Thursday, November 8, 2012

Notes From The Choss Pile

To Be The First

It seems to me, that a time comes for every climber to want to leave their mark - a sort of legacy, it's human nature.  This can manifest in a variety of forms - authoring a guidebook, winning competitions, writing a blog, etc.  No matter how significant or menial that contribution may be, it is one more tick mark in the grand scheme of things.

As for me, like many others, I have been drawn to first ascents.  The first ascentionist is propelled by a plethora of motivations.  Sometimes it's a lack of climbs in an area, sometimes the desire for adventure and exploration.  And sometimes, we just want to be the first person up a piece of rock and name it whatever the fuck we want..our mark.  For most, I think, its a combination.

The spirit of adventure runs high in places where you would least expect it.  New England has had a rich history of climbing reaching back for nearly a century.  But even here, with a little perseverance, one can feel like they're breaking through new territory.  Sometimes this feeling is legitimate, no one has ever touched that rock.  And other times you're just scraping off the moss from a decades old choss pile (or forgotten gem) that some local hardman (or nomadic passerby) has sent before you were even born.  But what's the difference?

Mere Child's Play V3
If you have went through the process - scoured the land, scrubbed the moss and dirt, added the chalk, broke off decaying holds - and finally scurried up your new found prize..what matters if you were first?  You had that adventure of finding the line.  You put in the time.  You made it to the top.  First ascent or long-time-coming repeat.  What's the difference?

When it all boils down, you might have been the first, or you may have just revived a long lost climb.  Either way you're doing the climbing community a favor, and that matters.  One more piece of rock for us to play on.  In a place like New England you may never know if you were the first - People have been scouring the hills forever and forgetting about what's been done, especially in the nether regions we sometimes play.  Chalk washes off, even in the most unlikely places.  Moss regrows.  And with the freeze/thaw cycles of our northerly climate, holds break off.  It's OK to want and to try to figure out the history of a climb.  But it's not the most important part.

But seriously..Does anyone know if this crack has been sent before?  Or did I get the FA?


1 comment:

  1. It seems like I always get injured while plagued by First Ascent Fever. FAF is common amongst climbers, luckily it is treatable (beer). Anyway, I have now tweaked my finger twice while going for an FA. The anxiety of nabbing a line has gotten the better of me and kept me from listening to my body. Silly.


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