I’m finally back in town, the sun was out, and Mark and I were itching to get back out for some rock climbing. Our last trip out was in mid-Novemeber, almost three months ago, but we didn’t care. We got up bright and early and headed south to climb on the sunny basalt cliffs of North Table Mountain.
It turns out, Mark and I lost a lot of strength, hand callouses, and confidence in that time. I think I may have spent more time taking pictures than climbing, and there are some nice pictures in the gallery.
We got the parking lot just after 9am. The parking lot was nearly empty. We hiked up to a quiet, and nearly vacant cliff, and were able to hop on two of the most popular climbs on the cliff without any wait.
When Mark and I started the morning on Thelma (5.7), we knew it was going to be a rough day. Mark finished the lead cleanly, but complained repeatedly that it didn’t seem like 5.7. I fell once or twice and came down with a burning feeling in my arms, shoulders and back. We both top-roped Louise (5.8) next, and both felt exhausted and burnt-up by the end of the climb.
I had to take about half an hour before my hands came back around to be able to even belay. We took our time for the next couple of hours. Taking pictures, enjoying the sun, playing with dogs and visiting with other climbers. Eventually, Mark started up Kid’s Climb (5.9), a climb which became humiliating on several levels. Mark fell three times, with one good-sized lead fall that sent me flying as well. I thrashed my way up as well, with my hands becoming useless about 2/3s of the way up.
It was great to get out on the rock, and get some sun on our pale skin. But also a hard reminder of what happens when you take a long break from the sport. We’ve got some catching-back-up to do.