Two days ago was “my day.” It was an experiment of sorts, and so far it’s been doing wonders for our relationship. 🙂 On “my day” I got to make all the big decisions and decide where we would climb. Drexel was the perfectly supportive side kick as I tried some new hard projects at LRC. It was humbling and exciting to try things at my limit. My favorite, and the one I came closest to finishing, was Jerry’s Kids (v7) but it’s not going to be easy. Being too weak to climb a certain problem is what keeps this sport interesting. With my current muscles and skin, I am no match for these problems. Trying them is like training, which is essential to improvement, but it doesn’t have the same tangible rewards. I’m learning the importance of determination and patience. The only actual send of the day was Swingers (v4), which still felt like an accomplishment after falling off the awkward mantle sooo many times with Olivia last week. I gave up trying to balance myself, and just popped a right foot up, and suddenly it was over. Why we never tried that any other time is beyond me.
Yesterday (Thursday) was “Drexel’s day.” We spent two hours at Middle Creek while Drexel got epic on Deliverance (v10). It was cold and dry and perfect. I set up a nice little chair in the sun, huddled under a blanket, and finished Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (same author as The Little Prince). Drexel climbed. He got hungry. I ran back to the van to make him a PBJ. He climbed. I massaged the pump out of his forearms. The sun moved. I moved the camera. He wobbled and cursed and finally, he held his balance perfectly through the crux move, changed a foot placement, and sustained enough power to get to the top. It was pretty amazing to watch the whole process.
The rest of the day was still “his,” and he wanted to head back to Rocktown. We got there around 4pm and went straight to the boulder field.
There are some problems that, I don’t know quite why, begin to feel like family. Nose Candy was/is one of those problems. I have no idea why, but I picture it in my head like a close cousin, or maybe a cute little niece, with pigtails and a lollipop. Yesterday afternoon, wearing my brand spanking new hot pink junior sweatpants from Walmart (inspired by Julie Ann’s previous purchase), we had a lovely little warm-up at Hueco, and then bee-lined it to Nose Candy. Drexel promised to drink a bottle of wine if I sent. With that incentive, I surprised myself by getting it first go of the day! It felt…. easy. I was in a state of shock at first. I had done the lower section upwards of 20 times, always chuffing on the final jump to the jug. I don’t know what was different this time, except that we had been away from it for a week. But then reality set in, and I felt waves of contentment hitting me, like warm ocean waves breaking on the shore, a soft rhythmic happiness filled my entire being. If every climb gave people this feeling, I don’t think there would be wars, or violence, or drugs. I think everyone would just look around them and smile a lot.
The sun hadn’t begun to droop yet, so Drexel marched us to the Comet Boulder. Just for funsies, we got on Standard Deviation (v6). I hadn’t been able to do the last move, which is a huge dyno (for my short arms at least). I tried it a couple times, came five inches short of the top, and finally said screw it to jumping. Instead I found a really bad but existent undercling crimp higher up that allowed me to get a much higher foot, and then I just stood up straight to the top. Tada!
The sun sank down into a pink and orange pool cradled by dark skeletal trees as we hiked out. We were still basking in the warm waves of happiness that were lapping at our satisfied hearts. The feeling stayed with us as we hung out in the van eating our standard pasta + veggies for dinner, passing around a bottle of wine with Andrew who staked out a sweet camping spot farther back in the woods.
Today is a pretty lazy day. We slept in pretty late (e.g. 9am). It was so nice waking up to the sun’s slow reaching rays, instead of the glaring streetlights of Whole Foods. We met three different couples yesterday who are nearing the ends of their climbing road trips. I’m looking forward to reading their blogs and maybe picking up some handy tips on van life.
If anyone is interested (and for my own future reference), the blogs are: