Monday, March 5, 2012

Finding a Climbing Partner

Since I started climbing a few years ago the most challenging thing about it has been trying to find partners to go with. Other outdoor activities I don't mind going alone but climbing solo isn't a very wise option.

Recently I was out climbing with someone I had recruited to the sport just for the sake of having a partner. As I impatiently watched him struggle up the first pitch of our two pitch climb I thought to myself, "I bet Rigdon can climb as well as this guy."

When you are picking a climbing partner there is one thing that is a non-negotiable, trust. You have to trust the person, as your life is going to be in their hands. I already trusted Rig as I was the one who talked Sara into giving him a chance to babysit. If I could trust him with the lives of my three little girls I could trust him with my own.

It is nice if your partner lives close. Downstairs is perfect.

It's a bonus if your partner has a similar schedule as you and since Sara does both of our schedules they usually come out pretty similar.

It is also nice if your partner has a sense of adventure along with an appropriate fear of danger to keep the team safe. Rig has always had a good sense of adventure but only recently was I convinced of his appropriate fear of danger. It was well documented at Magic Mountain. You can see for yourself below.

For Rig's B-day we took him to Magic Mountain, just Sara, Rig and I.

I can honestly say I thought I would never buy one of these pictures, let alone two in the same day, especially one where I look like a totally idiot but they were priceless.

In this one Rig is clutching for dear life. In his defense, it is a freaking scary ride.

So Rig and I went out on the climbing wall and he practiced belaying me and catching me on falls. Pretty quick I was convinced that Rig was ready. and was going to be even a better climbing partner than he was babysitter.

Rig and I started our climbing partnership with a nice easy two pitch, 200 foot, 5.5. I anchored Rig to this tree to offset the weight discrepancy and we were ready to go.

Rig cruised up the first climb with only some very mild trepidation.

Luckily he was already well practiced in clinging for dear life.

The picnic tables got pretty small when we were approaching the top.

But the view at the top was cool.

Our next climb I found another 2 pitch, 200 foot, climb. This one rated at 5.8.

I might have jumped the gun in letting Rig lead climb but we practiced it at home and I think he was pretty keen on wearing all the gear.

He clipped two bolts and then in between the 2nd and 3rd he slipped and decided he had had enough of leading for that day.

The climb was windy and cold.

We had a tangle in the rope that Rig had to deal with.

But we finally made it to the top of the climb.

No matter how much you trust your son it is a little nerve racking watching him rappel over an edge.

We set up what we thought was the last rappel, but the rope didn't reach the ground. We had already been on the rock for over 3 hours and we were cold and ready to get back to the car.

It made for an interesting problem where I had to switch places with Rig on the rappel.
We were both relieved to finally be back on the ground after a cold 4 hours.

Our most recent climb was called Hercules Finger. It is a 60 foot tower in the middle of nowhere.

This is what it looks like from the base looking up.

This picture of my shadow is the only proof that I made it to the top.

Rig made it about two thirds of the way up, ran out of holds and decided he had had enough again. I offered him an "uppy." He didn't take it and he didn't make it to the top but at least he still has his pride.

Having a climbing partner is awesome. So far I do not know which has been more liberating, Rig starting to belay or Rig starting to babysit, but they are both awesome.


Nick said...

Looks like Rig can out climb most of us who were on Rainier last year. Since Team Viagra is full, I assume he will be on your team this year?

Rachey Smart said...

Dude Rig is the man. Looks epic as always!

P.S. I was freaked out going on those 6 flags rides at age 21.

Grandma Cher said...

That Rig is awesome and knows how to scare a grandma to death. I'm pretty sure this is the story I fell to sleep to on the phone with you Rangi. No falling asleep with those pictures. You guys be CAREFUL!

Dave said...

Rig is my hero. Jessica and I went to a climbing gym tonight and she had a little bit of a hard time belaying me... I'm blown away.

Darrell said...

Rig is such a stud!