mission to meet Steve! from LivingVertical!!! (yes, the exclamation points are very necessary). Scheduling is always a nightmare since I fill my schedule to the brim and he's a professional road trip-er with limitless destinations (figuratively and literally). We managed to figure out a few hours to climb a very accessible crag just south of Boston. 

The approach (aka the distance from where you park to where you climb) was the shortest and easiest I had ever seen. Usually there's at least a short hike involved that puts me a little out of breath but this was shorter, easier, and more scenic than a walk from a mall parking spot to the entrance. I arrived a little early so I scouted around the "little" rock jutting out from leaf carpeting without slipping too much. The place was perfect for some suburban climbing. Easily accessible from the highway. Lots of routes with diverse levels of difficulty  Readily usable natural anchors. Perfect in many ways.

Unfortunately, we hadn't quite planned for the lack of light (silly sun setting at 5pm) so we only manage to test one particular line and explore a little bouldering (aka climbing sans rope). I hadn't been out in the real outdoors or even in a climbing gym so I was a little stiff and holding on far too hard. Eventually I loosened up enough to make it about halfway up a route. Steve was kind enough to be patient and encouraging. Especially with the bouldering. Note, there are no rule to outdoor climbing. Up. Across. Go where the natural rock holds lead you. Just remember to be safe and to relax. Over gripping just ruins everything. The whole experience was nice except for when I feared I lost my new Dexcom receiver in the dark underbrush after only having had the gadget for about 2 weeks. Luckily, I'm just a spazzy space cadet with an over abundance of pockets to stash my essential goodies and safely located it before packed up and proceeded to storytelling by the cars.

Lessons I learned:
  1. Falling is good... but having someone you trust to spot you is essential. Hopefully I'll experience more of that to get over my fear.
  2. I am detail oriented over concise. Steve says "Kit" and I say "Applesauce+CGM"
  3. Cleaning up after yourself. We saw some less than savory things out on the crag.
  4. My compliments are not exactly complimentary...I may have told him he looked like a squirrel. At least I'm memorable, right?
  5. Every little tweet, like, shout out brings warmth and joy to others. Let people know you're reading what their writing. Even if it's something small like "Love this." The interwebs are better when it's interactive.
The only photo I managed to get of Steve
If you want to see how meta the photo is, check out this.

My family's Thanksgiving dinner.
We insisted on having the neighbors over because there was no way to eat that much food.
I took leftovers that lasted for a week... 

Now, let's see if I can manage to be a little more timely with my next update of adventures...