The first time I went climbing outdoors was April of last year. After three months of going to the gym regularly, I was sending V1s and V2s. My boyfriend invited me to go climbing outdoors with him and some buddies up in The Gunks, and I, hungry for my first taste of outdoor climbing on real boulders, readily accepted.
My goals for the day were, in my naïve opinion, reasonable — the low goal was to send a V1. The medium goal was getting three points. And the ultra-high goal was to have a five point day. Looking back on this now, these were definitely some steep expectations. I clearly had no idea what to expect. As it was, I was barely able to start any problems, much less finish them.
Since that trip, I’d gone back up with the gang numerous times, and despite my many attempts, still had yet to accomplish my Three Point Day.
New York’s random warm streak and minimal snow has lingered all season, and Saturday’s conditions were fine for bouldering. My expectations for this trip were low — I merely wanted to hang out with my friends, maybe re-send a problem or two, and try not to die of exposure in the cold temps.
We started, as has been the habit of recent trips, at Boxcar Boulder. I re-sent Unnamed Boulder Problem #3 (V1), but for some reason couldn’t get back on top of Blasted Rock (V1). We expected the rock to feel a lot stickier on account of the cool weather (temps in the 30s), but I just couldn’t stay on the top right crimp. Alas! My ego was a little wounded, but I didn’t dwell on it long, because we had new things to try.
We walked all the way down to the big curve in the Carriage Road to try some things we hadn’t been on before. Boyfriend and the strong kids wanted to take a crack at The Art of Nothing (V8), while myself and some others wanted a go at Even Chubby (V1) and the V3 (whose name, if it has one, I can’t remember) next to it.
Even Chubby isn’t a particularly difficult V1, although the end has a reachy throw that is definitely out of my comfort zone (however, videos I’ve seen on YouTube show a right-hand that was not confirmed as being on, and a top-out further out right than we thought – video vs. actual problem yet to be confirmed). Pair that with a rocky bottom, and it was a little scary to do. However, 2016 is the Year of Trying Harder, so when I reached the point where I usually would have looked at the distance to the throw and said “Fuck that,” I actually took a chance and made a push for it. Imagine my surprise when I felt my hand wrap around the lip. Unfortunately, I fell off immediately afterward, but it felt good to have gone for something I normally wouldn’t have and make some progress toward it (and not kill myself in the process).
By this time it was already getting late, and sundown was a mere hour or so away. We had a couple Gunks newcomers with us, so we headed back down the Carriage Road to try out some classics. A couple people took some burns on Gill Pinch and Gill Egg, while A and I worked on Clune Crank. My previous attempts at Clune Crank were not very fruitful. I usually chickened out right before the last move, on account of the (surprise!) throwy finish. I took a couple of burns and, in the spirit of Trying Harder 2016, made a throw for the lip. And I made it! Not only did I make the throw, I stuck on it, and managed my first top-out in a feeling of something other than complete panic. Two points!
At that point we were all pretty much done. “Too bad about the three point day,” was a statement made. And then M got a strange gleam in his eye. “Lazy Mayzie,” he said.
Lazy Mayzie is a very juggy V2 near the Welcome Boulder. From our guesses, it’s a V2 because of the high chance that you’ll dab your back on the boulder directly behind it. Which is exactly what I’ve done every other time I’ve climbed it. I pointed this out to M, and he merely said “So? I’m taller than you, and I can do it, so you can definitely do it.” Boyfriend said “So just don’t dab your back.” And the rest of our motley crew, kind and encouraging and wonderful as they are, were willing to wait for five minutes while I reached for my dream of the ***Three Point Day***.
It was cold, and I was tired. I had one burn in me. I slipped on my shoes, thankful that I had copied M and shoved handwarmers in the toes of them as we walked. I chalked up and pulled on. And by keeping my hips up and my body close to the boulder, I hurled myself up it, without dabbing my back.
And I got it. Not only did I have a Three Point Day, I got FOUR.
M was on top of the boulder while I got there, with a big grin on his face. I waved my arms around in my excitement at the crew below and almost knocked M off the top of the boulder, but thankfully didn’t, which is good because that would have been a total dick move.
As we left the crag, I was exhausted but also ridiculously pleased, proud, and content. To be honest, I had discounted the possibility of being able to have my Three Point Day this season. And I couldn’t have done it alone – I owe most of my confidence, my strength, and my small-but-growing desire to try risky moves entirely to my friends. They provide me with endless support, encouragement, and beta, and they’ve always had my back, whether spotting me on relatively easy problems or talking me through panicky top-outs when my body is already 75% over the lip. Boyfriend, M, A, and the whole gosh-darn MgCO3 crew, this Day’s for you!