I have just returned from a week in Colorado- THANKS to the American Alpine Club for allowing me to be a host climber for the Iranian Women’s Climbing meet.
I didn’t get to realize my dream of climbing the Diamond, but I did meet and see lots of old and new friends, as well as, get to sample climbing in Estes Park – which I had never done before.
Please see: http://www.climberpassionate.com for a story about climbing Hallet’s Peak with the AAC.
On my last day, I was fortunate to climb with a friend of a friend, Robert Thomas. We went to Eldorado Canyon and climbed on the very popular Bastille. We only had until noon – which is good because its so darn hot anyways. We climbed Wide Country into Outer Space. Super quality and exciting climbing.
I guess I’ll mention that I now have more head space issues since my accident. I have them on all grades, 5.8 and 5.12! I mostly just have anxiety when I am climbing on gear. I am moving well and feeling strong, but I cannot shake all the thoughts about pulling gear and the potential of bad falls. It takes me more time to trust my belayers. I move slower, as I spend way too much time thinking about all the potential consequences. I don’t actually think this is a good use of time, but perhaps it’s part of the recovery process? I hope so, because I think I am not enjoying climbing as much. I am still very ambitious, but I have more fun on top-rope than I used to. I am proud of a good lead, but I question whether the extra anxiety is worth the effort.
On pitch 2 of our day, I came up to a place where there were a couple pins protecting a run-out 5.10 move with a bigger reach. I trusted the pins, I trusted my belayer. The consequences of a fall looked bad. Lower angle small ledges graced the fall zone. After a few tries, I realized I had no interest in even really trying. I actually physically felt like my mind couldn’t convince my body to try. Luckily, I found an easier way to ‘walk’ around this section. Coming in just above and finding some gear and carrying on with a fantastic pitch of well-protected climbing.
There has been a lot of discussion recently in the Bow Valley about whether to ‘retro-fit’ some classic alpine rock with bolted anchors and more protection bolts.
I can see both sides of the argument. It is sad that recently a climber had a bad accident due to a lack of bolts in our neighborhood.
Is it the climber’s fault that they didn’t have the judgement to back off of this climb? I believe in the theory of evolution that near-misses lead to judgement. BUT, some people get luckier than others.
So the question is: Do we want to increase access to our “road-side” rock?
Bolts increase access and safety.
On one hand there is the argument that we are “dummying” down the sport. How will climbers learn to climb run-out choss?
On the other hand, my professional rescue friends, want to see LESS rescues.
I actually, cannot help but agree. From my perspective, I want climbing to be accessible to as many people who want to get involved. It continues to enrich my life. I think its the healthiest addiction I have.
In the Canadian Rockies, there is no shortage of bad rock and bad pro. If you cannot to find it, I can show you where to go.
BUT there are a shortage of climbs easier than 5.10 and 5.8 to safely learn our sport on.