Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Skunky Start to a Perfect Rumney Weekend

I'd like to say that the past Rumney adventure started when I got to the campsite along Baker River...but it didn't.  It started at 11:30 PM the previous night.  Exhausted from toiling on the computer for a work presentation, I decided to unplug for the night and take my dog Bailey outside for her nightly ritual of finding the perfect spot to do her business.  Only this night was different.  The dimly lit backyard highlighted the most terrifying creature you could find in your backyard: a skunk.  As soon as I saw it, Bailey took off like a lightning bolt after the white and black fluff ball.  Moments later she came back wreaking of burnt erasers and rotten eggs.  It was one of the worst things that could have happened right before a perfect weather weekend to Rumney.

I thought I could just leave her at home for the weekend, but I knew it wouldn't be the same without her there.  I always share my adventures with my pup.  She is a huge part of my life and I couldn't leave her behind.  I decided to cash out a little extra vacation time and get some skunk odor remover from the pet store.  Luckily, 4 washes later and only a faint smell lingered.  I could handle a little stink from her.  My own odor from 2 days of climbing and no shower would even out the smells anyway.

Finally, all clean!!

The trip was back on track and we hit the road with all the gear. The weekend brought some great fall weather with cool temps and dry conditions.  We ate and drank (moderately) like kings the night before our first day on the boulders.  The sunrises while camping were our alarm clocks along with the rustling and unzipping from our tents.  Breakfast was surrounded by chatter about climbing plans and aspirations for the day while checking the guide book.  For the most part everyone was just anxious to leave the campsite to head to the crags and boulder areas. 

Bill warming up on the Umbrella Traverse (v2)

Getting ready to warm up is always a cause for anxiety.  The first climb of the day can, in most cases, be an indicator of the rest of the day's performance.  But this time, warming up provided a lot of confidence for the progression to the harder boulders.  The best part of the trip was revisiting a boulder problem that embarrassingly shut me down the last time I was out at Rumney 4 years ago.  I couldn't even make the first move of the problem and just had to walk away in shame.  I trained and worked hard to progress the last 4 years and it paid off with the send of the problem (Pyramid Power, v7) on that day.  Finding a new project wasn't on the agenda but it seemed like a new project found everyone.  Satan in a Half Shell (v10) has given me the perfect excuse to plan another trip to try for the send. 

Pyramid Power v7

The boulders at Rumney are quite sharp, making the end of the day climbs very swear worthy.  The end of the day brought excitement for the heading back to camp to get the camp fire going.  After about 8 hours of climbing, brews were calling our names along with some flat iron steaks.  Our fuel cells were craving calories after working on projects and peeling off of sharp crimps for so many hours.  The time spent around the campfire was much shorter that night due to the exhaustion but everyone slept like they were at the 4 Seasons with the thoughts of the next day's adventure before the long road home.

New project Satan in a Half Shell (v10)

In some ways, the 2nd day of a trip always seems less stressful.  There is no stress of finding a new project or trying to get a send.  It was about exploring to find something fun to climb on, since our fingertips were shredded from the day before.  This is what climbing should be about anyway: having fun and exploring new areas to re-invigorate the soul.  One of the best things about Rumney is that there is something new to climb there every time I visit.   I will always have a longing to get back there whenever I get the chance.  But until then, I plan on keeping the problems and routes on my mind and keeping myself strong for the next trip.