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Dashed hopes and shameless commercialism: bad weather and New England Glider, Metolius Porta-Cord, and Evolv Hera

Sara Lingafelter
Sara Lingafelter
4 min read

This is yet another weekend of dashed hopes and pity party… the weather sucks. It has been … no kidding … snowing the last few days. I live in Western Washington. Snow! Nothing sticking around, just slush coming down, but it’s enough to thwart yet another weekend’s climbing plans. I was hoping to get out to Exit 32 (unlikely, I know)… with Vantage as a backup. Oh well. We did have a great day in the gym today, so there was some consolation. I decided on today to take practice lead falls, and emerged unscathed and thankful for climbing partners willing to risk bruises for my mental climbing training. The falls were funny… one and two weren’t that bad, although I do make quite a squeal on the way down. Three was by far the worst… I didn’t think I’d be able to let go. Four was fine, but even after four, I was still squealing on the way down. Chris’s comment was that at least he knows he’ll hear me if I’m falling.

In other news, the Central Kitsap Reporter covered the climbing gym asset sale in today’s paper. Most of the article was really good, although I take issue with the catchy lead:

Katie Perrone and her family began climbing at Vertical World six years ago.

Come the end of April, the Bremerton family will either have to give up rock climbing or find another indoor climbing gym.

If you make it past the first two sentences, you learn that come the end of April, the Bremerton family may have to find another climbing gym. There is a lot of room for optimism here… I’ve had a number of folks get in touch with me in the last two weeks about the potential for this gym. So, this particular piece of news doesn’t fall into the dashed hopes category.

In other news, everybody we know is off for spring break and outside somewhere. I guess there’s consolation in knowing that we’ll get to see pictures of other peoples’ trips after the fact. How sad. The upside is that I still have my fingers crossed for an outing next weekend, and then the following we’re headed to Smith for Girlcation 2008 (plus Chris). After that is, hopefully, Leavenworth. So, if the weather gods cooperate, I’ll get a chance to get caught up on outside in the next few weeks.

Revisiting the topic of REI Dividend season, we followed up today’s climbing day by a trip to the Mothership. After much debate and research, I picked the New England/Maxim Glider 10.2 Bi-Pattern dry rope as our second rope. I fell in love with the Sterling line during our last few trips with friends, but REI for some reason doesn’t carry Sterling. After researching all the options and deciding I didn’t want to mail order a rope sight-unseen, the New England looked like the best compromise. It’s a bit lighter than other 10.2s, and it has a nice feel/hand (at least, right out of the bag — haven’t yet climbed on it). It seems much thinner than our other 10.2, possibly due to New England’s “TPT Sheath design.” I don’t know yet how that will affect joining the rope with our old rope for two-rope rappels, but perhaps reading up on joining ropes will be my next little Mountaineering Bible reading project at bedtime.

Chris also made a good find… the Metolius Porta-Cord rope bag. After a few seasons of occasional climbs with a one-shoulder-strap rope bag as a summit pack, this will be a big treat. It’s basically a combo top-load duffel and rope bag, with a tarp attached, external pockets, and … two straps!

Since I’m apparently on the topic of gear, I may as well post my initial thoughts on the Evolv Hera climbing shoes that I recently received (thanks, UC). I was a bit nervous about them out of the box… they’re a size 8 womens, which is my typical shoe size; according to Evolv’s size chart they’re the right size; but they are quite a bit larger than my stand-by climbing shoes (Mad Rock Frenzy EZs mens size 5.5, Five Ten Anisazi womens size 8). I wasn’t sure they were going to work, because they are roomy compared to my usual snug-but-not-tight shoes. After three days in the gym in them, I have to say… I’m really impressed. They edge fantastically, they’re effective with toe-ins and heel hooks, and I don’t have to pry them off after every climb. I really haven’t thought about my feet or shoes while climbing in them, which is a good thing and is high praise. Yes, I climbed today with all the grace of a drunken clydesdale (thanks, Mr. Campbell, for my new climbing mantra) but that’s not the shoes’ fault. I’m going to keep putting them through their paces while my Frenzy Velcros are out for resoling and will post again with broken-in thoughts, but I’m actually glad to have these in my arsenal for the gym and for day three of a trip when my feet are swollen and I can’t stand the thought of smooshing them into my smaller shoes.

Enough about gear. Cheers to our friends headed to Denver and Indian Creek this week; cheers to our friends who are probably enjoying a chilly evening at Smith Rock as I type this right now; and cheers to the rest of you lucky enough to have a spring break to enjoy while the rest of us slave away at our day jobs so that we can hopefully make our quarterly tax payments on the 15th of April. See you out there once my bills are paid.

Gear

Sara Lingafelter

Sara (Grace) Lingafelter takes steps forward and backward toward a right-sized life on a daily basis.