A Family Adventure


Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

hot weekend

June 11, 2008
Emilie Phillips

This weekend we had a whole list of things that we were supposed to get done. I think the only thing on that list that we managed was getting groceries. Instead we had fun.

Both days of the weekend were quite hot (at least by north east standards). So saturday afternoon we took our kayaks and headed down to the local lake. The plan was to practice rolls (aka spend lots of time in the cool water). We did do some rolls practice, but then we headed up to the inlet where there weren’t as many motor boats. Tyson figured out that if he paddled fast at the beaver dam and leaned back, he could slide his boat up onto the dam, and then he could monkey walk the rest of the way over. So we went up over the dam and paddled off into the swamp. Of course, in that swamp, there were more beaver dams to be crossed. We wandered around through a bunch of beaver ponds and narrow swamp channels. We saw a few people above the first dam, but then it was just us and the greenery. Tyson kept wishing he’d brought his camera. What ended up stopping us was the fact that I was getting hungry and thought it might be getting late, and we hadn’t brought enough food for a real trip. We’ll have to go back some other time better prepared.

Sunday was the first day of the NH AMC lead climbing clinic. There was some question as to where it would be since the plan had been Rumney but there had been a forest fire nearby that week. The firefighters managed to get the fire out by friday, so it worked out. However, the whole place smelled a little bit burnt and there were pockets of charred leaves. The first day was entirely sport climbing so that they could teach lead technique without also having to teach gear placement. There were two instructors and five students. Most of the day was spent on some really easy climbs (5.3ish) just making sure we had the concepts down. Then for the last climb of the day, we moved over to a 5.7 and 5.8. The 5.8 started out easy and got harder. I think the 5.7 might have been more constant. Tyson tried the 5.8, however by the time he was at the last bolt before the anchor, he was drenched in sweat and too tired. So he backed off. Kayden lead the 5.7 just fine. Then Elke gave a try at it. Unfortunately, she’d knocked up her ankle earlier in the day, so she ended up backing off. By this time, Marianne (one of the instructors) and Dee had had to leave early. So Jed went and cleaned the 5.7 route, and I was stuck with retrieving my gear from the 5.8 climb. (Admittedly it was only quick draws, but still.) I made it up, but I spent most of the time freaking out about falling.

One of the big reasons why I wanted to take the lead climbing class was that whenever I try to lead, I get really really scared, to the point where it becomes hard to climb. I was hoping the class would confirm that I was doing stuff right, and didn’t actually have any greater chance of dieing than my friends who lead. The class did give me some confirmation, but Jed also gave this one suggestion: to lead climb, you have to know when you are going to fall. I think that evaluation is exactly what I do not know how to do. So next time I go top roping, I should be trying to learn what I am capable of, rather than trying to become capable of more.

[Edit: oh, and there exist photos too.]

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Comments (2)

  • Fallling on lead

    Sooner or later you will fall on lead. The only questions then are 1) how good are your placements and 2) how good is your belayer? When placing protection really ask am I willing to fall on that?

    from anonymous Dad
    been there, done that.

  • My most exciting lead fall was a complete surprise.

    One thing to know is when is falling OK, and when do you really not want to fall. This is the same no matter what kind of climbing you’re doing, it’s just that in toproping there’s more times when it’s fine than in sport, and more in sport than in trad, and more in trad than in free-solo.

    But I wouldn’t be surprised if you are singularly unaware of how close you are to your limits in climbing. I tend the opposite way, of leaving a larger buffer than actually required.