My Java Journal

On Climbing: One Final Milestone To Share

Charlie, my daughter, and I (right to left) after finishing the first pitch. Bon Echo Provincial Park, Aug 2020


Short and sweet this week. One final climbing offer.

Last week I shared the experience of my first lead climb. We moved quickly to capitalize on our advancement and camped at Bon Echo Provincial Park to climb my daughter’s and my first multi-pitch. I am so proud and awed by her adoption of, and natural skill with this sport.

Multi-Pitch Climbing In A Nutshell

Here, the lead climber climbs to a point where they establish an anchor. From here, instead of the climb being complete, the lead climber belays (actively makes secure) a second – and in our case, a third – climber from above. The second (and third) climber climbs to the first climber’s anchor and once all are at anchor, with the ropes and everything now with you, a new belay station is set and the lead climber carries on climbing from that point. The heights and route lengths become, respectively, higher and longer.

Bon Echo

We did an entry-level route, maybe a 5.0-5.4, so pretty average. That said, we went from climbing 20-30 meters to climbing fully 90 meters (300 feet). The access to our climb was by canoe and and the exposure was appreciable throughout the climb.

Charlie led, my daughter followed, and I was third up. The route lengths and path were such that verbal communication became a challenge. This necessitated greater concentration and the need to ‘feel’ the climbs and belays, which has developed well after months of consistent climbing. Still a form of communication playing out, just more challenging and requiring more concentration and trust.

Once at the top of the climb, in this case only two pitches, we still needed to get down. The rappel was a 60 meter (200 feet) rappel and the longest, certainly, that my daughter has done. The only time she expressed any reservation or fear was as she was getting into position for the rappel. Quickly though, she accepted the need to do it and committed cautiously. Once she realized the mechanics were the same regardless the height, she found her confidence and descended beautifully.

Looking up from the bottom of a 200-foot rappel, Bon Echo Provincial Park, Sep 2020.


So Now What?

The climbing season is not done, yet. There won’t be any more firsts though this year. We will continue to climb weekly until the cold forces us inside. Inside, we will continue to climb, work on our technical skills, and get stronger for next year.

To think, this all started because I was looking to break in a new pair of climbing shoes for a course I am preparing to take. I’ve met amazing people, who now form the group of climbers that we meet and climb with weekly. I have my daughter with me for this adventure and I get to watch her achieve, overcome, learn, fail, succeed, and grow weekly. Such an amazing experience.

And with that, I will leave you this week.

Get outside. Find an experience you can share; it makes it so much more rewarding. Do something that scares you, learn something  new.