Relationships Are All About Compromise
People often think that having a girlfriend that loves climbing as much as I do would be amazing and most of the time it is. What most people don’t know is that there are different types of climbing, and different beliefs on what constitutes a great day of climbing. Just because both my girlfriend and I love to climb, our beliefs on what makes a great day climbing can sometimes differ.
I love rock climbing but more accurately I love bouldering. I love everything about bouldering, but most importantly I love the social aspect of bouldering. Because bouldering involves spotting as much as climbing, and because you rest as much as you climb, bouldering builds a real sense of community. Bouldering also involves solving problems in the climbing; you often rely on your peers helping to solve the problems. Because you are interacting with your climbing partners as much as climbing, bouldering provides a fun day where you have socialized as much as you have climbed.
My girlfriend, however, loves to rope climb. She would much rather choose a day sport climbing or multi-pitch climbing over a day at the boulders. She loves the feeling of space beneath your feet the further up you push a route. She loves the idea of pushing back the fear the further you move above a piece of gear or a bolt. Most importantly, she loves the way you can link multiple moves together and the feeling of flow and motion up the rock.
We have been bouldering a lot lately. The fact is we live much closer to good bouldering than good rope climbing. Also, the cool fall temps have made bouldering a very appealing option: it makes the rock’s friction good for sending harder problems, and the intense nature of bouldering does not lend itself to being an all day activity, letting us retreat to the warmth of inside before the cold becomes too much. In the spirit of compromise and with good weather predicted we headed to Rumney, New Hampshire for a day of sport climbing.
The weather was great at Rumney and the crowds by Rumney standards were minimal. Our goal was to climb a bunch of moderate routes with a focus more on mileage than difficulty for the day. It was also Mickey Spades’ first real trip to Rumney to climb, so we were looking for something comfortable for him to climb. For the day we climbed at Jimmy Cliff’s left end, a great spot with moderate lines and a few very easy multi-pitch sport climbs. After we exhausted Jimmy Cliff, we moved down the cliff to the Meadows. The Meadows is another great spot at Rumney with a high concentration of moderate climbs.
The day ended up being a huge success. My girlfriend had a great day at Rumney and we climbed a bunch of routes in relative solitude. Mickey Spades also led his first Rumney sport climb and is psyched to get back up there and tackle some of the routes we looked at today. Finally, I had a great day as well…maybe Sport Climbing isn’t so bad.