Greg Burns - Reader Blog 8

Poke-O-Moonshine. Photo by Greg Burns

Poke-O-Moonshine. Photo by Greg Burns

Upon the passing of Hurricane Earl; he flew in just before we drove up to Acadia, to climb the pink granite.

Recollections of Pacifica was a crack with memories of a romance that never came to be. I scaled it anyway, to wash away the tears and gaze upon the Atlantic.

We whet our souls out on the point, the promontory of Great Head. And then we tried Connecticut Cracks before we said good-bye.

Our drive went up, north of Conway to Cathedral and Whitehorse. Day three was hard and four was harder, but five was climbed with force.

Recompense and Book of Solemnitymade our plight complete; from fighting wear and tear, it was cheer that pulled us through. But even still, in the dark night my bones and muscles ached. Twas six straight days at Rumney, and that was supposed to be a rest day.

Corsair (5.11a) in Acadia National Park. Photo by Greg Burns

Corsair (5.11a) in Acadia National Park. Photo by Greg Burns

Day seven we earned a shower, the first time in a week. Then we hit Poke-O-Moonshine to knock off two classic beasts. Bloody Mary went down easily, and so did Fastest Gun, until I hit the last pitch which I cursed with great desire. I couldn’t pull the hard moves - I fell and fell and fell. Finally, I aided up, and was less satisfied than content. “It felt harder than that,” I said with complete disgust. “You just couldn’t suck it up,” and we rapped off late at dusk.

Free spaghetti in Queensbury fed us late at night. Good people, good beer, we were tired alright. But Stewart’s Ledge was going to be the eighth day in a row. I took it easy, climbed only once, before the rains washed us out. He cruised it all, pitch by pitch, until he, too, was all worn out.

I was so excited to finally pitch at Slime, that campers campground across the bridge from all my favorite climbs. The Maria Wall is where we started climbing only three-star greats. We met the Son of Easy Overhang, next to City of Lights, and Maria, of course, was a required delight. I cruised up the first pitch of another kind; the Drunkard’s climb that felt so good that nothing could go wrong.Then the hail started when I sat below the start of pitch two.He was below the roof, above me at pitch three. Puddles greeted us on the ground, along with snow and green debris. The paths were a mess. I’d say we were lucky.

Day ten was a bust, our arms and legs too weak. I struggled on Something Interesting while he “Dangled” in mid-air. Ants Line went well, and so did Bonnie’s Roof, but we knew we had been had, the fatigue could get no worse. We ate in silence, rice and chicken from a can. At least the spices made things seem considerably less bland.

CCK (5.7+) in the Gunks. Photo by Greg Burns

CCK (5.7+) in the Gunks. Photo by Greg Burns

Finally we got our fourth wind back; Day eleven would be grand. I flew up Grand Central, a route that had me scared before. We also cruised Birdland - the hard way - before struggling on tens. The Trapps were empty all that week; we were just glad to have been there.

One final day, back at Rumney, we thrashed way up the hill. A couple of routes at Starship Enterprise led us upward to The Man with Heucos in his Pants. I tried and tried and tried, I think I’ll get it next time. The same goes for Waimea, if I can sustain the pump. I was tired, too, and had to take a dump.

Then the rain came again, and sent us packing back to the campsite.

An early morning flight meant our days were numbered. I was sick before this trip and tired throughout. But my arms and legs and body got stronger, such that I may have figured things out.

Twelve straight days was hard on us, but we progressed as we went along. I’d do another twelve straight days, so long as I could add a few more on to the end of that and make it twenty-one. And if twenty-one then why not sixty-three? Or every day, for that matter, as one can’t disagree, that climbing with good friends will always make us free.

We parted until next time, he on a plane and me in the car. Climbing is such a patchwork of the here and now. We know that goals are so far away and yet never that quite far. Until next time, we’ll make it sixty-three, and we’ll conquer all those routes that today weren’t meant to be.