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First Lead Climb...past 60 years old


Original Post
Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290

Not quite what most old ladies do for their 60th, but if ya get the bug when you are almost 58...

Inglorious, but here it is, as promised! Style nazis, don't care what your opinions are, I climb....to climb. Period.

I HATE Toddler!

So, not quite to the top, but it was a pretty huge try hard. I have climbed to the top of this stinky thing, but I bypassed where I get stuck to do it. Rope gun/belayer didn't deem it a safe fall from off route, so...

many, many attempts to get past the scoop then bulge. 4' 11", even getting the feet up as far as I could, still couldn't get around the damn thing. aw well.

I can report I did remember to clip the rope, did take quite a lot of falls, have skinned and bruised bits here and there, but wasn't much different head wise than my climbing otherwise. Didn't get pumped, and nothing is any more sore than it always is.

I was most pleased that, on this very first climb outside this year, I am stronger than at this time last year. I am also quite a bit better climber, and had a really good time trying every possibility I could come up with, including small stuff for hands and feet, working parts in opposition, on and on, to no avail, but still fun! I love the mental/physical puzzle!

So, parked this in the Beginner forum. Noobs, badass is not about grades or style. Embrace it, flaunt it, climb hard, smart, safe and strong. Have fun!!!

Best, Old Lady H, otherwise known as Helen
john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,640

Nice job! Your still alive and had fun,,,, works in my book.

Chris Blau · · Ellicott city, md · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 10

Nice work.Keep it up.

Hobo Greg · · My Van · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 145

Trad is rad!

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290
john strand wrote:Nice job! Your still alive and had fun,,,, works in my book.
Thanks, John! If you look closely, I'm flipping the stinkin' route off...But, hard to tell. I recently noticed my right hand no longer closes. Losing those joints too, apparently. Ah well.

Hope you are on the mend?

Best, H.
Bill Shubert · · Lexington, MA · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 55

Great stuff!

John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,053

Way to go H!!!! JB

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290
Ana Tine wrote:Congratulations Helen! Looks like you are at the top, no one would have known if you didn't say lol. Thanks for the pic. I noticed (sorry for examining your pic under a microscope yet again) you are wearing jeans. I know you said you have arthritis and cannot get your knees high, but wearing stretchy or loose pants may help: tights, joggers, sweat pants, mc hammer pants. Being short, you don't want to limit your flexibility with non-stretch denim, and also, jeans are heavy and shift. Of course, I'm just an internet beta sprayer since I have not climbed that route myself.
Uh, sure...Says the lady climbing in her wedding dress.

Beautiful pic! I just love it, and I'm guessing it says a lot about you.

Denim is stretchier than I am, and makes zero diff to climbing.

And, where I am, there is one more clip, (looks close, but the holds to clip it are about five feet over my head) then the extended anchors. We had my son hang the draws, and extend the anchors, because I can't reach the anchors for sure, and one bolt seemed iffy. Next to last bolt is what shut me down.

Anchors on this route are almost up on top, on a nice fat, flat ledge. Most people can reach them, standing below, but I can't. It is a shoulder high, belly flopping, grovelly mantel for me to get up there, and a ledge fall for me, if I missed, with the opportunity to bounce off and smack some stuff on the way back down to the clip below.

Best, H.
Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175

climbing friend,

congratulations at you on your most excellent journey!

may your forearms become refresh at crux!

wendy weiss · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 20

Way to go Helen! As one who whines about being (almost) 5'3", I admire your perseverance.

Look for a thin finger crack with an infinite number of holds. :-)

Trevor. · · Boise, ID · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 849

Nice work Helen! For what it's worth, I found that route to be awkward and trickier than expected last time I was on it. There are definitely easier routes at the cliffs...

s.price · · PS,CO · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 1,348

Very nice. Way to go Helen!
2Row says *&()^%$DESG.
She can't type worth a shit but I believe that says YOU ROCK!

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290
s.price wrote:Very nice. Way to go Helen! 2Row says *&()^%$DESG. She can't type worth a shit but I believe that says YOU ROCK!
Please inform ms. 2row that I attended a public lands rally today, about 3,000 big people, and a great many exceptional outdoor dogs who enjoy many adventures with their persons. (Photo in the sandstone thread)

It was a great pleasure to meet so many pups, and admire their pupness!

2row types better than many on here,IMO.

H.
Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290
Trevor. wrote:Nice work Helen! For what it's worth, I found that route to be awkward and trickier than expected last time I was on it. There are definitely easier routes at the cliffs...
Trevor, this is one of the kinder loads of crap I have been given! You're a sweety! Well, were you on it when you were twelve?

:-)
Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60

Awesome. Congrats. My first trad lead was at 14. I'm 53 now, and it's never gotten old.

ColinW · · San Diego, CA · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 70

Way to conquer the crux Helen! Well done! What route/area was it?

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290
Ana Tine wrote: Hahhaha touché! Thank you! I got married where I started climbing, in the Red River Gorge. I didn't climb too high since I wasn't wearing a harness, the dress + train weighted 8lbs, and I was wearing 5" platform heels. The 1.2 mile hike wearing all that completely trashed my dress and feet. You should have a "recommitment ceremony" on Toddler, lol. Your favorite route. Good call, and I completely understand. Chances are, the equipper/bolter was not 4'11". I read some of the comments on the route, and it seems like most people agree that this part of the route is very "committing". Getting into climbing at an older age and especially leading is impressive. My mom is 66 and though she has a good physique for climbing - health nut, daily yoga/ballroom dancing, in much better shape than me - she won't climb because she's afraid of heights. It's also the last thing my mother-in-law would do. She's 69, but when driving on the side of a mountain on switchbacks, she squeezes her eyes shut. There would be no way she'd be climbing anything.
Ana, this is THE beginner route at our local area. Not very committing, if you aren't shrunken.

And, oddly, I am not afraid of heights, when a rope is involved. Walking along a path that crosses a steep slope? Bugs me. Fourth class terrain? Bugs me. Throw a rope on, I'm good. I logically know climbing is inherently dangerous, and ropes aren't magical, but once my head is in that zone, and it only is there when roped up, I just don't worry. And, was that way from the start.

"Fear of heights" doesn't always keep people from climbing, because it's so different for different people and circumstances, and that dancing, yoga body would do great. Tell her an old lady thinks she'd be fabulous!

Best, Helen
Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290
ColinW wrote:Way to conquer the crux Helen! Well done! What route/area was it?
Thanks, it was Toddler, on the Black Cliffs here (Boise). Didn't "conquer the crux", but gave it a huge "try hard", which was fun. I didn't fall or come close to it, until the many, many, many falls at that spot. Sooo good to hit rock again! Last climb was November!!!

Also need to give credit to my rope gun for giving this whole trip to the one climb. It's a five minute walk up for him!

Best, H.
ErikaNW · · Golden, CO · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 145

Helen - that is awesome!!!! Congratulations on your first lead - and especially trying hard and taking some falls! You definitely have my admiration. Keep the momentum going - and keep us posted on your progress!

Erika

anotherclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 70

Congratulations Helen! Some of the most bad ass women climbers I've seen are the short ones that have to dyno for everything that most taller people can reach. I encourage you to get back on it and keep working this route until you figure out what works for you to finish it clean. :)

Chris Fedorczak · · Portland, OR · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

So badass! Nice job!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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