Saturday may 25, 2013
Met Kent Richards, a fellow from Supertopo who had offered to climb with me. This would be my first time touching rock since my accident. I wish I could say my returning to climbing was a triumphant one, but in reality, it fucking sucked. I struggled up climbs I used to fly up on lead. Huffing and puffing, carrying my extra weight, didn’t help matters. I followed Kent on jamcrack 5.9, one of my first leads (and an easy one at that), and while I did not hang, it still felt shitty to clumsily make my way up, especially while there were a bunch of people below watching me.
I looked enviously at the toned, muscled shoulders and backs for the female climbers, a physique I used to have.
I actually backed off a climb one of very few times in my life. About 1/3 of the way up Black is Brown at Church Bowl, I asked Kent to lower me. I was gutted. I hung my head in shame, despair…but at the same time, tried to remind myself that this was just like learning how to walk all over again…baby-steps. Yeah right.
Sunday May 26, 2013
Driving from Valley to Mammoth Lakes, via Tioga Pass, Tuolumne and the Mobil Station.
So many mixed emotions, some expected, many not.
Boggy Tuolumne Meadows – made me recall so many bug-filled approaches and climbs. Looking up on Lembert Dome, I recalled NorthbyNorthwest, my first 10c lead, and my subsequent lead fall on the second pitch that resulted in a broken collar-bone. Still had a hard time looking up at the monoliths and being reminded of all the climbs I did on them, remembering approaches that are either impossible or prohibitively difficult for me to do anymore. I miss carrying my weight in climbing gear.
Driving to the Mobil Station, stopping there, overlooking Mono Lake…what made me sad was thinking about all the times I went there with Justin, eating fish tacos, camping just outside the east entrance to the park.
Driving down 395 reminded me of my relationship with Scott, when we would go to Mammoth Lakes to ski, or on the way to climbing Mt Whitney. It was hard imagining summiting the highest point in the contiguous United States, remembering what a lean machine I was.
What has made this trip hard is remembering the relationships I was in when I was visiting these places. Makes me feel very lonely, worried about finding love again, kicking myself for past mistakes, missed opportunities.
I never thought I would say this, but I might actually be okay with not climbing ever again.