Monday, October 1, 2012

Adventure makes the heart grow fonder

I started writing this post a while back, but just got around to finishing it.  Enjoy.

Aaron, Steph, Meg and I had a superb day climbing the 700 foot Standard East Face on the Third Flatiron in Boulder, CO yesterday. We had to get creative as a party of four, but Aaron and I traded leads, then belayed one of the girls to the belay station. After that, the second team of two simul climbed on toprope to join up with the others. I was extremely impressed with the girls as neither of them had been on a route of that height and neither of them have much experience trad climbing. But they both handled the height and exposure with ease. The toughest part was the rappel which is understandable since it was raining, and we were all starting to get a little tired after being on the wall for close to five hours. It was a great success, and I'm sure that it will be a day that none of us will ever forget.
The Flatirons

So why is that? We go climbing all the time. Why are the six pitches that we did yesterday more significant than the six sport climbing routes we are going to do tomorrow? I think people are largely defined by the relationships they cultivate. I'm not always the best at forming new bonds, and I don't know about you, but I am constantly trying to deepen the relationships that I have formed. Through climbing, I have found that one of the best ways to do this is having an adventure together. Adventures facilitate the building of trust, help open lines of communication within the group, and often forces one to get outside of their comfort zone and start to rely on their team mates.  This doesn't happen as easily at the sport crag.

Something else I have noticed is the power that novelty has on our perception of time.  Have you ever noticed how when you are working on a mundane, day-to-day task that time seems to just slip away?  But when you are participating in a new or novel experience you get to the end of the day and think, "Wow, that was a long day!"  There is evidence that suggests that experiencing something new can slow your perception of time.  This triggers the brain to put more emphasis on the new experience allowing you to learn from it more effectively.  Having an adventure is always going to be a new experience, and I think this time stretching phenomenon is definitely happening.

Aaron and Steph at the top of the Third Flatiron

So go find a climbing partner, and get out there for an adventure!  Time will slow down, you will experience something that you will never forget, and your relationship will be better than ever.  What's wrong with that?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hallet Peak Part Deux

We leave on Wednesday for Rocky Mountain National Park with the goal of climbing the Culp-Bossier on Hallet Peak at the forefront of our minds.  It is unfinished business as we made a previous attempt back in 2006 only to hear thunder and heed the call of the many bail slings scattered just below the huge grassy ledge.  The fact that a storm never materialized would have been demoralizing if not for the fact that we still had an amazing day in a gorgeous alpine setting.

Napping at the base of the Culp-Bossier - July 2006

Now, six years later, we are heading back.  It was just Aaron and I on the first attmept, but this time Krazy Karl will be along for the journey.  The three of us have a long history of climbing and adventuring together, and I couldn't be more excited to add another chapter to our book.  And while we may be a little slower and less efficient as a team of three, there are some definite advantages to adding a third partner.  More than inclement weather, lack of physical ability or absence of  intestinal and mental fortitude, it has been suspect motivation that has killed our attempts on big objectives.  When there are only two of us, it only takes one dissenting voice to start eating away at the other's poise, courage and motivation.  However, in the past when the three of us have all been present, the dissenting voice has always seemed quieter, and less influential to the group as a whole.  Not only that, but the confidence that is being displayed by the other group members will often rub off on the dissenter making that voice even quieter to both them and the group.  It is this compounding of factors can turn a group of individuals into a team that communicates, moves, and acts as a single entity.  And when these ingredients come together, you have a team that has the ability to far surpass what any of the individual members could hope to accomplish on their own.

Culp-Bossier on Hallet Peak - 5.8 III