Lost in the Fun
I love to repeat the same adventures. I am not sure of the reason for this…perhaps it is that by taking away some of the unknown, I can truly enjoy the experience. Perhaps it is to see if I can best my previous effort. Or maybe it is just because I had so much fun the first time, I look to recapture that same feeling. My life is filled with repeat trips, whether it is skiing The Stash, Mount Wachusett, or Mount Tecumseh in the winter, named and chartered road bike rides in the summer, or bouldering circuits at my local haunt, Lincoln Woods. I just love to press the repeat button on my outdoor activities.
I have been slowly realizing this about myself, and a recent trip to Lost in the Sun with Mickey Spades and Ashley helped confirm my suspicion. I had climbed Lost in the Sun two weeks prior with Doug and had a great time. I found the climbing moderate and enjoyable. Bolted belays made the climbing logistically easy and rappelling the route straight forward. Furthermore, Doug and I had sussed out the approach and I now knew I could easily find the route. A week prior to our first (successful) trip to Lost in the Sun, Doug and I had dragged Mickey Spades through a horrible bushwhack to climb four pitches of a unnamed and unidentified climb on the far left of Mount Webster. We originally thought it was Lost in the Sun, but we were wrong. Needless to say, Mickey Spades was scarred from our first venture and skeptical of making a return trip.
Knowing what to expect on the route ahead made the day more comfortable and less dramatic than the first attempt. Knowing the gear on the route, I left about a third of what Doug and I packed for a rack behind, brought a couple extra slings to extend gear and reduce rope drag, and packed a couple of extra quick draws for the one bolted pitch. Losing the extra weight of the rack was certainly appreciated on the steep hike up to the base of the climb.
Knowledge of the approach led me to wear a pair of approach shoes with thicker soles (Five Ten Insights), than my normal guide tennies, which my feet appreciated as I navigated up the scree field to the base of climb. Knowing the route also allowed me to know which belays would be comfortable for taking off my climbing shoes and having a snack. It also let us move quickly from uncomfortable hanging belays, especially when the next pitch was presenting a big ledge.
Prior knowledge of the route let me prepare for the physical and mental cruxes of the route. It also let me know when I could sit back, relax, and enjoy the climbing, weather, and spectacular scenery in Crawford Notch. Eliminating the pressure of the unknown of the pitches above led to joking at the belays instead of uneasiness, some time to sit back and snap photos, and a good guesstimate of how we were doing on time.
The real highlight of the day was being able to share my great experience two weeks prior with a friend and girlfriend who were unable to join me the last time. For Mickey Spades, he had a fun day of climbing off the beaten path (i.e., not Rumney, Lincoln Woods, or Quincy Quarries). Mickey also gained a new Facebook profile picture (a very important achievement in any outing). Ashley gained some valuable multi-pitch experience, learned a trick or two, and is anxious to go back and lead me up Lost in the Sun.