The Transfiguration

everything is sacred

Cliff of the Day #2350

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Cliff of the Day #2350

I’ve been toprope climbing several times before, but not since I began bouldering at Bridges. In the past two years or so, I’ve grown accustomed to the quick, technical sprints that make up bouldering challenges, so it was interesting to return to the long-distance ascents at Ironworks.

I had to learn the ropes again, of course; the soft cables that cradle a climber’s life need to be carefully arranged for a secure hold. The mnemonic for the figure-eight knot is simple enough: make a little ghost, give him a collar, and punch him in the face. Still I felt inelegant when I first practiced the knot; I don’t usually think in those dimensions, and trying to form those shapes was at first as elusive as speaking the unfamiliar accents of a foreign language.

Routes at Ironworks differ from those at Bridges even more than Dogpatch does. The holds are indifferent to you, neither difficult nor obliging, and in no part of today’s routes was there any sort of crux – no single focus in the challenge that defined the route. Instead it was a long fight against my fading strength, and as I passed the halfway point I would start breathing more deliberately, my heartbeat hastening, my arms beginning to tremble. I came down from one route, a purple 5.11cd, with my forearms buzzing from exertion. I haven’t felt that in a long time.

Tomorrow morning I will be bouldering again – always moving upwards, solving more physical puzzles, getting stronger bit by bit.

even the gentlemen
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Written by Umbrella Man

February 28, 2015 at 12:25 am

Posted in Miscellany

Tagged with , ,

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