It’s been so long…

Posted: April 19, 2012 by None Smith in Climbing, English, Training
Tags: , , , ,

It’s been so long since I last wrote a blog post. I’ve been going from busy with work to busy with personal

Busy Climbing! Leading Horseman's at the Gunks.

matters and back and forth again. All while trying to keep up with this project, which, as Ben has mentioned, is a full time job in and of itself. Regardless, what have I been up to?

With Easter and Passover last week, local schools had a week of vacation. So where did parents bring their children to keep them entertained? To the rock gym of course for a week full of “Spring Break Rock Camp” and more. Needless to say it was wild. 12 hour days dealing with some of the best and worst of kids trying to pull all sorts of shenanigans on the instructors.

On Friday, we had a line out the door, three belay classes and two kids parties of at least 15 kids in each all going on at the same time. Chaos doesn’t even begin to describe the scene. I was instructing one of the belay classes while this was all going down. As I was giving my students the final test and watch them tie in and belay, I literally had kids running in and out, weaving between me and my students. I had to yell instructions to the belay class while they were still on the ground.

For anyone that’s worked with kids – they can be exhausted. I would get home at night and just want to sleep. But sleep only goes so far. People need a buffer, an activity to break up thoughts from work. Since spring has fully unloaded itself on the north east (70+ degrees F days!), everyone at the gym has been planning trips to the famous Gunks. The topic I write about all the time.

A friend topping out on Easy Overhang - her first Gunks climb!

We went on Sunday. I went today. We’re going tomorrow. Going back to the gym just doesn’t seem worth it…

Following up on Ben’s post about the importance of knots, I always like to think about the importance of mental clarity while climbing and how it will play an important role in our long expedition. I’ll give you an example. While climbing Easy Overhang this morning with a friend of mine, I passed through a section on pitch 2 in which I couldn’t find any suitable cracks or openings for placing protection. In trad (short for traditional) climbing, as you climb you place protection (camming devices, nuts) into the rock to protect

A spring loaded camming device in a rock - that's protection!

you if you fall. I could find no spots for suitable protection. I look down and notice my last protection is around 15 feet below me. On pitch 2 we’re now 140 feet off the ground. At the American rating of 5.2 I don’t think I’ll fall, but a fall would be a long drop with a potential for hitting other rocks.

Keeping a cool head is key. Focusing on the next solid hand hold and foot hold is important. Keeping an eye on where to place your next protection is your goal. As we bike for hundreds of miles or slog across frozen tundra and ice, keeping that calm and focused attention will be vital to our success. The large goal is attained by focusing on doing the next step successfully.

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