Rock Climbing Pennsylvania: Sandstone Boulders at Hunter Rocks and Training for Mount Rainier
|Brandon and Dan getting warmed up.|
Three of us drove out Friday night, arriving at the state forest campsite after 11pm. Dan and I had been in a bit of a rush packing, and I was convinced we'd forget something important. Turns out we'd forgotten the fuel bottle to my MSR stove, and Brandon generously let us use his for the weekend. If he hadn't, we'd have spent the weekend staring longingly at all we brought that needed to be cooked. While we set up camp, I understood why Brandon was so excited to get there. The absolute remoteness of the place was incredible, and beautiful.
|These rocks will rip up your hands, no doubt, but you'll definitely have a good time!|
All in all, it was an amazing day. I topped out on some easy, but incredibly high problems that resulted in my experiencing the same scared-to-death feeling I get while leading, which made me feel great, and spent time with some great other climber folk from the gym.
I woke up Sunday morning with the nagging feeling that despite how great the rock climbing had been, I needed to start buckling down and training for mountain climbing. With four months left until the Rainier Summit for Someone climb, I primarily have two fears. (1) I won't be in good enough shape, and (2) that I'll have trouble with altitude.
Only one of those things is completely in my control, and I've got to make sure I'm in the best shape I can be. I have a training plan and the resources to act on it, I just have to...act on it! So instead of strapping the crash pad to my back and heading to Power Cut with Brandon and Dan, I loaded up my pack, grabbed Dan's Garmin, and set out on a 5.3 mile 2 hour "hike."
One of my favorite things about being outside in a place like the Rothrock State Forest is the solitude. Granted, we ran into people all weekend, but I still really enjoy feeling as though I'm completely by myself once in a while. The approach to Power Cut turned out to be perfect for solitude, and for Rainier training. I lost track of how many times I did the approach, but reached my requisite 1400' of elevation gain for the weekend.* In the process, I tried to be as mindful and self-aware as possible, recognizing where my mind wandered and keeping negative thoughts in check. I firmly believe anything that tests my mental reserves, including climbing, will help prepare me for Rainier.
|Aaand we're spent! (D. Herscovitch)|
Sunday, just like Saturday, was exactly what I needed. I knew I'd have felt guilty all day if I'd skipped my hike and bouldered instead, feeling as though Saturday's climbing was successful. Staying in balance, and listening to what my body's telling me I need to focus more time on is critical.
I recognize that Rainier's going to be incredibly difficult, and that I need to shift my focus to doing everything I can to prepare. I was absolutely exhausted by the end of the hike, and walked up to find Brandon and Dan exhausted from a second day of bouldering. We left with cuts, scrapes, red fingertips, and smiles. I can't wait to go back!