Isaac and I got together with Sarah, Mike, and their kids for a morning of climbing at Echo Crag in Franconia Notch. I have barely averaged one climbing trip a year for the last many years, so I set my expectations low. Echo Crag has lots of easy climbs (and lots of hard climbs), so even with low expectations of what I could climb, I was pretty sure we would have fun. And we did.
One of the benefits of spending the weekend working on my newly purchased vacation house, is we easily got to the crag at 8AM before anyone else.
I started on “Maiming of the Shrew” 5.5, which I’m pretty sure I have climbed before, but my guidebook only has notes for which climbs I have led. Then “Avalanche”, a 5.7. Isaac tried Maiming of the Shrew and got to the top. Then he and Fenton practiced placing cams in cracks and hanging off of them. I tried “Piss of fear”, a 5.10a. I started to solve the puzzle about the time my toe muscles went on strike. Ow.
Then we moved to the Shield wall and Mike encouraged me to try leading “The Shield”, another 5.7. There were a couple of spots where I wasn’t sure I could make the next move. But at each of those spots, I was able to find a crack to place a cam or a nut to protect a fall. As usual, I ended up with nasty rope drag by the top. But hey, I made it to the top! First lead climb in I don’t know how long. When I got home I checked in my guidebook. It looks like the hardest thing I had previously led at Echo Crag was a 5.6. So maybe it’s not hopeless to get back into rock climbing.
Isaac also climbed The Shield. At each of the tricky spots he just about gave up and was asking to be lowered down when he spotted the next move and said “wait, let me try one more thing.” That was fun watching him keep trying until he made it.
To cool off after climbing, Isaac and I tried out the Bethlehem town pool. It was cold. Isaac had second thoughts as soon as he dipped his toe in.