Monday, August 29, 2011

Calm before the... storm?

After a long summer of doing pretty much whatever I wanted, and a week of meetings and classroom prep, today was supposed to be my first day back with my students.  While I admit I'll miss waking up with nothing to worry about but climbing, it'll be nice to see them again.  If we ever get to school that is...

You see, although I'm sure people are tired of the hype surrounding our recent East Coast weather phenomena, I'm still amazed by the fact that in the last week we've had a teacher day cut short due to an earthquake, and our first student day cancelled by a hurricane.  And as I sit here in my living room, looking out the window at the sun through the trees, I'll say it's pretty nice to actually have a "snow day" with decent weather.  In fact, had I not spent so much time training on the system board yesterday, it'd be a perfect day to be out climbing.  Not to minimize the aftermath of a storm that caused at least 20 deaths and a good deal of property damage, but I made it through with only the slight inconvenience of having to pick up leaves and twigs in my yard today while I'm home.  In fact, possibly the most tragic damage I witnessed firsthand was the scene pictured below...


But damage or no damage, Irene still brought a pretty rainy weekend, which is never good for climbing.  So Friday afternoon after work, I decided to take advantage of the few remaining dry hours and head down to Northwest Branch.  Having not been there in a while, I have to say it didn't go as well as planned!

I headed downriver to the Chaos Roof Downstream Slab, intending to run laps on Mikey Likes It and Snowflake Traverse, which I had been linking back and forth for endurance work on my last few visits.  As it turned out, I couldn't make it through even a single lap of either problem!  So I just hung out and did a bunch of variations of Snowflake instead.




At first I was a little disappointed about my inability to finish the two traverses.  Ok, so I'm still a little disappointed, but I also recognize that what I'm experiencing isn't a loss of strength due to inactivity.  Rather, it's a temporary decrease in my bouldering ability brought about by my choice to focus more of my time on trad climbing this year.  And while it's frustrating to be shut down by problems that had come so easily just a few months ago, I remind myself that I'm now a heck of a lot faster and more comfortable on routes than I was before.  Ideally, now that I have more time to spend bouldering again, that strength will come back.  And when it does, assuming I keep devoting enough time to routes to retain my current comfort with gear placement, that increased strength will open up new routes to me in addition to new boulders.  I think the key is balance, as well as the recognition that I'll never be as good at everything as I'd like, unless of course I cut everything else out and declare myself "a boulderer," or "a trad climber," or any other such label that those of us with vertical aspirations tend to adopt.  But hey, I just like to climb stuff.


1 comment:

Paco said...

Great blog you have here Robin. My family and I have been living within walking distance of the NW Branch Trail(by Oakview Drive) for 6 years and have just discovered this rough jewel. I have some photos and videos taken yesterday and will upload them to my Facebook page and here if I may.

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