Monday, April 18, 2011

The "No Bullshit" Zone

Sara on Twin Cracks @ Classic Crack Wall
This weekend in Leavenworth, Sara and I poured our sweet, winter-softened hearts into the rough, unforgiving, still nearly-frozen granite hoping to find some answers under our raw, abraded skin. We've come to a point on the journey toward reaching our climbing goals where kitchen-table ideals aren't matching the gritty, sharp reality of climbing on real rock. There is no room for fluff. On rock, your in the "no bullshit" zone.

As I stepped into the weekend, I realized its not a matter of can we achieve what we've set out to. We're both strong, competent and, while one of us (*cough...thebrunette...cough*) needs to dust off the cobwebs and remember to manage her tools so as not to be a junk show , I have no doubt we can "succeed." Yes, training and practice help, but strength is no longer the question.

Earlier in the week, questions of our success as a partnership had seeped into my mind. Did we both want the same thing? Could we support the other's dreams without sacrificing our own personal ones? Questions of finding common ground in our climbing partnership flickered in the back of my mind as we drove along HWY 2. Its not that we don't get along. We seem to ALWAYS get along. We get along when we disagree. And we even support one another as we both are learning how shoot it straight and call a best friend we care very much about on her shit without fear of retaliation. We even get along when we're on the receiving end of that calling out of shit.

Slabtastic! Barney's Rubble.
But, despite our similarities, appreciation for each others differences and strengths, care for each others vulnerabilities and fears (especially on rock), I wasn't sure we would make it. We seemed to suddenly want different things for Solo In Tandem.

But then we actually got on that rock. Over the course of the weekend, we placed pro for the first time of the season and got well-deserved sun burns.

I got panicky sewing machine leg on left-trending twin cracks, felt magic on slab, and grunted my way up awesomely angry and wonderful crack that will satisfyingly require a few weeks of healing.

Bestie Climbing Partners
Sara blissed out on a gorgeous twin crack (that same one that caused me panic), had her own mental battle on a bitch of a slab, finessed another with the skill of a ballet dancer, and pushed herself to giggle-inducing limits.

We had lots of time to laugh and soak up the late-day warmth as the sun inched to the horizon. We giggled while working like crazy to start the little fire that could. We offered encouragement and beta, "pulled the weight" when the other needed a mental or physical break, geeked out over Via coffee and ridiculous sleeping bags. And each found our own moments of euphoria. It was in those moments that we realized that our partnership isn't doomed.

 Phew! We are great climbing partners, which is a lucky thing to find in a friend who is also a bestie. We simply needed to remember that, while we do climb well together, each of us has slightly different ambitions and strengths. There's no room to pretend that we dont. Most of the time, it works out. But it's also ok to call big differences what they are and come up with alternate plans so that we can both accomplish our own dreams.


  1. Such a kind characterization of my Saturday afternoon temper tantrum (that slab made me question whether I'm still a rock climber ... until I realized that perhaps that was a tad bit overdramatic, and I was just having an off day).

    I'm such a lucky girl to get to climb with you, whether our ambitions and approaches always line up or not. I can't WAIT for Squamish in a couple weeks... my hands are sweating already!


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