Once upon a time I was a pretty decent climber. But that was kind of a long time ago. When I lived in Worcester, I had lots of climbing friends nearby and lived 10 minutes away from the rock gym. Climbing was a BIG part of my life. I would hit the gym a few nights a week and head to Lincoln Woods or Rumney with the boys on the weekends. I certainly wasn’t setting any records, but I could climb 5.11 almost comfortably, lead 5.9-5.10 fairly confidently, and bouldered V3 somewhat casually. These days? Not so much.
The first time I climbed this year was JULY 25TH. I’m not sure how climbing fell out of my life so completely for so long, but it did and it was very obvious that day. Tim and I top roped at the gym for about 30 minutes before my body started to protest. I was already so sore and I was climbing SO pathetically, but I managed to go for another hour before admitting defeat. I hadn’t set foot on anything harder than 5.7, and instead of being happy that I had climbed at all, the only thing I could think was “I guess I’m not a climber anymore.”
But here’s the thing: I am still a climber. You know how they say things like “if you run, you’re a runner”? Well, it’s no different in the world of climbing. Or cycling. Or anything, really. I may not climb as hard as I used to, or as frequently as I used to (or as frequently as I want to), but I still get out there and do it sometimes and maybe that’s good enough for now. I may have more closely resembled “Bambi trying to walk on the ice” than “Sasha crushing a 5.14- in Italy” the first time I went back to Rumney a few months ago, but I got off the ground and had a great time—and isn’t that what being outdoors is all about anyway?