Thursday, August 23, 2007

Rumney (re, re, redux)

The entire week leading to my trip up in North Conway I pressed my partners to meet up somewhere on Saturday and Sunday. I really wanted to make my two days on Cathedral a three or four-day-long climbing weekend. I posted to my group and got nothing but crickets in response...and even they were asleep. So I made one last effort with a phone call to a girl I wasn't I wasn't sure was comfortable spending the day with me.

Me: Hi, what's up?

"Elegance": Nothing. I'm at work.

Me: Sorry. Just returning your stuck-in-traffic call from a couple of weeks ago.

"Elegance": Oh

Me: Soooo, are you climbing this weekend?

"Elegance": Um, yeahhhh. I think so. I didn't get out this past weekend so I want to climb this weekend.

Awkward silence.

Me: Where are you going?

"Elegance": Ummm...the weekend is kind of too far away. I don't know.

Me: Can I join you?

"Elegance": Sure, I'll call when I know more, but I have to go know because this machine I'm going to turn on is loud.


OOOK. Obviously, this didn't look good. For one reason, I knew my cell phone was going to die somewhere around Dover, NH and not be useful again until I got back to Boston (bad reception - everyone else gets great reception. I get bad reception). I also wasn't sure if she was going to call, and I wasn't sure if I'd even get the call if, in fact, she did call. Well, Thursday came and went and there was no call (I was using "Jello"'s phone to call my phone to check my messages). It was then deep into Friday afternoon and early evening when I called her again and got her voicemail. I left a message and asked her to call "Jello"'s phone. She called mine. I wasn't sure what that meant, but at least it was a call back. Still, she didn't tell me when she was going to be there or where she was climbing. Rumney, if you don't know, is a large, spreadout mountain (Rattlesnake Mountain) with about ten different crags hidden throughout the area. Finding her was going to be difficult, especially if she didn't want to be found.

Well, I left yet another message on her phone (this time it rang and went to voicemail) telling her that I'd be in the parking lot between 9am and 10am. I got up early, arrived at 830am (the drive across was far less busy than I thought it would be) and waited...and waited...and waited. I read my book (Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad) on the trunk of my car so that I could monitor the cars coming into the lot I was parked in and the cars driving to the next lot. I waited so more. It was now quarter after ten.

Well, all's well that ends well, because she showed up not too long after that. As it turns out, there was another guy there with his two-year-old son also waiting for her and her sister (as well as two other friends who showed up about the same time she did). After the meet-and-greet and pancake breakfast (support your local crag at their fundraisers) we walked up into the Parking Lot wall and did three climbs: an un-named chimney (probably 5.5 / 5.6) to the right of Juan Valdez (5.10b), Juan Valdez and Espresso (5.10d). I got up Juan Valdez OK, but struggled on the pumpy, juggy Espresso. My thumb just isn't right enough to handle overhanging routes yet. Otherwise I think I could have climbed it. If I can do Hammond Organ (5.10d), then I should be able to do Espresso as well. Juan Valdez, by the way, is a great route. It has either a crimpy face start or reachy flake start that leads to a layback left-facing corner at the top. It's really a great route with a heady lead section near the top.

After the Parking Lot Wall, we headed up to Tri-Corners, complained about "Elegance"'s dog crap smell (she says that was a healthy crap her dog took. I beg to differ), ran away from her trying to hook the bag of dog crap on our packs behind our backs, and fought off the odd, autumn coolness that made us all shiver at the unprotected crag. I tackled four climbs there as well: Murk Trench (5.10a - great short route), Trigger Happy (5.9 - Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun. Don't forget about the hidden jug on the left-facing corner midway up), Left El Diego (5.9 - probably closer to 5.10. Very pumpy but all the holds are there), and Rack for Sale (5.7 - fun).

All in all, I have to say that it was a really fun day. There was a lot of laughing that ensued, and I think my attitude of "climb-only" helped smooth things over for me in a big way. I was surprised to hear that "Elegance" was happy I had decided to come climbing with her crowd that day, and to be honest, I was pretty happy she'd let me climb with her and her friends. They were good people, good company, and I felt as if I had made a bit of a breakthrough that day. My priority was to climb, and I had a great time doing it, past histories be damned. I met some nice people, whom I have not created a nickname for, but I may have to if we do indeed go to the 'Dacks in a couple of weeks (though I do think it will be a "Jello"-and-I-only trip because it is all trad up there, and I'm not sure "Elegance" realized that when she said she was interested in going. She doesn't like trad that much, and I understand that because I think for her she prefers to climb hard routes, and you can't get that with trad very easily. Some folks like trad and others sport. It's a wiring thing, I think).

Anyway, we grabbed dinner in her friends' VW Van in Plymouth at the Plymouth House of Pizza and drove off. "Elegance" and I played leapfrog in our cars on the way home, just to keep ourselves awake. I took a loooong shower after three days of cleaning up in a cold, cold, cold stream in NoCo and went to bed.

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