Thursday, November 11, 2010

End-of-Season Blues

You can feel it coming, can't you?

Every day I feel the end of the climbing season is closer. So much left undone.

It's been a pretty crummy fall in the Gunks, or maybe I just haven't had the best luck in picking my climbing days. It seems like it's rained an awful lot. A couple weeks ago I got out on a Friday with Vass and it was cold and damp. Twice it briefly hailed, and although I entertained thoughts of bailing we stuck it out and managed to get 8 great pitches in on uncrowded classics. Pretty good for a short fall day. We definitely made the most of it. 

Then it warmed up and it was glorious for most of the next week, with temperatures in the 50s and 60s. Unfortunately there was no way I could go climb on any of these beautiful days!

Finally last Friday I had the chance to take another vacation day, but the weather turned for the worse again in the days preceding our planned day out. It was cold and rainy Wednesday and Thursday. Vass and I talked it over and decided not to go on Friday.  But then the forecast changed and it appeared the rain would stop Friday morning.  I pictured myself sitting, furious, in my office in Manhattan looking at blue skies and decided we should go for it. It would possibly be a waste of a vacation day, but how many more climbing days would I get this year? Might as well try.

So we drove up that morning in the rain. We ate breakfast in New Paltz and browsed at Rock & Snow as it continued to rain. Finally, as promised, the rain stopped. It was not quite10 a.m., and we headed up to the cliffs. But as we reached the hairpin turn we entered a thick, wet fog. The cliffs remained in the center of this wet cloud until after noon. We hiked around the Trapps for a while, waiting for it to lift, feeling like we were in the middle of a cold rainforest. Wetness was everywhere. After lunch we returned but didn't feel anything was really climbable until 2 p.m., and even then it was a bit slick. We stuck to very easy climbs like Betty (5.3) and Bunny (5.4), and called it a day. I have to say it felt good to be out on the rock under any circumstances, and I took a certain pride in being one of the only knuckleheads obsessed enough to try to climb on such a miserable day.   

I know I shouldn't complain. Everyone's been rained out one time or another. 

But I'm starting to feel a bit cursed. This week I'm planning on another climbing vacation-day Friday, and it should be beautiful out, sunny and in the 50s.  It could be the last hurrah of the season. Accordingly, I have plans. Nothing huge, mind you, just some world-class 5.8s that have somehow eluded me over the last couple years. Birdland, Snooky's Return, perhaps even Modern Times. But I can't help feeling the gods are angry with me, that they're taunting me with another problem: I have come down with a head cold. I woke up yesterday with a sore throat and a thick-headed, congested feeling. Today I can't really say I feel much better. 

But screw it all, I'm not even considering bailing. I'm going to feel better by tomorrow morning and if I don't, so what? There's no crying in rock climbing. Climb on, goddammit.

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