Saturday, August 22, 2015

I'll Have A Day On The Rocks, Please.

In my last post, I mentioned that I'd taken up rock climbing since I moved to Colorado, but I didn't really say anything else about it. That's because I'm basically in love with rock climbing and it deserves its very own post.

You may remember when I went to AZ with Leo, he took me on my first rock climbing adventure. My second climbing venture happened on my trip to Italy. While I was there I met a complete stranger off of tinder who offered to take me climbing. Of course, everyone in Italy then was a complete stranger. But this one was an American stationed in Vicenza. So I met him at the train station with my shoes, a beaner, my ATC, and enough webbing to make a harness (because that's all the rock climbing gear I took on my backpacking trip), jumped in his car, and let him drive me to a whole other city half an hour away. Yes, I recognize the safety concerns involved in this endeavor, but you know what? I'm still here. And I got to go rock climbing. And I made an awesome friend that day! Paul, who I still talk to, took me to Lugminano and explained how it had been one of the biggest rock climbing places in Italy back in the 80's. It was probably a class 3 hike in, but there were soooo many routes! Paul didn't know what the names of the routes were, or what they were graded at (they use a different grading system in Europe than we do here in the states, anyway) but it was fun!

Climbing in Lugminano, Italy. Paul let me borrow his harness!
That day I basically decided when I came back to the states I was going to go learn to climb somewhere.. I initially thought I was going to buy a beat up old van or something and drive it to red rocks just outside of Vegas and just camp out and climb for a few months. Obviously, that's not what happened. And I'm glad it didn't. I really like frequent showers.

When I moved most of my things up here to Colorado in May, I wasted exactly zero time. I was only here for a week before I was to start my road trip to the North East, pretty much only owned what I'd had in Italy plus a harness (climbing in a Swiss seat made from webbing is never fun), I had no idea what I was actually doing, didn't know anyone in the area who climbed, and I had a severely pulled bicep tendon that was still healing. None of those seemed like good reasons to not go climbing. It took me all of two days in Colorado before I found a random person on facebook with enough experience to teach myself and my new roommate the climbing basics. Again, I met two complete stranger in a parking lot at some ungodly early hour and drove off into the mountains with them. Except this time with my roommate. I have yet to regret a spontaneous adventure, and I'm quite glad I took this one.
My roommate and I, climbing at Clear Creek.

I learned the basics of climbing that day, and since I got back from my road trip, I've gone on several climbing ventures. In the last two months I've gone from someone who didn't know what cleaning was to climbing a multi-pitch called "Lost in the Jungle," leading and cleaning routes up to 5.9s, and just last week I climbed a 5.10C called "Via Comatose Amigo." To say that I'm in love with this sport would be putting it mildly. My goal is to be able to lead a 5.11 by the end of the year, and perhaps one day do a climbing competition. Which makes me wonder why I'm sitting on my couch right now instead of climbing... I should do something about that.
Making my way up Via Comatose Amigo - A 5.10C