Monday, October 08, 2007

The Monkey Pitch

Yesterday I met up with some people visiting the Gunks on their traditional autumn tour. They were folks I'd met and gotten to know doing trailwork last year(also part of their vacation tradition, which is about as opposite a stance as the "But I only have weekends to climb" ethic that stops plenty a local from pitching in once in a while!).

Anyway, Sherry and Preston are cavers from a bit further south, and apparently Preston spreads that southern hospitality by letting his network of friends know where he's headed, inviting any and all to join up with him along the way. He'd landed a big catch this trip, with people from Kansas, Chicago and New Jersey in his net. I found them as I was headed to the Trapps in search of a climbing partner for the day, and they invited me to come along with them.

It was a nice day, hanging with such friendly, easy-going people, and interesting because their primary connection is through caving, an activity that I've always been intrigued by but know next to nothing about.

Most of the group also had experience climbing, but one was totally new. When I asked about it, she said that the day was her second one out, and then went on to describe the books she'd been reading to learn about climbing.

Very earnest, she clearly wanted to become self-sufficient, knowledgeable and responsible; giving the impression of a safe climber-to-be, in my book. She asked questions to be sure she understood the rope systems we were using, climbing jargon and to clarify general details on some things she had read.

At one point, two of her friends were talking about some Gunks classic, and mentioned "that second pitch".... By voice inflection, it was obvious that the storyteller had found it exceptional.

Joining in, our newbie climber added "So, that's the monkey pitch, then. Right?"

..... Well - why not, I say!? It seems to me that the pitches that have given me the most bang for my buck also required a level of climbing that needed more than my standard human movements. I'm forever hearing people comparing themselves to each other in regards to their Ape Index. And I've listened to someone more than once dismissing a monkey's climbing due to their having feet that are more like hands("sure...if only I had opposable thumbs on my feet, I wouldn't need sticky rubber either!"). And forget penis envy - what about strength/flexible of the tail envy? One can just see it in the eyes of a climber watching the little primates dangling from a limb, swinging carelessly into a controlled penji.....

Monkey pitch sounds about right to me!

If you enjoy my blog and would like to subscribe through RSS, you can click the FeedBurner Badge here. Thanks for your support!  Subscribe in a reader

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: