26
Jul
On “Sucking it Up” Posted By Charlie on

 

 

She just wants to go climbing…

There’s traffic on the highway. Stop and go. I am starting the three-hour drive from Yale to its closest real sport climbing area in Rumney, NH. My air conditioning isn’t working. I’m not in a great mood. This is the moment when I think, “how cool would it be to live in a place with real climbing, real close?” It’s the only real moment I ever regret going to school in New Haven. It’s also the moment I decide that I will end up in Colorado for the summer and, so, I realize, it’s not all bad.

I did make the move to Colorado this summer, and I think there’s a good chance it’s the actual heaven. As an intern here at Panorak, I’ve been given the opportunity to spend an incredible amount of time outside, and (coming here from one of the nation’s least outdoor cities) I couldn’t relish it more. I have never been in a place with so much focus on the mountain life or with more mountain hard-folk to make me push myself.

My first 14er, Mt. Yale, certainly called for a little bit of “pushing.” I arrived at the Cottonwood Pass trailhead late in the night, and slept on the roof of my car for a little while. I was caught in awe with all the stars—they’re a little hard to come by in smoggy New Haven. Starting early and walking with flatlander lungs, the altitude was not to be ignored. There was some reprieve: Out east, most hiking trails are rocky and steep, but this trail led gently, switchbacking through the expansive meadows on Yale. It provided an openness, wonderful sights of the surrounding collegiate peaks graced us nearly the whole way up.

The climb certainly took its toll. My legs were screaming on the last few hundred feet, I could feel my heart beating in my throat, and the air felt so thin, so dry. But, I had decided I was going to the top and so all of this discomfort became less important than the plan. And, when I stood there, smiling, the view that flooded in left me stymied. I was in mountains that went on forever, with little lakes at their bases, snow on their flanks, and me at their center. I didn’t walk back to my car- I floated.

Shoes to go trail running? No, thanks.
Awww yeah.

It was one day on Mount Yale, but it summed up something very big about this whole outdoor life thing we’re doing. It showed me that all you have to do to get in the best shape of your life or have best day ever—to paddle your hardest rapids, send your hardest boulder problem, summit your biggest peak, or ride your fastest singletrack—is to just decide to do it, and then work for it a little. More often than not, we hold ourselves back by not making plans, by complaining about the weather,and by not wanting to be in a little bit of pain now and then. That’s what was keeping me from climbing a lot while living in New Haven and what made my climbing, when it did happen, a little uninspired. But, then I chose—to climb, to train, and to never say no. Covered in scrapes, forearms constantly sore, and with sunburned, chapped lips that will likely never heal, I am the happiest person on planet Earth.

Let’s Bite the bullet. Let’s suck it up. Let’s Go hard. Adventure is waiting.

 

 

 

 

 

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