"Not all those who wander are lost"

A little more NH climbing, a lot more rain

There are only 2 choices; make progress or make excuses

-Ellen Mikesell

 

6/5 – Boston

We headed to Boston to pick up Ian after a basketball tournament he played in Saturday.  We got brunch at a restaurant where we met Ian then headed to the Museum of Fine Art to see the Chihuly glass exhibit.  It was quite impressive seeing the glass formed into so many different shapes and combine to form different pieces.

This piece is evidence that artists are crazy.  The inspiration for this was he decided to chuck his glass pieces off a bridge in Finland to see what would break and then had some local kids pick them up in a boat.

And we also visited Egypt on the way back from Boston.

It was a good day but still no replacement for a good day of climbing.

 

6/6 – 5.8 Crag

Ian and I headed over to the 5.8 crag and I got him up his first real climbing routes.  I started on a few easy routes so Ian didn’t have to start out trying to climb 10’s and 11’s.  We moved over and I did Romancing the Stone, a two star 10c, to keep me entertained.

(On the crux of Bolt and Run, 5.9)

(Me Romancing the Stones, 5.10c)

(POV climbing it a second time to clean the route)

By the time I had climbed it a second time to clean it Ian was tired of climbing and ready to leave so after a much shorter day that I wanted we headed back to our camp across the street.  The rest of the day was spent playing horse shoes, hanging out, and avoiding or killing black flies.

 

6/7 – Main Cliff

Ian and I headed back to climb at the Main Cliff after a morning at a local coffee/breakfast/antiques/climbing gear/B&B place.  The first route I got on was Metamorphosis.  It’s a long winding and exposed 5.8.  It starts off some easy face hold up to a nice crack in a corner.  As soon as I reached the crack a cool breeze hit me in the face.  It was a welcome change from the heat of the day even with the shade of the trees surrounding the crag.  I continued up the climb to a big roof where the climb traverses right.  The moves were not difficult, but the exposure was amazing.  With good hands and edges for feet separating me from the ground 50 feet below my heel I traversed across under the roof.  The roof ended and I pulled up over a smaller overhang and into the beating sun.  My pleasant cool breeze was replaced with instant sweltering heat.  I continued up more difficult balance moves up the face to the chains as fast as I could to get out of the sun.  Probably my favorite 5.8 I have ever done, but not difficult enough to satisfy my need to be challenged.

After Ian cleaned Metamorphosis he was drained from some difficulty on the sunny face section and didn’t want to climb for a while.  As soon as he said that I began chatting with another pair of climbers near us and found out that one of them is from Brunswick, also needs climbing partners, and even knew of the local crag I climbed on there last year.  We got numbers and talked of climbing together soon, great success!

Since Ian didn’t want to climb I took the opportunity and lead the way to Millennium Falcon, a 10c which the book says has been described as the best 10 in Rumney.  After an easy traverse to the first bolt it had some difficult crimpy moves up to a good but difficult crack section that exited left onto a glassy slab.  After my left wrist had already been hurting for a couple days the only move onto the slab involved a hand jam with my wrist bent almost 90 degrees while supporting my entire weight.  From there it was easier but fun climbing over a bulge and up the face to the chains.  Once again, it was a spectacular route that involved many different techniques and this time it was more of a challenge.  It was quite painful and a shorter than I would have hoped.

(Finger locks on Millennium Falcon, 5.10c)

With a notice from dad and Ian that I had one more climb before they were leaving I decided to do a highly touted 10a called Underdog.  Unfortunately I accidentally did another climb that was disappointingly easier and not at all what I was hoping for.  We had enough of the bugs and there was no second chance so I packed up and we headed back to our new location at a campground down the road a few miles.

(Heading back to camp in the bus)

On the way there we passed some large boulders on either side of the road that make up “The Pound.”  I was interested, but figured I would check it out later.  Later came sooner than expected.  Ian and I planned to go for a run/ride (me on the bike since I still can’t run on my ankle), but we stopped to get ice at the office.  When I got back Ian had already headed out.  I figured I would catch up with him soon but several miles later I had still not found him when I got to the pound.  Naturally I had my chalk and shoes with me so I stopped to check out the bouldering.  Despite being devoured by mosquitoes I explored the area and did a cool problem.  It started on a pair of small crimps, moved up a side pull crack before falling back to a gaston then shooting for the top.  I found out later it is called The Thwart and is a V3, but it was just the right way to end my day.  Unfortunately that’s not how my day ended.  Leaving in the dark while being harangued by bugs I left my chalk and didn’t realize until I was back to the campsite so I had to turn around a ride all the way back to retrieve it …~6 miles in the dark without any lights.

 

6/8 – Sad Ending

The problem with climbing with your family (if they aren’t climbers) is that they eventually don’t want to climb anymore.  That’s what happened to me anyway.  I couldn’t convince either Ian or dad to climb with or even belay me.  Not ready to give up a beautiful day that could be used fulfilling the purpose of life (climbing everything possible obviously) I packed my rope, all my gear, water, and lunch into my pack and hopped on my bike to ride to the crag.  Of course, it would have worked out better if this was the day that we were just across the road, but even an 8 mile ride with a heavy pack wasn’t enough to deter me.  I got to the parking lot and checked the message board: no response to my note I had left there.  No sign of people around so I went for a quick swim to cool off.  Still no sign of climbers around the parking lots so I decided to hike up and check out some crags I hadn’t seen yet, mainly Waimea.  I only found a couple people, all of whom had partners, but I managed a long hike with a heavy pack before I finally headed back to camp in defeat.  With one of the best places to climb in the northeast at my fingertips I couldn’t even find a person to climb with on my last day, it was heartbreaking.  I love to spend time with friends and family hanging out and enjoying their company, but part of me still feels like any moment that I could be climbing is wasted if I’m not so it kills me even more to spend a nice day just staring at rocks that I can’t climb.

(View from above Waimea, near Jimmy Cliff)

(Waimea left side, all wicked burly routes)

After giving up we packed up camp and headed to Franconia Notch to do Cannon in the morning.  We planned to get a spot near the cliff.  To our disappointment, when we got there the RV spots were just picnic tables and fire rings on the edge of a parking lot.  If the other campgrounds hadn’t been twice as much we would have gone to one of them.  As it was I went for an epic bike ride down the 3 mile hill and back up just in time to catch Ian and dad headed the other direction to go to get dinner.  They had decided it was too hot to cook in the bus and too buggy to cook outside so we went out for dinner.

(Cannon, the ridge on the left above the tip of the tree is what I was planning on doing with Ian)

 

6/9 – Cannon and Thunder

I woke up and packed everything to go before checking the weather to find that there was a high chance of thunder showers.  I grudgingly agreed to not do any routes on Cannon and settled for some cragging on Artists bluff, a small crag across the road from the parking lot that we called camp.  It had a pair of surprisingly good climbs that we tried.  The first was a great airy traverse that was deceptively hard until I pulled a roof and ran out the last easy 50 feet.  The second was 5.12b climb that I hangdogged but managed to do all the moves.  It gave my hope for getting back to climbing 12s if I can build some power and endurance.  They were both fun and we would have stayed to do more but the black flies were outrageous so we headed out as fast as we could.

(Just after the traverse on Special Olympics, 5.10c)

While we were gone dad had bought tickets for the tram to the top of the mountain so after a swim to cool off we headed up the mountain.  As we neared the top lighting illuminated the sky giving us front row seating.  As soon as we reached the top they shut down the tram.  We hung out in the lodge at the top watching the torrential downpour.  Once it passed we hiked up the hill to the lookout deck and enjoyed the view of grey in all directions.  The tram had started up again once we were back to the lodge so we headed back down the mountain.

Once again we loaded up the bus a headed down to the Kancamangus Highway toward Conway.  When we got over the top of the mountains I had a great idea.  I had dad pull over and jumped out with my bike and helmet.  Ian followed suit and as soon as dad was gone we bombed down the mountains for miles until we got to our campground.

(Mountain tops along the Kancamangus Highway)

(Water falls near the highway)

(Perspective of the water)

 

6/10 – North Conway Nightmare

Doubting the enthusiasm for climbing required from my cohorts I decided to go for a morning ride.  I headed back up the mountain for over an hour until I began to worry that they would be waiting for me to leave.  I turned and raced back down the hill making it to the campsite in a third of the time.  It was perfect timing to take a shower, pack up, and head out for North Conway.  We reached town with plenty of time to climb, but Ian wanted to devote a day to doing work that he needed to get done so the beautiful day of potential climbing withered to an afternoon in a coffee shop being productive.  When we had finished in town we headed out to a campground for the night.  The one we had decided upon was ridiculous.  We weren’t quite sure where to go the first time, but uncertainty ended when we saw the enormous sign with granite posts proclaiming “Glen Ellis Campground” surrounded by a manicured flower garden.  The campground on the side of the stream has its own tennis courts, baseball field, beach volleyball court, swimming pool, game barn (arcade), wireless hotspots, and more.

 

6/11 – Rainy Day

The weather predicted rain so I didn’t even bother getting up early.  When I finally got up at 8:30 it was grey out but dry and hopeful.  Confusion and low expectations hindered the start, but eventually Ian and I were planning on climbing at Cathedral Ledge and we were on the road by 11:30.  We got half way there when it began to rain.  Foiled again.  This time I kicked myself.  If I had been up early and rallying Ian to go we could have been there by 8:30 and had 3 hours of climbing.  Instead Ian and I spent several hours in the game barn using the wireless and playing Hoop Fever (pop-a-shot/hot shot) and pulling extra balls out to play HORSE.  Later on we ended up going for a little hike up Black Cap Mountain in the rain.  By the time we were back at the car we were all drenched.

 

Reflecting on the past few days I’ve come to a conclusion I have known for a long time:  I need a good climbing partner!  I need someone who wants to get up early, climb all day, is willing to have an epic searching for a good climb, and then will hang out around the fire after a long day.  It gets tiring when everyone around either wants to sleep in or only do two pitches in a day.  I work hard and I want to play hard so I need someone who goes out with as much zeal as I do.  If this is you, let me know!  Until then, I should get a soloist or something.

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