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Monday, April 23, 2012

The worst case of the best time.

 Texas limestone rock climbing and rappelling training weekend two at Lake Bridgeport.  This was a best case scenario for the weather.  It cooled off on us Friday night when we arrived and  stayed pretty mild during the day on Saturday.  Probably the most awesome thing about this weekend was getting to set up the gear as a bottom belay climb and having to rappel down it.  The fun part about this is your rope has to run through a carabiner so as a person climbs up the wall, the bottom belay person tightens the line so when the climber falls they only go a few inches.  The rappelling challenge is that this carabiner has to be over the edge of the cliff and to start your rappel the "OMG" factor is real high because you have to dangle yourself down to where your rope gets tension below the carabiner over the side of the cliff.  You can see my son in these pictures using the rope to walk down to where the carabiner is and the below picture is of where he gets to rappel.
 The photo above was one of those rare chances you come across where I was on one cliff and my son was on another starting his rappel and the angle was right to where I could get pictures of him going down.  When I was younger my friend Will and I would go and do some boulder hopping  and take pictures of us out on the rock.  The only thing is that you don't realize how you need to take a photo when climbing and we took the shots from the bottom of the cliff looking up at each others butts.  After our first time of a whole roll of butt shots we learned to set up shots with one person either at an angle or looking down so that you get a head and the rock in the photo not some sweaty butt going up.
 So how was this the worst possible case of the best time?  To start my day we were loading up and I looked at my safety glasses in my truck and asked anyone else if they were bringing any.  They all said no and only two other people brought sun glasses, so I made the not so wise decision to leave them in the truck.  The moment we get to our site to set the anchors we needed to run some chord out and verify we had enough length.  I was the individual to run it through the brush and happened to get a stick in my eye.  In the photo above you can see how my eye is already starting to swell.  Lucky for me It scratched my eye behind my eyelids so that the sun only felt like Satan was poking it with a trident for a little while not all the time.  Once we had our anchors and rope set we went around and inspected the other groups ropes and anchors.  I waled down a trail and see three boys sitting on a rock looking at me.  As I walk up my foot gets stuck and so I think it is a vine of some sort and tug real hard getting my other foot stuck in it as well.  Not one to give up I try real hard to get both feet out and at that time I fall like a statue and both knees take all the force of the fall.  Then I stand up and the three boys ask if I am OK and after a short evaluation realizing it was only my knees hit I feel OK.  When I look back to see what I tripped over it turns out to be a barb wire fence that had fallen and the three boys let me know that I was the fourth person to trip on it but mine was of course the best fall of them all.  How nice of them to not mark the downed fence and to just sit and watch everyone come by and fall.
 The day continued and I rappelled down and we did a bunch of climbing the walls of this cliff.  Now of course who looked like the worst climber of the entire group?  Yes, that would be me with my two busted knees and eye that has Satan's trident poking me in it.  To top everything off I ran out of my blood  pressure meds and the pharmacy could not fill them till I got back from the trip.  So as I pushed hard up the wall my heart would pound and my rate would increase to a solid 180 and make me have to give up the climb and rest.
In the end it was a great time and we all made it OK with only the usual minor bumps and scrapes from trying to wedge your body into small places and one boy found all the cactus in the climbing holes.  Now, I am not complaining about my misfortunes or my incompetence's to get meds filled on time.  I just learned alot of good lessons for next weekends climb.  What this does for me is now I know what I can do (with one eye and two busted knees) and can work on areas to improve upon.  This works with diabetes as well how we hate to hear our A1C numbers if we have been slacking on our diets but once we know that number we can work on improving it.  One gentleman told me to train my fingers by lying on the floor and trying to pull myself across the room with only my fingers.  I tried it out this morning and let me tell you my fingers need alot more work.

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