The First Climb of the New Millenium!

The date: January 14, 2001.
The place: Baltimore, Maryland, Indy & Bri's apartment
The situation: warm temperatures and lack of climbing coming together in one singular moment...

It was the beginning of the 21st century. The 20th century had ended just a couple weeks ago. However, the winter had been a standard chilly Maryland type winter: cold temps (hovering between the 30s to low-40s), little snow. Not much to go out and play in for snow stuff, but too cold to go out climbing (Indy's lower tolerant limit is 50 degrees F and sunny on south-facing rock in the winter). Now, granted, it was only mid-January, but to Indy, the winter was dragging on. And the kid who lived upstairs kept acting like it was his own personal gymnasium, much to the dismay of Indy and Bri. Indy idly flipped on the Weather Channel, not having much hope of seeing anything that looked promising for either Big Snow or Warm Temps. With so little hope that his eyes merely glazed over when the "Local On The 8s" appeared. Bri dropped down on the couch beside him to see for herself how the weather was or wasn't going to be.

And she saw what Indy's glazed eyes didn't: the high forecasted for this day was now to be 55 F and sunny!

"Indyyyyy!" she said, prodding him in the arm. "Look! Warm!" Indy merely grunted, unable to break through the glaze.

"Sveglia! Wake up! Fifty-five degreeeeees today! Climb, yes??"

"Fifty-wha-?" started Indy, and moments before the screen flashed away, he saw it, too: the high for today was indded supposed to be 55! And sunny!

"So? Do we go climb? And I mean climb, not me sit there waiting while you take notes for your guidebook. Or would you rather sit here and continue to get round in the middle?" asked Bri.

"Ahh, urr, uhhh, yeah Yeah! Climb, yes. Climb," stammered Indy as he pulled his immense bulk off the couch and onto his feet. "We go climb."

"That's more like it," said Bri as she went off to get her stuff. Indy wisely left his pen and paper behind (besides, he already had all the notes for Rocks State Park he was going to get any time soon).

The plan was to head up to Rocks State Park. Ideally the two would have liked to have set up the ultra-classic Breakaway, but when they arrived, it was far chillier than they had anticipated (well, to be fair, Rocks State Park was further north than Baltimore, and in the hillier region - and they still had snow in the woods!). So instead of tweaking their underworked tendons on a sustained 80' tall 5.9, they opted to drop a rope down Vertical, the 65' tall local classic 5.6.

Instead of doing the downclimb, they opted to rappel. As Bri went down, Indy snapped off a couple photos, then looked around. Yes, it was sunny out. But man, it was still chilly!

Once down Indy noticed two things: 1) they had gotten a rather late start, and if they had been there an hour to an hour and a half earlier it probably would have been a little warmer (the sun was heading down now, as it was 2pm), and 2) the winter sun for Rocks State Park, even at its highest point, is half hidden by the leafless trees, so the lower 1/3 to lower 1/2 of the Vertical/Breakaway Wall would stay shaded (or at best have filtered sunlight). Well, they were there, it was 2001, January - let's climb!

Vertical is a nice, easy 5.6 route. At 65', it is one of the longer climbs in Maryland. And a superb route to practice lead climbing on (as there are lots of holds and many cracks to sink gear into). Today Indy and Bri were merely top-roping - it was too cold to think about dragging out the rack! So they enjoyed the fact they were out there alone, having fun on the rock. However, it was damned chilly, especially with the growing shadows of the trees extending over the rock face, so Indy and Bri only got in two climbs up Vertical before deciding it was time to go. So with hands numb, they went back up, took down the anchors, and headed out, happy that they did get to do a little climbing, at least! The day wasn't a total waste (although Indy's waist was still pretty total; didn't diminish much from that little foray out).

On the way home they stopped at a small italian grocery shop they happened upon on Rte 165 south of Jarrettsville. They picked up some authentic italian food stuff, then headed home to fix a nice, scrumptious dinner (Bri is an awesome cook, which explains a little why Indy's waist has grown in size).

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Mk - Jan 2003