"It’s a tough route but it's all there!"

“If the weather’s good, I’d love to go outside this weekend”. Usually that sentence gets thrown around at the gym and it’s a lot of “I wish I could, but”....and then the idea fades. Somehow this weekend the stars aligned and a solid group of seven all committed to Kings Bluff.

It was almost too cold when we left in Saturday morning, but by the time we arrived at the bluff, the sun was shining perfectly on the rocks, and we were all shedding layers after we tied our figure eights.

It had been almost a year to the day since I’d been sport climbing outdoors. It’s amazing how much harder a 5.9 is outside than in the gym. It was a lovely and humbling reminder at how much strength is needed when you’re outside doing the real thing. Gym grades are sometimes inflated or exaggerated, but none of that really matters. The main thing is to have a good time, enjoy the climb, make some memories, and come home in one piece.

I think my favorite thing about a group getting together to climb, is the description of the routes/the beta we give. If only I had written down the ridiculous things we'd say to one another. One I do remember is this little tidbit of advice given when my friend had taken a pretty good fall and was trying to figure out what she’d missed before a second attempt. “Well, it’s a pretty tough route but it's all there!”. Noted.

Anyway, I'm already itching for the next trip and a few more quotes.

P.S. Shootout to Clinton for snagging shots while I climbed!

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An Ode to a Harness

An Ode to a Harness

One of my favorite writers and outdoor personality recently wrote a wonderful piece about the Joy of Wearing out a Piece of Gear. He published this on the exact day I had purchased a new climbing harness for the first time in five years.

I’ve always formed an attachment with my favorite gear. My hiking boots are my friends, my pack is a companion, my climbing shoes are my armor, and my car is basically my boyfriend (though honestly we fight more than anyone in a relationship should…). It takes a lot of trial and error to find the gear that works for you, that feels reliable, and that will be in it for the long haul. One of those pieces for me is my very first climbing harness.

In 2013 I started venturing down to Nashville every couple of weeks to climb with my brother. Eventually the rental harnesses started seeming more and more lame to me. If I start a new hobby, I usually don’t take long jumping into the gear side of things - my bank account’s greatest downfall. So I went online and found the first ladies harness in a not too sickening girly color and bought it. The dusty purple  Black Diamond primrose harness was mine.

This harness took me from 5.6s to 5.12- (okay I've only climbed that once but it counts), it took me through two relationships, my first outdoor climbing trip, my first lead fall, trips to Nashville, my job at my new local gym, and so many new friendships in the climbing community. It’s completely discolored from sweat and grime, it’s stretched out so far that it’s a size too big, and I have the waistband doubled over to keep it secured on my hips. The tags on the inside have disintegrated and the leg loops are worn. But through it all, this harness has kept me safe and secure for the last five years. It’s seen my confidence in my abilities grow, my muscles strengthen, and my body change for the better. However, I'll never forget the time I put it on upside down AND backwards at a gym after I hadn’t used it in a year. I’ll never not be embarrassed about that unbelievable blunder….

I’m so thankful I bought this harness. But the time has come to say goodbye. I’ve bought a new one that is updated, clean (for now), the right size, and all shiny and new. I’m excited to make new memories with this one, but i'll always cherish the ones made in my very first harness.

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Sometimes You Aren't Inspired

Sometimes you aren’t inspired.

And currently, I haven’t been. I was hoping with all my new years goals and excitement for a brand new start, that I would stick to a strict posting schedule and just crank out the content for my existent (or more likely, nonexistent) readers. Instead, I’ve just been dealing with a whole lot of work stress and an abhorrent amount of rainfall which has kept me from being as adventurous as I would like.

When things in my 9-5 work grind get overwhelming, I tend to shut down. I shut down on friends, on work itself, family, and on creative endeavors. Quite frankly the only thing keeping me sane is that fact that I’ve been climbing about five times a week.

I have a blog post about my January trip to Pickett State Park just chilling in my drafts that is about ⅓ of the way finished, so hopefully someday that will see the light of day. But for now, I’m still on an accidental hiatus until the (excuse the somewhat gross cliche) creative juices start flowing.

Hopefully if weather cooperates, I’ll have a mini climbing weekend in Chattanooga that I can share with you, and possibly some small day hikes. But for now, I’m gonna keep trying to eat all the vegetables I can stand, drink some more water, take it easy on the Starbucks blonde espresso (cause that stuff is TIGHT), and go to bed at a reasonable hour. And hopefully real-life-not-so-fun work stuff dies down soon-ish (but it most likely won’t).

Later!