The Ugly

Figuratively (and extremely literally) Climbing has all sorts of highs and lows. The best days don’t always mean reaching the literal highest of highs. Although, I imagine it is an amazing feeling to climb the highest of highs. 🙂

Follow along this series to reach three of my stories: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Part 3: The Ugly

Background: I work in a customer facing department of four individuals. Of the four employees, three were out of town. I was running things solo.

Decision: Do you ever tell yourself, “I can be done climbing by 5 at the latest,” only to be going up for the final round at 7:30? Let’s just say my husband adds at least one to two hours to my latest climbing time automatically. 😉

Anomaly: The first time my partner and I tried climbing before work, it went very smoothly. We climbed to our muscles content and left in plenty of time to get to work in time. Who could have predicted this was an anomaly? Besides my spouse.. Somehow he wasn’t surprised when I told this story.   

The Day: I left my apartment at 6 am to head up to the canyon. My climbing buddy is a lot smarter and more hardcore than me. She decided to sleep at the canyon in order to save a hour of sleep. The goal was to wear ourselves out in a few hours and make it back in time for work, just like last week.

It started out beautifully. We started out with a 5.6 to warm up. After that we moved to our project. We had not attempted it before, but it was the same level we were working on just around the corner. It was a good one to get us nice and tired quickly.

I can’t say there was anything unusual about the climb. It was tricky. I think I had a few small falls. I was so pumped every clip I had to take a break and shake out (I am working on my endurance in case you are wondering). I set the route, and my partner cleaned it. I needed to leave by 8:30 to get to work at 9. She was rappelling down the route at 8:30. I was a few minutes behind, but nothing a little extra pedal-to-the-metal could not fix.

Until.. DISASTER STRUCK!! As far as disasters go, no one was imminent danger of dying. So that was great! However, I was 2 hours late to work on a day everyone was relying on me.

To this day, I still to do not know what happened. There was some sort of incident cleaning the route. The rope got stuck in the chains. We tried to pull it through. It wasn’t going anywhere. Unfortunately (and fortunately in normal circumstance), we had climbed to our muscles content. We were both too tired to do the climb again to fix what ever happened at the chains.

We stared at it for awhile. We tried to climb the easier route next to it. We even tried to scramble up the crack nearby hoping the top was secure and we could walk across. We went exploring for some day time climbers. We stared at it some more. Finally, some day time climbers came by.

They saved our butts while we were standing there looking at our hard work. This wonderful, wonderful, man was taking his family for an easy climb (5.7s). Instead he climbed the 10a that had stolen my rope. Finally, 2.5 hours later I had my rope and was running into my office with many, many, voicemails.

Since then, I make sure I have no imminent obligations, or someone to cover me when I go climbing. Just in case! This story could have ended much uglier (fired!), but luckily it was just a learning lesson for cleaning anchors. 🙂

When climbing, always expect the unexpected!


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