Matt finished his lead climbing course (congrats), did one session at the gym and did his first proper lead climbs (another congrats). Since then he has been ill. Ill to the point of going to the hospital, losing 15lbs and being tired from a walk that was only a block in distance. It was a little sketchy for a bit and I can honestly say it spooked both of us at one point with Matt reaching a temperature of 39.9c (103.8f). Highlight for me? I can now say (now that he is well) the ambulance ride was fun for me. Ask Matt and he will give you a different story though. 😉
On top of that I found out that I busted my thumb. It took me days to realize it. I tend to punish my hands while climbing. I had the pleasure of finding this out just as I started my lead climbing course. Needless to say I’ve dropped down several levels of climbing grades as a result which is hard for me as I have been improving loads lately but it will all come back. I know it.
We’ve been a mess. Matt finally is getting his appetite back (gained 3lbs!) and doesn’t tire as much. His energy is coming back and I can tell from the amount of climbing videos he’s been watching that he is itching to get back on the wall. Hopefully he will be on a climbing wall by the end of the week. I wear a funny splint for two more weeks and then have to be extra careful. Do you know how hard it is to open a can of pop with a crappy thumb? Really. It’s tough.
To tie it all off with a nice little bow I took my first official nasty dismount of my bike this morning. Face plant and all. Lucky for my busted right thumb I took the impact on my left side, which is now all sore to hell. Tonight’s lead climbing class should be fun!
Last Sunday morning we were dressed by 8am and hit the road towards Niagara Falls. A bunch of climbers from TCA, our local climbing hang, had organized a day of bouldering in Niagara Glen. Neither Matt nor I have ventured outside of the huge man-made boulder at TCA with colorful routes which makes it easy to follow! So we thought this would be a great opportunity to try out our skills and learn from others in the process.
The weather was just right. We all headed into the Glen and started to look for routes. There was a dozen or so of us all ranging from beginners to intermediate experience which ended up being a great mix.
There was a wicked traverse to start off with. Get your feet and hands familiar with the rock. What a difference from the indoors. There is no colored route to follow; you have to feel it all out yourself which made my mind go into overdrive. The texture of the rock was so different from some holds I’ve gotten used to. I also had the pleasure of playing with many underclings (my enemy). I made an attempt at a highball (high wall) and my mental barrier of heights smacked me in the face and I retreated.
Matt was like a kid in a candy shop! He tried everything out and did it well. He managed his first highball (two of them in fact) and a few other bouldering problems as well. The best was watching him do it the first time and then him going back and trying it again differently, more effectively.
A good chunk of the afternoon I ended up observing – watching movements, hand placements, feet etc. If I wasn’t bouldering I was observing and taking in the Glen. Even if you are sweating and trying out some moves that may be beyond your comfort zone, the scenery of the Glen took it all away. It is that sweet there. I walked away trying out some problems, taking in advice, meeting some awesome people and generally having a blast!
A nice walk past Niagara Falls afterwards ensued followed by great tunes, thai food and some reflection. I have a feeling that we will be regulars at the Glen 😉
*Rookie move of the day? .. saying that a hold was “in”. In? *smack head here* Every hold is in, you numpty. It’s all the same effing color. Ugh.
Last night I finished my lead climbing course at the Climbing Academy. Week 1 was all about clipping as you climb, week 2 was belaying a leader, and last night was cleaning the anchors and how to take a fall. I was a bit nervous about the falling bit, but in practice it was pretty stress-free. Well, stress-free for me anyway. Sean, the instructor who was belaying me, is about 2/3 of my weight so when I took a fall he went for a bit of a ride. Video below…
Having failed to get to the top of Mt Whitney last year, we decided to try again this year. Lots of people want to climb Mt Whitney, so they have a lottery system to decide who gets a permit. We applied for a permit when the lottery opened in February and have been anxiously waiting to hear ever since. This morning I checked my credit card statement (for about the 20th time) and there’s a $30.05 charge from “USFS, Inyo NF” which is without doubt the reservation fee for our Mt Whitney permit. So we’re in. We won’t know what dates we’ve got until the official paperwork arrives in the mail, but the important thing is that we’re going, some time in late May or June. There’s lots to plan, and a load of training to do, but at least we know what we’re letting ourselves in for this year.
Update April 6th: The permit paperwork arrived in the mail yesterday. We have a permit for 29th June to 2nd July. That would make the logical summit day (assuming the weather plays ball) the 1st July, aka Canada Day. This could work out nicely. 🙂