I place a sling around a chicken head and clip a draw to it. By the time it’s attached to my rope, it’s below my feet. The fear cools, and I laugh to myself. Absurd. Just get to the first ring. It’s some fifteen meters above me still, and below, my belayer patiently stands on a small ledge.
A women’s climbing workshop in the Elbe River Valley. We exist in a world full of doors; some are open, some closed, and some locked. Anyone can peer through an open door, gather up the strength, and step through. A Titana unlocks doors, opens them, and strides through. The aim of this workshop is not to open doors, but to practice lock picking together.
I left my draws on Le Poinçonneur des Lilas and have a dual project. I want to be able to both climb the route and pronounce its name. Laying in my tent this morning I went through the moves in my head, I haven’t tried that hard on anything since February… or maybe April. I have until 1pm to work, then I’ll head back to my tent to eat some lunch and prepare some snacks to bring up the hill. My hands are tingling with excitement.
Onsighting has brought me such joy and fun, but it has been a journey that’s taken some intentional work. In this article on the Climb Cleveland Blog, I want to share my experience with you in the hope you can glean some useful information and have fun onsighting the next time you go outside.
I did not create any one of these experiences on my own. My peers and mentors, the acquaintances I’ve observed, my loved ones and family, have all helped create the opportunity for me to be where I am today. The community is the hero of every climbing story.
Somehow, I’ve been privy to numerous conversations ragging on these wild wiggly bridge walkers. Here, I break down the criticisms of highlining into two broad categories: it is not complex enough to have merit and the people are just too much. So here’s my response, a windstorm of thoughts in defense of the highliner from my perspective as a climber.
I distinctly remember, in April 2002, standing on top of the rim facing Picnic Lunch Wall. My dad and I drove past Smith when I was 11 and watched spring snowfall in light flurries on the gorge. I don’t even think I climbed that trip, but I know I learned the names of a few routes… 5 Easy Pieces, Darkness at Noon, and I know I dreamt quiet little dreams of someday being a speck on that sheer wall.
“Tell me honestly, what grade do you feel very confident onsighting?”