Sunday, May 22, 2016

When the Early Morning Alarm Rings

In the interest of shutting down my website,, I'm in the process of transferring each of my blog posts to the Blogger platform. From time-to-time (and in no particular order) I'll be posting each of them on The Signs are Everywhere.


I climb rocks. I don't claim to be a daredevil, an adrenaline junky, or anything close. I'm no Lynn Hill, legendary climber of Stonemaster fame. Not Steph Davis, or anything in between.

I'm an ordinary person who knows the clock is ticking. Better get out there and do it while I still can. At 55 years old, I think I do a pretty good job. Not bad for an old gal who, 34 years ago, dabbled in climbing and then took a decades-long sabbatical from the rock. Working out at the rock gym re-honed my skills and enticed me, enticed Tom and Marcus, too.

(There's routes out there with your name on them! What are you waiting for?)

From the moment I toe-up on the first knobby protrusion and rest my chalked fingers upon the faintest edge, it's just me and the rock . . . nothing more. I trust that the rope will hold me. I trust that the rubber soles of my climbing shoes will stick to the rock. Best of all, I trust the integrity of my climbing mentors, who are uber-cautious when it comes to the placement of protection (equipment), and near-experts at rope management, too.

Those two guys . . . they're nobody's fool.

Tom & Marcus at the base of The Wong Climb (5.8 crack)

Generally, a soundtrack runs through my head, propelling me up the rock. It can be meditative, like a Sanskrit chant; soulful like Led Zepplin: "Goin' to California with an achin' in my heaaaaart"; or my favorite indie band, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers: "Oh what a sin looks like I slept in and I'm gonna be a little bit late . . ."

Last week, when we climbed at Tahquitz Peak in Idyllwild, a cheery Jason Mraz set the tone: "I know, I know . . . it's gonna be a good day!"

And a good day it was!

             "The Wong Climb" at Tahquitz Peak; September, 2014

So on any given weekend when my early morning alarm bell sounds, instead of burying my head in my pillow, I rise. It may seem more appealing to stay home on a Saturday . . . you know, maybe I'll get some stuff done. PSHAW! A 1,000 foot grunt to the base of the climb awaits me. And if that's not enough, I'll be treated to an obstacle course of tumbledown boulders until arriving at the belay station, where after a long and protracted wait for my turn, I'll be able to tie in and go.

"Get your BUTT UP and get OUT THERE on that ROCK!" I remind myself as I reach for the clock.

"Why?" I muse sleepily and yawn.

"Because you can!"

It's as simple as that. Because I can.

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