Monday, May 25, 2009

God is great. Gear is good. Climbers are crazy.*

Back from the Gunks. Bug bitten, bruised, and very satisfied. Had a really nice weekend - and the weather cooperated amazingly so.

But first, let me say, I never thought I'd meet a squirrel I didn't want to shoot. I did, and got my free beer. Here's proof that we got together:
May the force be with you. Wait, that's not it.... We were both WFMU geeks and wore our t-shirts. It was really interesting to meet someone live in person you only know through blogging. I guess the beer helped. ;-) The girlfriend (very nice) was less fascinated than the family - sister: 'so, you only know each other virtually?' 'what do you write about?' I felt a little like a circus freak, but in a good way.

But, back to the climbing. I climbed with a woman who hasn't climbed much in a while, so we stayed on climbs 5.6 and under, which was good for me, given my hand and my side issues. We did many classics (Shockley's Ceiling, Frog's Head, Horseman among others). I was the guide and the sherpa, and that was perfectly fine with me, since I have been on the other side. Gotta pass on the love.

Here's proof of a good weekend. Nasty knees!

Now, when I say we stayed on 5.6 and under, you must understand that this is the Gunks we're talking about. Which means, that some climbs certainly felt a lot harder. Day 1 I did Shockley's Ceiling, which has a V1 boulder move to get over the ceiling. Great for someone with hand and back issues. I had to hang a couple times, but then I got angry and finally made it up and over. Poor K - I had to almost literally pull her up over the ceiling. She said it wasn't pretty at all. But she made it! And I must say, she's a trooper. The first day, the first climb I put her on, was a 5.6- (Rhodedendron). She took a fall on a nut, didn't get hurt, and went right back up.

What's wrong with this picture?
The answer to that question is that someone left the gear behind. And someone had to hike back up to get it. This was at the top of Shockley's Ceiling, and I was pooped so not as careful as I could/should have been. Thankfully at about 4:00 on Saturday it rained a little, and it gave us an excuse to leave. Both of us were dog tired, and given my issues, it was way better that we stopped.

Speaking of being an idjit, Day two we did Frog's Head. K did the second pitch. As I'm following up I feel hungry. But I didn't stop to eat something at the top before rappelling down. Stupid. So I went first, and stopped at the wrong rap station. K came down and I told her where to stop. So then I proceed to semi-free climb back up to that station (I had the rope like I was on rappel, and I sort of belayed myself back up). I get up to her, and take the rope out of the device before getting myself into the anchor. Stupidest thing imaginable. K noticed and got me to clip in, and it's a huge ledge so as dangerous, but still. Lesson learned yet again - eat when I'm hungry!!!!

Let's see - bugs. I got chigger bites. I got gnat bites. I got what I swear was bed bug bites, but K mentioned that I had sat on the bed for a while while she showered, so something could have transferred to the bed. Which she said the next morning, after she found me sleeping in the bathroom after I went and complained at 4 am in the hotel lobby and got a new pillow and blanket. So, I feel there's enough reasonable doubt that I can't spread the complaint far and wide. K had semi-insisted on being in a hotel so she paid most of it, so another reason I can't complain too much either.

We both got experience backing down off of a climb. Baby is a 5.6 three star with a 6 foot weird off-width about 20 feet up that has no gear. I put her on it. She backed down. I went on, and I knew I had done it before, but got up there, and realized, nope, not today. My friend M just had her ankle replaced on Friday - an ankle destroyed by a rock climbing fall, and I just didn't want to do it. And I'm not as strong as I can be, again given health issues. I feel it was a good decision.

*The country song lyric is: God is great. Beer is good. People are crazy.

Note: I was reminded by Squirrel that I left a few things hanging. 1-my hair cut. It's shoulder length with a lot of layers so it really frames my face. I really like it. And it will grow out well. 2- my blood work. It all came back negative and I have really good cholesterol levels, so my issues were not related to any blood thing. Which was frustrating at the time, but now I'm on bp meds again, and not going to the chiropractor, and since then, knock on wood, no migraines - even after this past weekend! But yes, I have to make it through today.

OK, I might need to work now.


Susan said...

I've decided I never need to go to a chiropractor--I'll just go ride wooden roller coasters!

Ugh to chiggers. I saw some on a wall at Kings Dominion that Lil' Bit was leaning against then flipped her out by screaming about it. Okay, I was a bit hyped up on sugar to try to explain my behavior.

Squirrel said...

I laughed out loud at the first sentence to the second paragraph. Thanks for not shooting me! Bacchus (generally) objects to that sort of thing.

FYI, I also feel like a circus freak whenever my sister starts asking me questions, so don't take it personally. It's not just you.

Also, I neglected to say on Saturday that your haircut is quite becoming. Good choice!

Churlita said...

Sounds fun, except for the bugs. Do we get to see a pic of your new do?

Pamela said...

Susan - you rode wooden ones?? I didn't know they still existed! As noted on your blog, I don't think you can see chiggers...

The bartender woman looked like she would shoot all the patrons, so not sure if I believe you. And why thank you on the compliment...

Churlita, bugs and legs... TIRED was I!

laura b. said...

Sounds like such a good weekend! As always, I sit with my jaw dropped reading about your climbs.
I'm glad to hear that your bloodwork was good and your hair is purty :-) Show us, and just do that little green box face!