Biding My Time

Today will make my fourth day off in a row. After a trip with so much climbing packed into such short periods, this lengthy forced-rest period is wearing me down, slowly chipping away at my psych level as it drags on. And yet I know looking at the forecast for the next three days that the wise, patient decision is to rest today and climb tomorrow and the next, to maximize my chances at sending and minimize my chances of numbing out.

If I climb today, I’ll be throwing away my freshest, most revitalized state of being that I’m likely to have on this entire trip on a day when I know for a fact that I can’t and won’t be able to keep my hands warm. And no, hand warmers do not work; it’s the hand-to-cold-rock contact that makes it impossible for me to keep feeling in my digits, so intermittently and briefly touching a hand warmer in my chalk bag doesn’t do anything to stop the numbness. Even with a sit-down rest en route, I’m pretty certain that I’d numb out by the top of the climb today; it’s that cold. Throw in wind and not much sunshine, and I’m pretty certain that I’d regret my decision if I did choose to climb.

Of course, if tomorrow and the next day looked terrible, I’d climb today – or if I’d sent Madness already, I’d climb today, too (dang it, I wish I hadn’t fallen up there last time!). But the fact of the matter is that tomorrow and Saturday are both forecast as utterly gorgeous sunny, warmer days, crisp and low humidity, with a light breeze and few to no clouds. Seriously, the best conditions I could imagine. I just can’t see the logic in struggling through today, only to feel achy and tired tomorrow when the conditions are better, and then to feel thoroughly exhausted on Saturday – since my last third-day on was an exercise in total exhaustion, I have no reason to think that I wouldn’t have the same experience again.

Plus, it looks like after tomorrow and Saturday that we’re in for a week of total b.s. weather here. I’ll climb through it, sure – but the National Weather Service says today, “Another prolonged period of decent rain chances is expected starting Sunday and continuing through Tuesday.” And the 10-day forecast looks like the last sunny, crisp, warm days I can expect here are tomorrow and Saturday – from there on out it’s all rain, clouds and high humidity for the foreseeable future. I’ll stick it out, because the alternative of heading back to snowy, frigid Wyoming isn’t really too appealing…I’d rather climb here in the rain for a couple weeks than be stuck in the snow with my outdoor climbing season at an abrupt end.

So…another rest day; I feel antsy. Guess I’ll be walking Jedi and stretching, trying to stay active so I don’t lose my forward momentum. I know that four days off in the big picture isn’t a big deal, and I know that my body can probably use a longer rest period like this, but it’s still quite hard to take it. This happened all the time last winter season at home; and every time, I felt really good when the resting period was up, but it was always so painstaking to be smart and patient and wait three or four days off for the good conditions. It calls for mental and physical discipline both – the physical discipline to not rob my body of its recovered state of being before the good weather arrives, and the mental discipline to hang onto my feelings of excitement about whatever route I’m trying and to not let the dullness of four days of not climbing bring me down or put me into a negative state of being.

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