Hangboards, Climbing Indoors, and Books (Lots of Books)

For this summer I promised Natalie that I would not complain so much about the typically miserable Mid-Atlantic heat and humidity. I was doing well until the other day thanks largely to the milder summer temperatures and the above-average rainfall. But this week I am back to swimming during my commute in the warm, muggy air.

So it’s time to go back indoors on the weekends rather than play outside with the kids, and time for me to focus on some indoor projects rather than take a long walk by the river. Thanks to these projects, when I’m focused on them, I don’t have to complain:

Training Board
I’m finally putting my oversized paperweight on the wall. Ahem, that is to say my Metolius hangboard is finally going to get some use. It took a while to have it mounted. Here is the length of my procrastination:

  • December 2007 — Received as a Christmas Present. So excited (Natalie is my witness), I uncharacteristically did nothing (which is genuinely kind of weird for me).
  • June 2008 — Started to put it up, but bigger emergency home repair and remodeling project got in the way. Bigger fish to fry.
  • March 2013 — Moved to new townhome with some easy-access exposed beams and studs. Low hanging fruit? Nope; did zilch.
  • June 2013 — In a burst of enthusiasm, bought new mounting board. (The old one got cut up for other projects.) But when do use the circular saw with a toddler and newborn always nearby?
  • July 2013 — Slowing installing (using the drill when the kids aren’t sleeping and I have a free moment — tricky) and hope to put the hangboard up for use any day now. No, really.

Climbing Library
I’ve been adopting a less is more mantra about everything, particularly about what I pack for trips and my possessions at home. The one significant exception has been my library. I sold a huge portion of it (mostly texts on American history and world events), but none of the climbing-related books. Building a solid climbing library that suits my interests and existing expertise is a major mission for me.

For now, the collection that I have is a hodge-podge of topics from the Adirondacks to the Karakorum. I’d like it to be comprehensive in the areas that interest me most. While Alaska and Patagonia are two places that grip my imagination, occasionally so do other places, like Baffin Island and the Garhwal Himalaya, or whatever interests me from time to time. This means before I can start organizing my collection and acquiring new volumes I have to make some tough decisions about where do I focus my interests. Alaska, certainly, but what’s Tier II and what do I dismiss and set-aside? I’m not rushing to make these choices.

What this is really about is a commitment to a certain topic or set of topics. It will also have a direct bearing on where TSM heads in the coming years.

Interestingly, my committment to my library is solidifying concurrently with a new development, and it might have an effect on some of those choices about Tier II topics…

Indoor Rock
So here in hot, humid, Peaklessburg, where the best outdoor rock climbing is top roping and the highest point is only several-hundred feet above sea level, I’ve been slowly embracing the pleasure of pulling plastic. It’s not just training any more.

Although I look forward to climbing outdoors much more, heading to my local indoor crag is now providing a new perspective on this time in my life. Above all, it’s my favorite way to step away from work and family to regroup and go back to my duties with greater enthusiasm.

It is possible that this new enjoyment may bring some new topics here in the coming months. Ninety percent of TSM will still be about mountaineering and the wilderness experience, but I may inject a new facet about rock and plastic climbing now and then.

Besides, climbing in Peaklessburg is all about climbing what you can. It’s better than not climbing at all.

I appreciate you stopping by for a read once again. If you enjoyed this post, please consider following The Suburban Mountaineer on Facebook and Twitter.

Climbing matters, even though we work nine to five.


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