It’s On(g) like Donkey-Kong!

I was just notified by the American Alpine Club that I was one of the recipients of the 2015 Live Your Dream Grant, for the Northeast Region in the U.S. My grant application was to help offset the costs of attending the 2015 American Alpine Club International Climbers Meet (I had to defer my participation last year because of the numerous broken fingers and right foot), and a Nose-in-a-Day (NIAD) attempt too.

For a number of reasons, I hesitated before accepting the award. I was not sure how I would find the time to train to do all those pitches and dial in a system with my prospective partner (who lives in California). The Northeast does not have long aid-routes or places where I can climb to the top of an area and drop down 1-2 full rope lengths and practice jugging. Ideally, I would make a trip before the planned one, to practice aid (I have not done a wall since before my accident), figure out how I can jug efficiently on slab (I suspect that will be far harder for me than steep overhangs). But, I have a partner (that is, a life/romantic one) who does not climb outside, and I feel bad about spending time away from him because that affects how much time we can spend together. Being in a relationship with a non-climber (he boulders on plastic inside) is a new experience for me, as I had always been with guys who climbed since I started climbing (before my big accident). I had dated lots of non-climbers post-accident, but that was before I got back into climbing outside more seriously again.

I heard a great quote the other day, from the host of the Enormocast podcast. He said something along the lines of, “Sport climbing is like chocolate cake. It’s great, tasty and awesome, but you can’t live on it. Long trad and aid routes are like the juicy hamburger.” Even though I do not eat land-based meat, this is exactly how I feel :) This is how I feel about pulling on plastic inside too. It has its place, but it doesn’t feed my soul. It did make me question living around here though, where I can’t fulfill my potential as a trad/aid-climber, because there just is not that much around here along those lines (ha ha, groan). But, I tell myself, there is more to life than climbing, including love and being with someone you are crazy about, who is crazy about you, and who you are so compatible with.

I went ahead and accepted the grant award. I knew if I rejected the award, I would regret it and be resentful of Scott. I’ll be putting thought into how to go about achieving my objectives this Fall. One possibility is practicing on Dolt Tower; and it would be prudent to get the Traverse from Sickle to Stovelegs down too. If anyone has any ideas of places not too far from Boston where I can easily drop a fixed line and do jugging laps (this would mean a place where getting to the anchors (ideally, fixed bolts, or places where I can put in very solid natural anchors), please let me know!

3 thoughts on “It’s On(g) like Donkey-Kong!

  1. Lots of options around North Conway… and Shag Pond (check it out on Mountain Project) is plenty steep for what you need. Getting a rope up (without climbing the routes) may be possible from the lookers right… North Conway for sure has lots of options though. Happy to connect you with friends there if you don’t know folks there.


    • Thanks Danika! I might contact you if I need a partner/help with this. Carrying multiple, heavy 10+ mm ropes isn’t really my cup of tea any more. The main deficit right now is my knowledge of where to even go to do this i.e. an area with suitable rock/terrain, where my jugging won’t be in the way of other folks. And, hopefully, an area where I won’t be massacred by mozzies :)


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