Planning for the Gunks – From Bad to Great

Posted: March 6, 2012 by None Smith in Climbing, English, Training
Tags: , , , , , ,

On Wednesday, I was prepared for a fun weekend of rock climbing at the Gunks. On Thursday, my whole weekend fell apart.

A week earlier I had posted in ‘s East Coast climbers forum looking for a partner to head to the Shawangunk Ridge, (full name for “the gunks”), the east coast’s famous climbing spot for a weekend of climbing. A man from Boston sent me a message, we discussed ability and gear and planned for a weekend. We were ready to go and I was damn excited.

That weekend was March 3rd and 4th. Earlier in that week a storm had passed through the area and another day of rain was in the forecast for Saturday. When the meteorologist described the chance or rain he described it as “isolated showers” yet with a 70% likelihood of occurring. I was divided. I had an inkling that we’d be good for the day, and told the Bostonian I didn’t mind a little rain and adventure, and waited for Saturday to arrive. That was Tuesday. Thursday evening, I received a message from him saying the weather looked bad, and it would be best to reschedule for another weekend. Understandable as he had a four-hour drive ahead of him to reach the cliffs. With my intuition still strong and believing that the weather would hold for Saturday, I sent a last-ditch message telling him to give me a call if he changed his mind.

The next day, Friday, I still received no messages. Knowing my climbing was called off, my manager, Jamie, asked me if I’d be willing to come in on Saturday. With my plans shattered, and this rain seemingly imminent – I agreed. I spent my whole Saturday at work, and the worst part was that every time I looked out the window I saw the sun. No rain, no wetness, just sun and warmth. I even received a message on twitter from the Gunks Climbers Coalition (who knew I was trying to climb over the weekend and also thought the forecast looked bad) asking if I got to climb as the weather in New Paltz that day was superb. Needless to say, I was itching to get outside in the worst of ways. How frustrating.

At one point, Jamie saw me looking outside and asked, “how you holding up, Norm?” I said I was fine albeit a little frustrated that I wasn’t climbing. He followed up with, “Want to climb tomorrow?” I immediately agreed and was elated – we were set to meet at the gym early in the morning and head up to the gunks to get a full day of climbing in. It was also good to be able to climb with an experienced trad climber – he is an American Mountain Guides (AMGA) Single Pitch Instructor certified.

That week had its fair shares of ups and downs. From here, it seemed to only go up. I had emailed my old trad instructor (from Mountain Skills) asking if he had any old trad gear that he’d be willing to sell off. Turns out he did. That Saturday night I drove up to meet him, he put together a nice single rack that works well for the gunks, and then offered me an unbelievably low price. Sold. How could I turn it down?

Every thing was set in motion – I had just acquired my first trad climbing rack, had a partner for Sunday’s climbing and the forecast called for mostly sunny. We were good to go…

  1. Ethan Zook says:

    I still haven’t been able to make it to the Gunks yet. Deffy on my list. If you’re ever in the south-east, let me know! We’ll go to Seneca and play on some steep sandstone!

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