NOT AN EPIC.
I know this story has to start somewhere but I haven’t decided where yet. For now it will start here…
Woke up at 4:45am yesterday, but I wouldn’t really call it waking up. I would call it rolling out of my car from one mental state to another. For whatever reason, it had been unable to sleep the whole night prior. Thoughts of traveling north again, money spent, car organization and future came rushing in. Through winds, rain, parties and the perpetual light from Vegas, I have been able to sleep, but when at the mercy of my own thoughts I am hopeless.
The knock came on my window as I had finally fallen into the first stages of REM. C was up. I rolled, burrowed into my pillow and took a heavy breath into the back of my lungs. I could already feel the abuse from yesterdays climbing setting in. Water was already boiling when I got out of bed (car), but C wasn’t so hot. “ Would you still go if I wasn’t going?” “ Do you feel okay climbing it without me?” she asked. Of course I would be okay, but no, I wouldn’t go without her. For the past month and a half, myself W and C have been grown into a tight knit crew, and in this last week in Red Rocks I was hoping to have a day out with the both of them. We would wait to do this climb with her if today wasn’t the day. She still looked hesitant and retreated to her car to read the route description again.
I knew we were in for a big day. But I wasn’t worried about it. This was probably our last chance to do something big. Claire had had bad luck on Multi pitches in Red Rocks so far on this trip; one uncomfortable and late rappelling adventure with twisting ropes and another climb that forced her to attempt technically foreign movement while on lead. She was not sure she was ready to commit to a 13 pitch route in a party of three on Wolfgangs ropes: twin ropes, what we, Sport climbers would consider not much more solid than ‘cordalette’. All considered, I wasn't sure I was ready either. “ Claire, if there is one thing I know, its that if there are two people you want to do this with, its me and Wolfie. I can’t promise you we will have an easy day, and yea we will definitely be walking down in the dark… but I can promise you that it will be fun”. I could feel my shit eating grin bearing through. She retreated to her home once again for some last minute mental alignment. I boiled more water.
The Sleek black rental sonata pulled into the campground just past 5:30am. Wolfgang emerged, 50s rock and roll tunes on the radio and two Americanos in his hands. “ Girls!” he smiled. “ Are you ready??” I can’t help but love our Austrian friend. We turned off the stove and left the water to cool as we drove off towards the Black Velvet Canyon.