Monday, June 27, 2005

My Virgin FA Lead

I've been helping my friend a little bit with his first ascents, down in Georgia, and it is something I really, really enjoy. Going to an area that is quiet, where I might see no one but my partenr during the entire day, clearing away brush from the trails to be, pulling dirt and vines from the cracks, dodging runaway rocks that, though my partner warned were on their way, and tossed in the opposite direction as my stance, seem to willfully alter their trajectory once hitting ground.....maybe this is not for some people, but I find it exhillerating.

The thought of following a line that nobody else has gone up, not knowing how the thing will turn out - no Hansel & Gretel trail of breadcrumb-like chalk to follow should I find myself lost - and the real questions.....Will it go, and how will I get there?.....this, to me, is climbing at it's best.

I think it became clear to me I'd be wanting to go for FA's last year, when I'd been about 3 months climbing outside, and my friend gave me a tour of Peterskill, a part of the Minnewaska Preserve in New York. We were walking the cliffline and he said "Here is where the climbs end." Something inside me clicked. I looked ahead and saw the cliffs continued. I knew the climbs that had been climbed may end where we stood, but that there were drfinitely more climbs. How could there not be - the cliff was still there!

We continued out walk; he was going to show me some old signs of the community that had once made home there. At a point, it seemed we noticed something in the rock. We both stopped - and we knew what we saw. A weakness; a line, a climb to be climbed.....

We both made exclaimations and went closer. Then my friend said, with a bit of disappointment, "Oh. There's loose rock. Too bad....." and he began to trundle along his way.

I stayed behind, just a minute, while thinking "So - loose rock. So? Get it out, or go around it! Why would loose rock stop you?" I have to admit - I kept this thought to myself, because I knew that I would be coming back. To work that line. Some day......
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The next year came, and I haven't yet gotten that climb looked at. I don't get out with people interested in doing reconn much. With my FA partner down south, and out of commission for now with a broken elbow, I climb with people I meet online, or have climbed with before. We bring our guidebooks, and have a tick list in our minds before we even meet up for the day. Well......I don't have a list; I still have so many climbs I've not been on available in the area that I am happy to climb whatever my partner wants. I like to go along for the ride. It makes for a better day, when I don't have expectations.

One day, in early June, I had a weekday available, and though I posted for a partner, no body was available. So, I went out myself, thinking "I'm gonna look for my line." I knew that was my mission. But I told people I was going to boulder and practice gear placement.

I walked the cliffline west, and tried some of the guidebook boulder propblems that day. Couldn't pull a V0. (That's changing, though.) Then I started to walk the cliffline east, an area I was fairly familiar with.

....to be continued - gotta go do some work.....



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3 comments:

sdcoastal said...
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sdcoastal said...
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Anonymous said...

Cool stuff. Good to see you go for a FA so quickly in your climbing career. Keep it up!
Sam