|Waiting my turn on Shockley's|
|We took our 'Gunks weekends seriously|
I'm leaving behind a few open projects, and quite possibly a tradition, for me the past few years anyway, of climbing every single weekend. Who knows if I'll get out as much as I have in the past few years. The 'Gunks provided me and my several partners out of Boston a location where we climbed damn near every weekend for about four years straight (warm seasons only, obviously). Some weekends went better than others. There was romance and there was pure adrenaline. There were moments of mistaken identity and then days when wished I was a no one buried beneath the boulders with the copperheads and millipedes. Most of the time I came to learn something about myself, and more often than not I drove home in the late Sunday-afternoon traffic on I-90 believing that I had done something to make me a better person.
|"Blow" coming up Sixish|
|The author on Ants Line|
There were also so many moments in the 'Gunks when I was afraid. I backed off countless routes and forged ahead on others, sometimes successfully and sometimes not. But each of those prepared me for the toughest decisions I was about to make. I left a cushy job at a world-class institution to live with no money in a country whose language I didn't speak. My family was split over it, which has now come to the point where several members don't even want me around because they think I should be punished for not being a productive member of society (their definition of productive being different than mine). Facing a scary move is nothing compared to sacrificing a relationship with a dear family member who I once looked up to (and still do) in the name of finding oneself. The hurt of backing off a climb can't compare to the hurt of losing the respect of a loved one. The notion of committing to a climb pales in comparison to committing to saying good-bye to a cherished home when half of what makes that home so special is the atmosphere of the loved ones who have made it so. We can always go back to a climb, but we can never go back to the experience. Once that innocence is lost, it is lost forever. My climbing in the 'Gunks gave me a now-or-never view in life that I had never had before, and for that I'm forever grateful because I understand now that I don't want to lose the experience of living life.
|"Caboose" not on lead this time|
|"Jello" on the classic P2 of Bonnie's Roof|
|The author at peace|