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Transition time

March 30, 2009
Ahhh...the lighter and simpler gear of rock climbing season.

Ahhh...the lighter and simpler gear of rock climbing season.

Most years I like to end the ice season and ring in the new rock season by taking full advantage of the week (or two) long window of time each year where you can do both.  It’s fun to either climb rock and ice in one day, or alternate the two activities a bit just before the ice season ends and before it starts getting rainy around here for a few weeks in April.

This year, it was quite apparent to me on Sunday that I was fully ready for rock after a great day out with Wes (that’s another story entirely, but suffice it to say though we didn’t climb the big new route we expected to, we did find one of the best beginner routes I’ve done in ages and I can’t remember a day where I laughed that hard, that often…thanks Wes!).  What had my mind change focus though was cursing on the descent with a heavy pack, finding some boulders in another area earlier in the day that looked to have some excellent potential for good problems, and then standing in the sun at the car afterwards.  The smells of spring (mud, rotting vegetation, humidity and sappy trees) all hit me at once, as did the warm sun.  That was all it took, and we were talking about rock climbing all the way home!

Ahhh....nice warm rock.  Plugging in some gear and putting sticking rubber to stone at Pass Lake.

Ahhh....nice warm rock. Plugging in some gear and putting sticky rubber to stone at Pass Lake.

Today Jenn and I both had some overtime to burn up at work, and the beautiful sunny afternoon, temps just above freezing, was too much to resist.  Naturally, we chose the wonderful reflector-oven that is Pass Lake, and it felt incredible to touch warm sandstone and plug some trad gear into the cracks.  It took all of about four moderate climbs to get totally pumped, forearms are still a bit cooked as I’m typing here.  And the winter has definitely left me with dainty ice climber’s skin – my hands look utterly shredded.  Time to start building those callouses back up…

There must be some sort of Buddhist quote or something that tells one to be calm about this sort of thing and wait for the optimal time of year.  I habitually overdose on each new season’s activities before it’s really prime conditions and timing.  By the time conditions are most ideal for rock climbing, for example, I’m already psyched for ice, and vice-versa.  Too impatient I guess.

Though my motivation for ice climbing is pretty low now, something tells me there’s still a couple more days in my future this season – more snow and sloppy weather is in the forecast for tomorrow.  Glad we took advantage of the weather today, makes it that much sweeter.  Bring on the spring!

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