Sunday, July 6, 2008

Weekend and scavenger hunt rolled into one

My migrane is finally gone and so I'm eating some toast and figured I'd post. (What a poet am I.) Back from the Gunks - and despite a horrible forecast, we were able to climb as much as we wanted, with a delayed start on Saturday due to heavy rain the night before. It actually was perfect weather, and since the forecast had been so bad, empty at the rocks. And, btw, also missing my husband since his group decided not to drive up given the forecast. Anxiety gone. And since we were a group of three, there's photos to share!

This is my friend climbing a chimney. She actually likes doing this - but chimneys are not my favorite. You have to get your entire body into them. Often the gear is minimal so you are wedging yourself up the rock bit by bit either the way she is doing it or with feet on one side of the wall and back against the other side.

This is me rounding a corner on a climb. You can see all the crap you have to carry - I have a water carrier thingie since I need food and water regularly. And some people carry their gear on their belt but I use a sling. I tried it on the belt once but it changes you center of gravity and for me it was so much harder to climb, I use the shoulder harness.

This was the reward for getting to the top. Blueberries!!! So many! and So BIG! We spent 1/2 hour every time we'd get to the top picking and eating blueberries. Yummmmmmmm. Actually, over in the Trapps there were even some blueberries growing on the walls, so I stopped on one rappel and ate some. Yummmmmmm. (and to fulfill my scavenger hunt, I'll note that I did not clean them before I ate them). The one downside to all this was that this is chigger country, and I have at least 10 all over my body (though centered on the crotch area because that's where they like to go).

This is a view you often get when the leader is starting the second pitch of a climb. All you can see are their un-clean feet (scavenger hunt again).

I wasn't belaying so I had time to look around and photograph, and saw this face through the rock. Can you see it?

This is me starting to climb Morning After on Saturday morning. What you cannot see well is how wet the climb is. I actually fell on the first piece (a tricam - my first fall on a tricam - and my belayer was great - I didn't hit the ground because she squatted and maybe also stepped back. I did pull a muscle in my right arm, but was so mentally prepared to climb that I just kept climbing). And later my friend told me when I was putting a piece in about where you see me now when I pulled on the nut to make sure it was set, water spurted out of the crack. So let's say this first pitch was a bit challenging.

This is me at the top of the second pitch belaying up the second follower. You can see the rope that ties me to the anchor. I had to extend the rope quite a bit because the tree was so far away. Both ropes to me should be taut, but at the time, it was good enough for me. I'm kind of hunched over because I had to bend over to pull up the rope and feed it through the belay device. It's best to belay from right at the edge so there's no rope drag and also to make sure the rope doesn't knock any loose rocks off the edge. Refer back to my lion queen episode to see how it feels sometimes standing there peering off into the distance.

Part of the reason it was good enough was that I was so mentally dead at the top of that second pitch. I had rounded a corner and gone over a small roofie and did some face climbing. Well, this climb is rated PG, which means the protection is ok - there's a potential for a big fall due to lack of availability of protection but the climber shouldn't get seriously injured. Well, I got to one spot halfway up the face where my last piece was at my feet (actually two pieces since I knew the next moves would be difficult) and I did not have any placement for gear that I could see, and I did not have very good handholds and footholds.

I stood there for at least 15 minutes saying to myself over and over "it will all be ok, everything will be ok" - standing on my tippie toes since the only decent hold I could reach was available to one hand, and only if I stood on my tippie toes, and I had to switch hands every minute because I had no idea which way to go. When I finally made that move, STILL there was no gear and no good holds, so I was PETRIFIED and screamed/grunted up the next 10 or so feet until I had a good handhold. With each move up those 10 feet I thought I was going to fall. When I got a good handhold, I just screamed 'fuck me' because I was so pissed I had had to do that, and also said, never fucking again. I don't often scream that much, and it is kind of verbal pollution, but dammit, I was petrified. I think technically it was only rated 5.7 but when you have no gear below you and the holds are not bomber, it is SCARY. But I got the second pitch clean (again, scavenger hunt).

My friends who followed me were impressed with my lead head. I did pay the price since when I got down I realized really how I hurt my arm - I can't pick stuff up really and it's difficult to reach my arm back. So, we didn't climb on Sunday - just drove back.

So, you've gotten lots of photos and stories, and if it isn't enough, then bleh to you. :-) This was a nice dog at the bottom, who hung out with his tongue sticking out.

OK, I just read Churlita's post and realized I'm a week behind in the word. Oh well, sorry. I'll just say after the first day, I actually had a drink (a beer) but after the second day I was so wiped, my drink of choice was Root Beer.


Mel said...


K.....the berries woulda been awesome, but wow--the work to get 'em!

<--BIG chicken

But what great photos of what appears to have been an awesome climbing adventure.

*sending healing thoughts*

Squirrel said...

The blueberries up on the ridge have been great for the past week or so, of course, being lazy, I have a somewhat easier method of procurement...

I love the sticker on the back of your friend's helmet.

Glad you lived to tell the tale of Saturday's climb!

Tera said...

You said crotch.

M. Robert Turnage said...

She may have said said "crotch" but she really meant "chigger crotch." Which sounds like a superhero power to me. "Stand back, fiends, or I'll use my Chigger Crotch on you."

NoRegrets said...

Thanks Mel!
Hey Squirrel. Yes, I was going to note that in my narrative, but wanted to see if anyone noticed it. Climb Like a Girl. Women actually tend to be better at technique especially in the beginning, because they have less strength to fall back on.
MRT-Oh my... I have this desire to try and produce a graphic graphic for that. You can all be happy I have no such skills.

WNG said...


and... uh...


I culd never do that, but it looks like fun. I could hang out at the bottom and play with the dog and watch your stuff...and eat bluberries!!!

Susan said...

That face is so awesome!!

The CEO said...

I am in awe of your accomplishments. So this is how you stay slim and fit like a gazelle! Well done!

Churlita said...

I used to do some rock climbing, but i hated how scraped up my hands and fingers got. I guess I'm a big baby, huh?

NoRegrets said...

WNG, you could be, as they say, a belay slave too!
Susan, isn't it though? I thought it was way cool.
CEO. Ha. slim and fit like a gazelle. You should see some upclose photos of me standing up top belaying, slouching with my stomach sticking out. ha.
Churlita, it does do negative wonders for your hands.

evil-e said...

Props to you for doing it. I have never climbed before...I probably could learn, but have never done it.

I will let the lack of drinking slide..I understand.

laura b. said...

Good save on the Sat Scavenger thing!

I am awed by the rock climbing. I have a desperate fear of heights.