What to climb, what to climb?
This is perhaps one of the most fun steps in preparing to climb a wall.
Chances are, whatever route we select will be one that we have read about in the past and probably even talked about doing , never really believing it would happen.
Now, we get to review all of those routes again, and new ones as well, and decide which one we will climb. Which will be ‘our’ route.
It feels a little like being two kids who visit the zoo and are then told they can choose any animal they want as a pet.
On the surface it is a ridiculous proposition, giving a zoo animal to a child as a pet.
On the other hand, if you are that child,
“Holy sh%^, I just got a pet rhinoceros! I need a saddle!”
Climbing a big wall feels a little like that.
Many would say it is a fools errand, looking for a giant cliff that will take at least 2 days to climb, suffering for every foot, just so you can get to the top and come back down. Much like giving a child a rhinoceros, nothing good can come from it.
Luckily (or not), we are a couple of errant fools (I mean that literally as well, we are almost famously terrible at route finding).
Unlike the child who takes home their pet rhinoceros, we know that there will be challenges, unforeseen circumstances and possibly uncomfortable poop incidents.
In part, that is why we climb (overcoming challenges, not uncomfortable poop incidents). The benefit that comes from climbing a big wall isn’t found in what we have done, but in what the experience has done to us.
To that end, by March 31 Billy and I have to have decided on which route to tackle.
Our only criteria is it must be in North America, and cannot be more difficult than 5.10 or A2/C2 on any one pitch.
Currently there are two (obvious) locations in the running. Zion and Yosemite. Of course, Billy and I each have a different preference at this point.
I think what I will do is set up a bracket system, Yosemite routes on one side, Zion on the other, plus mix in some additional routes not at either location.
Then we can do it like a tournament. Every few days Billy and I will debate the merits between two routes, and by the end one of them is eliminated and the other moves on to the next round.
It will be our own March Madness – Big Wall Style – and by the end we will have our final two contestants. Then the real debate will begin.
Thoughts, ideas or suggestions on a route? I would love to hear from you.
Now, I’ve got to go and find a saddle that can fit on a rhinoceros.