"Not all those who wander are lost"

Maine Bound

When you finally go back to your old home, you find it wasn’t the old home you missed but your childhood.
-Sam Ewing


Upon return to the the US I had brief couple days with my dad as our paths crossed in Boston I headed for Maine and what I was sure was going to be a great time climbing in Maine.

Psyched to continue slacklining as soon as I got home I bought 80 feet of webbing before I even made it back to Maine.  I arrived home to my new crash pad waiting on my bed, but my big plans of spending time at Shagg crag and bouldering around Bangor quickly began to fade.  My perpetual problem climbing in Maine is finding partners.  Despite knowing several people who climb, I have a hard time finding people psyched on the weekends and nearly impossible during the week.

Maybe it’s this thing I hear about called “Real Life” that gets in the way and takes up time.  For me though, with no job, no girlfriend, and friends in Maine that hang out with dwindling by the year, I just wanted to get out and climb every day.  Instead it ended up being slacklining that my friends really took to and soon we were slacklining several times a weeks when they weren’t working.

(Tyler was great at spectacularly launching himself off the slackline)

Within a week of being home I managed to find a partner on Mountain Project who was psyched to meet up at Shagg for a few days of climbing.  I took off, ready to test the strength I had gained in Thailand against a notoriously hard crag.  Unfortunately things didn’t go great.

We met up and started climbing.  I discovered that he wasn’t really up to leading hard routes and considering the climbing starts off, with the exception of a few warm-ups, at 5.12 that mean I was ropegunning and putting up top ropes for him.  I didn’t mind though, it got me the belayer I’d been looking for.  After warming up I tried “It Ain’t Pretty Being Easy” (5.12a).  It’s a stellar rig; quite pumpy and hard to read.  It didn’t go down on the onsight, but I was confident I could do it in a few tries.  Those next tries never came because with a few minutes it began to rain.

Of our planned two and a half days at Shagg we got in a couple hours before it began to rain.  Hoping for the best I figured we could try some routes on the most overhanging section and maybe it would clear off soon.  I got on “Shaggin Wagon” (5.12a), but after getting pumped off a couple times I made it to the last few meters of the climb only to find soaking wet crimps.  I clipped the anchors and accepted that I would not be on that again today.  That left exactly zero routes completely dry.

Still unwilling to admit defeat I did a few more laps on the first 90% of “The Great Escape” since it was one of the only dry sections of rock.  The rain hadn’t stopped for the last couple hours so we eventually slogged back to the cars.  We set up camp, hoping that it would be better weather the next day.  In the morning everything was still soaked and the weather predicted lots of rain in the afternoon so I headed for home, stopping to boulder a little bit on the way.

I managed to work in some more climbing when I picked up Ian at the airport and headed to Rumney on the way home.  Unfortunately I had nearly the same luck there as at Shagg.  We got in a couple climbs, but were limited to routes that stay dry in the rain (ie overhanging).  I didn’t mind too much, but when Ian tried to top rope “Orangahang” (5.12a/b) it didn’t go so well.  I guess 12a is a bit hard for your fifth time climbing, but I figured would get by his natural aptitude for everything athletic.  He made valient, but awkward attempts to start out the climb which eventually ended without getting 10 feet off the deck. Foiled by the rain again we decided to head to Portland to hang out with a friend on our way home rather than set up tents in the rain.

Despite my climbing plans falling flat, Maine was a good time.  I spent a day riding on the carriage trails of Acadia National Park  and eating popovers at Jordan Pond House with my mom and brother.  I hung out and slacklined with friends.  I did all kinds of activities that have been replaced by climbing and remembered that I like to do them.  On rest days.

(Just my usual bike ride)

I continued trying to find climbing partners, but once a week at the gym and bouldering alone just wasn’t cutting it for me.  I made it out bouldering a time or two and even put up some new problems (both problems below were new ones I did).  All my plans to climb were thwarted by the “Real World” or weather.  I found out that the wedding in August that I had based all my plans around had been moved up and limited to family only.  With no reason to stay in Maine and every reason to get out, I split as fast as I could pack my car.  I was bound for better weather, better climbing, and the hopes of finding partners.


One Response

  1. Taylor Brown

    To your question on facebook:
    1. Your ankle
    2. Tons of wooden Penises
    3. 101

    I read your blog pretty often. I’m glad you get to go on all these adventures.

    October 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm

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