Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Will to Thrash

So, I took the guide course. Now what? PRACTICE- and lots of it! The good news is its fun for me and gives everyone around me a chance to climb and get a relative semblance of a guide for free. Everyone wins!

I have been practicing my rescue scenarios and skills in the living room, hanging off the stairs, using a loaded backpack for my passive client. Constructing load-releasable hitches till my fingers bleed is a daily affair-- but the training I underwent seems to have taken. I have been able to do all of the requisite rescue drills with a minute to spare, which is a pretty big accomplishment for me.

Better even than this is just the feeling of skills which only a couple weeks ago were foreign, now coming into focus with the bigger picture of a day of climbing. To be honest, it is very nice to go out climbing armed with knowledge, not just the will to thrash up a piece of rock.

Today was my first chance to get out and practice with honest to goodness people since the course in Bishop. Stefanie brought her friend Christina along and of course Christie came too. All told, the common phonetics of their names proved to be the biggest challenge of the day.

Belay instruction to kick things off with Christina

A nice little crack where we practiced removing (cleaning) gear

Belaying, it seems, is fun.

Stef and Christina followed the route after I led it--pretty quickly too. I set up a top rope and rappelled off so that Christie could give it a go and so that we could all get more comfortable with the climbing rather than go strictly for maximum pitches. Christina was a natural at belaying and Christie decided she wanted to try rappelling. I rigged a tandem rappel up so that I could go along with Christie for the first time.

Explaining the finer points of anchoring to Christie

Within a short time, everyone was crushing this 5.7d testpiece and running laps for added dominance. Once the top rope was set up and well under way, I had a bit more liberty to get shooting with the camera. Everyone climbed really confidently and claimed to have learned something from my blathering. I choose to believe them.

Christina, patiently belaying

Christie after cleanly sending 5.7, her hardest climb yet!

5.7 A0

Mission Valley

Christina climbing

Pulling through the crux!(the hardest moves of the climb)

Trying to see if I can make her laugh and pitch off at the crux. Christina hung on though, so either she is pretty strong or I'm not funny. Perhaps both.

Over all, it was a great day out. The girls learned the basics and made a lot of progress with climbing. I felt pretty confident with my efficiency any organization-- the upper belay was actually pretty comfortable and there were no major wastes of time. Next weekend we will descend on Joshua Tree National Park and will build on what we began today.

1 comment:

scout52 said...

It was an amazing day. I had a fabulous time. Now if I can rock climb without the hiking. It is amazing you haven't thrown me off the side of the cliff with my complaining while we hike.