I know I haven’t updated this blog in a while. I hope you forgive me. It’s been a busy summer, but alas the weather is cold and I have many good stories from my adventures this year so stay tuned.
Here is a story about my friend Shane and an adventure he had with failure this summer.
My friend Shane looked up at the route in anticipation. “The bottom looks a little wet, but the top looks dry and amazing.” I agreed.
We were standing underneath a large amphitheater in the Red River Gorge as thunder boomed and rain fell all around. Above us loomed Tradisfaction, a 5.10b trad route with a rad looking layback crack at the top, stopping just under the large roof that was protecting us from the storm that raged right next to us.
“Let’s do it!” Shane exclaimed. He racked up while I got out the rope and flaked it next to a really wet chimney.
Shane started up the wet chimney. Luckily the climbing was fairly easy and there was enough dry rock to move up. At about 20 feet up with a few pieces of gear in, he had to maneuver his way onto a wet moss covered ledge. He slithered his way onto the ledge and looked up at the beautiful crack above him.
“I can’t see you anymore, Shane, so keep talking to me,” I told him. He slowly moved his way up the crack. “It’s definitely drier up here,” he said. He kept climbing and he finally came into view again.
I was about to tell him that it looked hard and I heard him yell “Yahhh!” Down he fell and up I went. He stopped after a 10 foot fall. He and I laughed at the moment he became a true trad climber. His first legitimate fall on trad gear. He pulled himself back up and started climbing again.
He went higher and higher. He finally reached a decent rest ledge. Before him lay 30 feet of the beautiful crack we observed from the ground. He put a piece of gear in and started moving. “Watch me.”
As he moved higher the crack got wetter and wetter. I could see him struggling and he soon took another small fall. “It’s so wet man.” He took a little rest and then tried again. He slowly moved up but continued to meet wet, slimy rock. After some grumbling I heard him say “take.”
“It’s too wet. I’m going to have to come down.” I heard the defeat in his voice. “I think I can down climb and grab my gear. Keep me tight.” He slowly made his way down, eventually worming his way through the wet chimney and putting his feet back on the ground.
“Bummer man,” I said. Shane was pretty quiet. That’s how it goes sometimes. Just like in life, there are moments of bliss and moments of defeat. That day the wet rock defeated my friend Shane.
A few months later on a different trip to the Red, Shane gave the route another go. I was not there, but I got the scoop the next time I saw him. Apparently the route was much drier, but this time as he made his way up the lay back section, he stopped, and as he went to place a cam, his foot cut and down he went. This time he took a big fall and nearly hit the ledge. He still had the cam in his hand when he stopped. It was a scary fall but he was ok. He eventually got back on the route and finished it.
Knowing my friend Shane he will probably give that route another try someday. I hope I’m there, because I bet he will succeed.