November 2, 2007

Rock Climbing on NPR

I dreamed last night that I was out with a group of newbies about to share the love of climbing with them. I looked up at this rad overhanging grey slit with a traverse up this slab 50 feet high at the end. I had my harness and shoes on but hadn't tied in or grabbed any draws. I started bouldering on the lower part of the route, but before I knew it I had already passed the first 4 bolts, and was near the top. If I let go, I would land on my back, 35 feet below, and no one was paying attention to realize maybe they could spot my fall. So I kept going. Both hands in underclings, feet spread wide, stemming under the ledge, gone from sight but smearing on the unseen nubbins in a precarious but strong stance for at least the next few seconds. I kept my right hand pinched on the tiny tufa by my right shoulder and committed as I swung my left hand from the undercling to a dime-width crimp. Chalk dust flitted down and my left arm started to shake. I looked down and decided it was too far to fall. I looked up and was intimidated by the last 10 or 15 feet, but knew I had to do it. I cranked down on my right hand and stretched my body diagonally as much as I could, reaching my left arm up to a nice little chickenhead. My feet scrambled upward onto the face and my right hand matched on the chickenhead jug. I was nearing the end of my strength, but knew I could make it to the anchors. I yelled down asking someone to throw up some draws so I could clip myself directly into the anchors until someone lead the route with rope and I could rappel down. People below looked up and shrieked, realizing I was soloing, and started throwing up draws (which magically reached WAS a dream), as I rocked my weight steadily to the left toward the bomber last holds.

I haven't dreamed of climbing in so long. It used to be such an important, all-encompassing part of my life. I often yearn for those days of singular determination for something outdoors and fun, strengthening and social. I miss all my guy friends. I miss coming home, muscles aching, feeling strong and hungry and worn out. I miss feeling like I put everything I had into something and feeling better for it instead of beaten down. I miss the tinny click of draws snapping shut; the welcome sound of hiking up to a crag and knowing you're among friends. I miss the encouraging bellowing of friends below yelling "you can do it! Come on!! Crank! YEAHHH!!" and the naughty stories of how to outwit The Man in the evenings that followed.

Imagine my nostalgia and pride when I saw that NPR did a block on Chris Sharma this morning. *glowing happy*.

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