I got them low down, post-climbing weekend bluuuuues

Posted: March 15, 2005 in Uncategorized

Our buddy Nick evaluates Mines of Moria across the river

The start of climbing season to me is like being reincarnated. You wander out of your winter bouldering cave, blinking at the sun, and touch the rock gingerly at first, feeling the texture and temperature that is both familiar and strikingly new after so many months of uniformly smooth, room-temperature plastic. Once you start moving, your body starts to remember old lessons you learned the hard way from last season, and you begin to push harder, reawakening muscles and skills, and starting new lessons.

This weekend brought back Smith season for me in the best way possible. Saturday was spent on the Lower Gorge, an area I’d never touched before. We shredded our hands on a few different routes, including Mantra, a 10a that kicked all our asses and constituted my very first attempt at trad leading when I had to try and finish a route. My budding trad lead was however cut short after placing just a single red Alien and falling on it immediately, but never in all my trad practice have I placed a piece so fast.

In celebration of a quiet, masochistic day in the Gorge that left us looking like we’d spend our day punching in car windows, we headed into Redmond for burgers and beer, and headed back to camp with last-minute booze and a scavanged palette for firewood. Fire blazing and heads spinning, we finished the day with stories and plans, along with a campground moth we met earlier in the Gorge who in exchange for a seat next to the fire told us epic stories of trips to El Cap, from 2-man bivvys in 1-man caves to 140-foot runnout pitches with a partner who didn’t speak English.

Sunday we left the racks in the car to save our battered hands and headed up Misery Ridge to do some sport climbs away from the crowds. I got in a lead on a short, pumpy 10a and toproped clean a 10b with holds so sharp, I was glad the cold of the shade left my fingers numb.

Apart from drastically colder temperatures on Saturday night, the weather was perfect, with crystal-clear views of the entire Cascade range. Coming back to the office on Monday was a rather drastic let-down, and I spent the day mentally pacing, watching the sunny day outside pass me by.

Highlights of the weekend:

  • Did a 10b clean as the first climb of the weekend
  • Climbed nothing but 10s all weekend, including a 10c
  • First trad piece placed on lead, followed immediately by first fall on a self-placed trad piece
  • Avoided the Smith crowds the entire weekend
  • Hung out with good friends and hard climbers
  • Comments
    1. muffster says:

      I am not so blue today… but still restless. I find myself already planning my next trip ๐Ÿ˜€

    2. Anonymous says:

      I am not so blue today… but still restless. I find myself already planning my next trip ๐Ÿ˜€

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