New Friends & The New River Gorge

Version 2

Over the past weekend I went on my first climbing trip with my new friends. It was a little strange at first. I had met one of these friends a couple of weeks ago, and the other I had met only a day before the trip, on the underwear bike ride. It felt kind of weird being the outsider. They were hesitant to let me belay and clean. They told me not to be afraid to ask questions, and I appreciated that, but it still felt strange, as I’ve been doing these things for years.

To start off the weekend we climbed some 5.9. Soon it started raining, so I tried to keep my head clear and climb it as fast as I could without making myself nervous. I ended up getting stuck at a really reachy move. It wasn’t that it was too reachy, but there was this little crimp I was trying to use as an intermediate and it was not going well. So after about 10 minutes of trying to work this bit of the climb I let them haul me past it. Hell of a first impression, right? I couldn’t feel too bad though, since the other guy couldn’t get that section either, and everyone was too bummed about the rain to care about me being a shitty climber.

But when day two rolled around I didn’t seem the most shitty. These two guys that I climbed with have been friends for about a decade so I felt a bit awkward, but on day 2 I proved that I can at least climb a little bit. Out of the two people I was with, one crushed wicked hard, and the other turned out to be about the same ability as me. He’s a lot stronger than me and a bit taller, but I have the balance thing going for me and manage to use far smaller foot holds. I ended up leading a 5.7 called That 8 and a 5.9 I forgot the name of. This was far less than I was hoping for, but at least it’s something! Other than that we did a bunch of 9s and 10as which was a lot of fun. I ended up being able to drag myself up every climb aside from that first 9, though I won’t say I’m proud of how I climbed. I was very surprised by how technical the climbs at the New are. Up until now I had mostly climbed at the Red, where the standard climb is an overhung jug haul. I did get to utilize the crack climbing skills I learned in Utah though, so that made me feel pretty good. This was a pretty solid reminder of the fact that I need to continue training. I need to get stronger, work on endurance, and climb more. Luckily I don’t think those guys hated me too much, so I might be joining them at the New again this weekend!

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