And So It Begins

Ashley on an unnamed problem at Lincoln Woods

There is a famous Mark Twain quote that goes “If you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes.”  One of the best things about living in New England is the changing of the seasons and the changing of activities that follow the seasons.  New England has been true to its reputation this year offering summer like weather one day, followed by a winter storm the next.  This time of year exemplifies the Twain quote as we find ourselves trading in crampons for rock shoes, and skis for bikes seemingly over night.  As much as I hate to see winter go, I love the opportunity afforded by these few weeks of winter disappearing and spring arriving.

Doug starting out on the Crack Traverse
In the spirit of the shoulder season, the day after enjoying in some late season freshies on Mount Moosilauke I ventured south to Lincoln Woods for my first day of outside (in New England, at least) bouldering this year.  I love the fact that I can be earning my turns one day, and enjoying the sun on my back as I rediscover some of my favorite boulders the next. 
Ashley getting ready to top out the Sitdown Crack  
I was nervous about my first day on the rock as many of my climbing partners committed to training in the gym this winter.  Over the winter I took a relatively lackadaisical attitude toward climbing in the gym, even letting my membership expire for awhile.  While my friends were spending their evenings preparing for the spring climbing season, I sat on the couch, drank beer, and watched ski movies.  I convinced myself that the break from climbing was doing my body good, that training was for suckers, and that climbing in the winter was for people who could not ski.  In order to justify my lack of training to myself, I convinced myself that everyone was wasting their time cramming themselves into the gym over the winter.    
Tim making the first move on The Sitdown
Not only did I forgo training in the gym over the winter, but I would vehemently defend my opinion to anyone who would listen.  On the rare occasions that I stopped by the gym over the winter and someone commented that they had not seen me in awhile I would arrogantly respond that I was busy skiing and then spend the next hour preaching about how the entire gym is wasting their time being inside when it is so nice outside.  Once my initial rant about being inside was finished, I would start telling people about how amazing the snow was and how everyone was missing out.   On my infrequent trips to the gym, if I struggled on the boulder problems it was never my lack of fitness that kept me from sending; rather it was that the problems were stupid, contrived, or “not my style.” 
Doug on The Sitdown
So it was with some hesitation that I met my friends at the Woods for the first real session of the season.  We found ourselves at the Sitdown Boulders and enjoyed a great morning of climbing in the sun, sheltered from the wind thanks to the way the boulders are situated.  I am not going to comment on how I climbed, but I will say that there is room for improvement and if I had it to do over again I might have drank a few less beers and spent a few more evenings at the gym.  It was nice to feel the sharp sting of granite on my tips, and I had enough fun that I – at least for the morning – forgot about the fresh snow that had fallen up north the previous evening.