I haven’t posted in nearly 6 months – that makes me a horrible person.
The last you heard from me (back in October), Michelle and I had gotten engaged at Camp Muir. Sometime towards the end of September we got out to Vantage one last time for some outdoor climbing before the cold weather rolled in, and in November we (finally) got ourselves a membership with the Seattle Vertical World. So let’s start there…
We finally decided we could make the time to get to a climbing gym enough to justify a membership, and we got in with Vertical World about a month or so before the new gym was scheduled to open (thus locking us into a slightly lower price). We managed to get in there and climb once or twice a week at best (a drastic difference from the 3 to 4 times a week we had been going to Sportrock back in Virginia).
I won’t deny that part of the problem was me. For whatever reason, Michelle and I had a hard time meeting people at Vertical World. We went enough that the folks behind the counter got to know us and were friendly, but we never got a friendly vibe from the other climbers. Everyone seemed to be in their cliques and were satisfied. But the new gym was opening soon and we couldn’t wait to climb there, so we stuck with it.
The new gym opens, and it was incredible. Massive walls, tons of climbs, sandbagged routes and lots of people. But as the weeks go by and Michelle and I still don’t have ANY close friends from the gym, my enthusiasm wanes. I have no desire to go to Vertical World anymore, and stepping foot in the place usually put me in a foul mood. I wanted out. I wanted to spend my time doing something else. At this point, we’re lucky if we get into the gym once a week, and we’re bleeding money on the membership.
While I don’t understand why we were unable to make friends at Vertical World, I admit that I am personally responsible for the lack of enthusiasm and foul-mood I exhibited every time we went. See, for me, climbing has always been a social activity. Yes, it has come naturally to me and at one point, I was climbing 5.12s in the gym. So what? The level at which I climb means very little to me. I want to spend time with friends, help them push themselves and solve problems on the wall, play fun and competitive climbing games, and just have a good time. But when it’s just two people climbing, alone in a sea of strangers, it’s hard to have a good time because you spend 80% of the time by yourself (either standing at belay or climbing on the wall). The rudeness was a bit of a turnoff as well (“Sure, go and just jump onto the route I’m standing in front of and chalking up to climb. No I don’t mind, thanks for asking first.”).
Skip ahead to March, which has been crazy because we moved from Shoreline down to Des Moines to be closer to Michelle’s work. Vertical World is far enough away that it’s not worth the trip, which would normally have to be made in traffic. So we (finally) get to cancel our membership. But of course, we can’t do that over the phone. We have to drive up there before the end of the month and do it in person. *sigh* Guess I have to go one more time to that stupid gym (sorry, it’s not a stupid gym, I’m just bitter).
On a plus side, Michelle and I still have our sights set on summiting Mt. Rainier this year. While we haven’t been making the best attempts to stay in shape, we’re in pretty good shape to start with so as long as the altitude doesn’t kill us, we should be able to make the hike. We almost have all the gear we need (still need an alpine rope – suggestions?), and we want to take an introduction class to get our feet wet. With this being my first major mountaineering summit, I would like to find someone who has made the summit before and go with them. That would make me feel a lot more comfortable than trying to figure it ourselves (this summit isn’t worth dying for).
I’ve also added summiting Mt. Baker to my bucket list, for two reasons: 1) It’s a mountain and you can summit it, and 2) we can take the dog. I think Colby would have a blast, as he loves the snow and hasn’t had any problems on 6-hour snowshoeing adventures.
With warm weather around the corner, and now that the dog is older and a little more independent (and well-behaved), we should find it easier to get away on the weekends (well, every other weekend) and start to pursue the whole reason we moved out here – to enjoy the outdoor opportunities the PNW has to offer.