Archive for the ‘Plastic’ Category

Plastic to the Rescue

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Sunday heralded the first complete washout of the year, so there was no chance for climbing that day. The ice is gone here in the southern Adirondacks, and the rock was wet all day Monday, so without a handy plastic refuge, I could not have climbed.

Thank God for Rocksport.
I’m not a rabid gym-rat, but there’s a definite benefit from them, especially for those of us who live in an area where the weather is “inconsistent” – and the Southern Adks fits that description to a tee.

I worked in GF during the day, so stopping by Tom’s place was convenient. I arrived early enough to shoot the breeze with Mr. Rosecrans himself. He and Justin were routesetting, so we chatted for awhile before people began trickling in. It was a quiet night for “my” crowd, Simon C. and Ken P. came. The usual young’uns kept the place lively enough, though they spent most of their time socializing upstairs. Perhaps that has something to do with Springtime…

Friday and yesterday were the first days I’ve concentrated on TR’ing there, and the first thing I noticed was that some of the lines there are really good quality routes. In general, gyms tend to be pretty unimaginative, geared heavily toward height and crimp-strength. A few years ago, I would have said that described Rocksport as well, but Justin, the main routesetter there, has come along impressively in that time. He’s putting up lines that utilize a variety of techniques and body positions without marginalizing short people (like me) or ripping finger tendons. Kudos to him, particularly for that 5.10 line on the south wall.

Simon, Ken, and I spent our time TR’ing lines. Ken has come along quite a bit in the past few weeks; Simon has rocketed upward. It was impressive to watch him climb last night, as he has improved immensely. He managed the hardest TRs of the night, and then led the ceiling very smoothly afterward. That bespeaks a big increase in endurance on his part.

All of us were feeling the effects of the time-change. That spring-ahead thing is great in the long run, but it’s a harsh adjustment the first few days into DST. At least we have an hour more daylight after work now. Hopefully, we’ll soon be using that outdoors.

No worthwhile calls today, so I may head up the mountain. I’ll try to take some pictures and maybe climb a bit if the rock is dry enough.

Spastics on Plastic

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Ah, March. Glop, slop, and slush. With the threatening weather, I figured real rock would be iffy at best, so since I worked in GF today, I went to Rocksport Gym afterward, met Simon and shortly afterward Bruce M. came along. We spent most of the afternoon working TRs, warming up on easy-moderate stuff, then falling our way up harder lines. It was a good workout. We ended the evening taking turns at leading the ceiling. It was much harder today, partly due to being pretty tired from the TR bout, and partly because it is noticeably more humid now. The holds feel greasier.

In the middle of our session, I got a phone call. Matt, the other Lk. Placid guide, tweaked his knee and couldn’t work tomorrow. A quick inquiry to Bruce and that problem was solved. Hopefully, we’re not getting dumped on for the entire trip. Chapel Pond Canyon still has good ice, so we’ll probably end up in there. No walkarounds there, so looks like I’ll have to lead something…heh, I get to ice climb one more time this season!

I got an email from a friend who went out to the Measles Wall today. They climbed H1N1 and even tried the central route. I guess they had a good time, though they got a late start and made an aborted attempt at getting to the Black Arches Wall. Crackanoon Club strikes again.

So yep, it’s March, that peculiar Twilight Zone of sketching up plastic ice and dicey plastic, and piecing together dry patches of rock. Gotta love it!

Pieces Parts

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Settling back into home life after the long weekend has been anything but settled. There was of course, snow to shovel, broken things to repair, phone calls to make, emails to read and reply to, and all the assorted things that go along with getting home after being away, plus a few more. But it’s still good to be here.

I worked today, substitute teaching. Good classes for the most part. I showed videos – typical sub duty – but got a chance to introduce the topic and discuss it before and after viewing.

I look at a lot of the kids and see so many with little or no interest in school and academics. Don’t know if I blame them. We’ve created a culture of drudgery. I firmly believe scholastics would improve if we pushed a higher degree and frequency of physical activity. If they could get beyond the bounds of discomfort and comparison shopping between exercise and entertainment, they might learn to enjoy physical and mental challenges. Learning to love challenge, to take on difficult things, is probably the single best lesson a person can learn.

I also went to Rocksport in the afternoon. Simon showed up with Amanda and together, we bouldered awhile (Simon found out his V2 line is actually more like V5, but he has already done half of it), took turns leading the ceiling (nice whipper there, I won’t say who), and in general had a good time together. I left a bit earlier than usual, as I’m still tired from the weekend.

Despite the weather, ice season is drawing to a close, at least here on Crane. The night temps are dropping below freezing, but not far below and not for long. That will knock the stuffing out of all but the most sheltered ice. Once we get some sunshine, I’ll be heading up to the summit cliffs for some rock climbing action.

Gym Mondays

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

A few years back, I started a regular Monday Night Rock Gym activity. Intended for members of area churches, I thought it would be a good way to create face-time with the “unchurched” regulars at the local gym and provide a social gathering that focused on exercise rather than food. It was never wildly successful, drawing big crowds in for only a handful of evenings in its three year history.

It did pull in a few people who then became enthusiastic about climbing and became regulars themselves, so it hasn’t been a complete flop either. I’ve been blessed to watch Zack become a very strong climber, Ken use the sport as a motivator for getting back in shape, and a few other people improve and build on their skills as climbers.

Tonight, we witnessed another watershed event. One of my routine exercises at Rocksport is leading the ceiling. I always take the easiest line to the anchors, lower down, and then someone else takes a shot at “cleaning” the pitch. Nowadays, Zack manages that without breaking a sweat – and even does it without using his feet, so-called “campusing”. But Kate never made it to the anchors without falling before. Monday, she made it. On her second attempt, she climbed strong and confident to the end of the line and lowered down victorious.

She was so stoked that she added to the accomplishment by doing her first lead as well, taking the sharp end up to the top of the wall. Maybe next week, she will start working her way out toward those tip-top anchors…