LOCALadk Magazine

LOCALadk Winter 2018

LOCALadk Magazine

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Page 28 of 71

Winter 2018 LOCALadk Magazine 29 LOCALadk I started visiting the Adirondack Park as a climber about 30 years ago, and 22 years ago I made the move to live full-time in the Lake Placid/Saranac Lake area. I've traveled all over the continental US and Alaska climbing rock and ice in some big mountain ranges; the Adirondacks have been a great proving ground. Part of the fun of climbing in the park is that there isn't really anything you can call typical Adirondack rock or ice. Unlike climbing in many areas, the rock and ice you find in the Adirondacks isn't homogenous; there is a lot of variation found in the two mediums. You can't be a one-trick pony and skate by with a single technique when climbing here, you need a wide breadth of skills and technical knowledge. Adirondack climbing runs the gamut from easy access routes right next to the road, or true wilderness 10 miles from the road, in the depths of Panther George behind Mt. Marcy, and several options in between. These beautiful mountains that we call home have taught me almost ever y- thing I've needed to sur vive in the alpine world, and provided me with a great quality of life as well. When I think of climbing, I'm reminded of a quote from al- pinist Mark Twight, "I don't actually care what I climb, only how it affects me. Which means the summit doesn't matter as much as the emotional process." Personally, I'd take that one step further and say I don't care about what I climb, only who I climb with, and how it emotionally affects myself and my partner. Most photos you see of climbers tend to show a dramat- ic solo figure far off the ground with stomach churning ex- posure in the background; the climber is seen as a solitar y warrior, dancing up the rock or ice alone. In reality climbing is a team sport; that rope you see so often in the pictures actually snakes off somewhere —to a partner. While it sounds cliché, climbing partners really do share a sacred bond through the rope. The sport we pursue is a se- rious one, where a small mistake can have life altering con- sequences. You get to share great victories, and sometimes, terrible defeat with your rope mates. Something about push- ing yourself to the physical and mental limit on the side of a mountain, while dealing with the danger inherent to the sport, produces deep and complex relationships, which are hard to understand if you haven't done those things yourself. I count the friendships I've forged while climbing as some of the strongest and longest lasting I've had in my life. When I climb with people new to the sport, I like to tell them climbing is like rowing a rowboat out to the middle of the ocean. You and your partner share the work of rowing, the supplies/resources in the boat, and the consequences of a mistake (such as dropping an oar). It's also important to remember that once you row out to the middle of the ocean, the boat must be rowed back. Just like rowing a boat on the ocean, with climbing, the summit is only the halfway point.

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