So tired, Adventures in Climbing!

***Editor’s Note: While the story is true, names and locations were changed to protect the identity of those involved.  Also, some links, content, and language may be deemed inappropriate or offensive.***


Part II…

2:10 AM: We made it to Urgent Care.

A little background on Bert and Snuffy.  These two are fantastic people.  I have known them both since they were young teens running around the climbing gym.  Both are polite, and smart, and very good climbers.  So, there was a history with Bert and Snuffy which made the time at the urgent care more enjoyable than it otherwise would have been.  The cut was relatively small, and Bert showed no signs of concussion.  Although he was shirtless and barefoot on a freezing night at 2:30 AM in an emergency room, things weren’t nearly as dire as they could have been.

2:30 AM:  I learn that some people need to get emergency services for stuffing rotisserie chicken into their butthole.  Not sure if was an entire chicken or just parts of the chicken.  In either case this night is now much more interesting than I thought or hoped it would be.  Dr. Tall Guy could not understand crate stacking in the slightest, but he was kind and seemed relieved to have three people in at 2:30 AM who weren’t inebriated.  

2:50 AM: After a vivid warning that you never want to break both hands at the same time, a few stories about the magnetizing force of the butthole, a thorough wound cleaning, and two staples in the head, we are discharged and on our way.  By the time I make it back to the gym Bert and Snuffy had collected their bloody gear and headed home for the night.  

3:30 AM: The club members still at the gym partook in a White Elephant (gift exchange), put in some work on the cookies and chili, climbed some more routes, and were getting comfy in a circle ready to play a game called Never Have I Ever… I decided to sit that one out, there are too many things I don’t want my students to know about me, and even more things I don’t want to know about them.

I decided to harness my inner High-Clip, and just push myself on the wall.  I was wide awake and had no intention of heading back to the yoga studio.  I toss on my shoes, my harness, my chalk bag, and decide I am going to climb 100 routes in a row.  The gym has 7 or 8 auto-belay stations, and so I decide to do four routes at each station over and over and over again until I reach 100.  I knew I would get tired and lose track, so doing four per station made the math easy.  At first, I was planning on taking a break after every 12 routes, but when I got to #12 I had another 4 in me, and then another 4, and another 4 after that, and so just I kept going like I was Forrest Gump running across the states.

As I’m climbing, the bulk of the club (I’d say 4-6 were just eating cookies and bouldering on the periphery) sat in a circle and began to play the game.  They each took turns with the mic giving their answers to different scenarios of things they have never done, or wish they would have never done, or want to do, or some combination of questions along those lines.  I was more focused on counting to 4 over and over while sweating profusely than I was on the game, but every-once-in-a-while, I’d overhear something that reinforced my decision not to play.

Let me add that college students can be such a mix of where people are in life.  Everyone from homeschoolers to army vets getting together to learn from each other is where the value of education cannot be disputed.

16, 24, 32.  I haven’t taken a break yet…maybe I can do 100 routes with no breaks in between.  I’m at 50, halfway there, dripping in sweat.  I am exhausted on so many levels, the adrenaline is gone, I haven’t slept in nearly 24 hours, I am physically drained, but just keep going.

Over the mic I hear conversations of cheating, flirting, showering, there was what seemed like a long discussion about feet…just keep climbing.

I’m tired, and just when I need a boost most, I get one.  Have you ever played Ivan ‘Ironman’ Stewart’s Super Off Road?  If not, don’t worry the analogy will still make sense.  It’s a racing game on a dirt track, and to get a speed boost you just hit the nitro button, the nitro bursts your truck forward a little bit moving you along at an increased speed.

Well, I didn’t have nitro, but about 7 hours earlier I did enjoy noodles from Chef Chan.  For a second, halfway up the wall, I thought I shit my pants.  The smell of festering Chinese noodles mixed with stress, cookies, lack of sleep, and ass sweat was not inviting.  It wasn’t shit, it was just a little nitro burst courtesy of Chef Chan.  I started to tired-giggle while thinking of this fart as a boost helping me up the wall, and then almost lost it when I traveled through the foul gas a second time as I was lowered through the odor on my descent.  At that moment I was happy, not only because there was no one near me who would have been forced to endure a personal shot of Ivan ‘Ironman’ Stewart’s Super Off Road Nitro, but I was happy to be climbing at time I would have otherwise never imagined, pushing myself in a way that was entirely spontaneous, tearing ass like a vet operating on an Andalusian donkey.

Nitro clouds kept forming, blasting me with a double dose, once on the way up, and once on the way down.  I was delirious mostly, but the happiness of a madman is happiness none-the-less.

A club member shows up to power through a few routes, I clench my butthole to protect this poor bastard from Chef Chan’s Vengeance. The ass clench serves as a great distraction from my sore fingers and toes.

Climbing shoes are painful on a good day, I’m at around 70 straight routes and I just want to take my shoes off.  I’m not sure if I’m bleeding through my toenails or if it’s just sweat, but in either case it feels like I may have torn off a nail or two.

Over the loud speaker I hear “Come on Carrot, you got this” a few moments later I hear a horse neigh.  I’m not totally sure if either of those things actually happened, but I’m sure I heard them.

88, 89, 90.  10 more routes to go.  I have been sticking to mostly easy routes with a few harder routes tossed in just to see if I could muster the strength.  I knock out an 5.11, then another 5.11.  8 routes to go.  I’m almost done, is the sun coming up?  I have no idea.  I save a 5.10 and a 5.7 to finish the marathon.

5:30 AM: Drenched in sweat, I’m afraid to take off my shoes, but need some relief.  Not too bad, I have blood blister under my big toenail, but it looks like the nails are fine.  The board game has ended too. Some students start to wander off to nooks and crannies of the gym for a couple hours of sleep.  Some students take the opportunity to hop back on the wall, some to visit, and some begin a pretty epic nerf gun battle.  I belayed a few climbers, stuffed my face with delicious homemade challah bread baked earlier that day by Professor Swami.

6 AM: The minutes are moving slowly, those of us dumb enough to still be awake look like zombies, a few climbers still sporadically trying routes, and I finally take a seat on the giant soft boulder mat.

There is one hour to go before we wake everyone to have them help clean up.  I have no idea how I’m going to make it one more hour.  My sweat drenched shirt turns cold on my skin and pushes me to grab my hoodie.  When I rejoin the zombies, we finish the night/bring in the morning with a fantastic conversation about Kirby.

Kirby is a Nintendo character who has unlimited powers of destruction but just likes to eat cake, sleep, and hang out with friends.  I’m not sure how or why this conversation lasted an hour, but it was perfect.

7 AM: WAKE UP CALL.  Duncan gets on the mic and people just start popping out of places in the gym I didn’t even know existed.  In almost total silence we all just start putting away gear, tossing out garbage, folding up blankets, placing chairs on top of tables.  Duncan and Peabody vacuum the spilled chalk, give the blood stains a final rinse, and clean the bathrooms, and by 7:45 AM we are done.

7:45 AM:  On one of the coldest mornings on record, we head outside for a couple group photos, and slowly begin to get in our cars and drive off.  

8 AM: I’m off.

9 AM: I’m in bed.

I was skeptical about the event, I’m so relieved and happy that Bert wasn’t seriously hurt.  I am grateful to Duncan and Peabody for the work they put in.  I got to know more about some members of this group than I ever wanted to know.  I stayed up really late, I climbed well over 100 routes.  I saw 20 people take part in a memorable night, and I feel lucky to have been a part of it.  I hope they bring in a guest speaker next semester, but if the students want another lock-in and the school allows us to have another lock-in, then I’ll make sure my gear is packed and Chef Chan’s is on the menu.


13 Replies to “So tired, Adventures in Climbing!”

  1. How fortunate your students are to have you & the gift of this memory (exception of nitro). Happy head injury was minor. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like an epic night! As for breaking both hands (or wrists), I once had a patient with two broken wrists. I asked his permission to talk with his doctor about operating on one so he could at least feed himself. He agreed. As I walked out, the new orthopedic surgeon came bustling in with a consent form, saying, “I want to surgically fix one of your wrists right away because, the way you are now, you can’t even wipe your own ass.” I knew I would like the new guy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds like the most limiting injury I could imagine…yikes. The difference between using one and no hands must be insane! I love that you and the new guy were all in on the good stuff! Seriously! Good call!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, I was laughing out loud while I read this post! So glad you survived the lock-in. Wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a great 2023!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I laughed all through this — particularly about not wanting to know all that much about your students. I remember that… Have a wonderful holiday and thanks for calling me a climber. It’s undeserved, but I’m grateful anyway. 🎄🧗🏻‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know for sure Martha, sometimes when I get to class early, I’ll get caught up in conversations similar to this, and all of the sudden class is 10-15 minutes in. I’m sure students love when that happens more than I do, but it’s fun for me too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It seems that even though a lot of exertion goes into this sport there is so much to be enjoyed among you and those who like to indulge. It is
    great to have that determination.

    I can relate to the uncontrollable “blasts”. I love to eat beans. But last week I ate a good helping of black eyed peas (which I love and had not had in a while) and I was just farting continuously until throughout the next day.

    It was getting to be a little much and I myself just felt like a stink bomb.


    1. I think they call it Community College in most places now, but I’m pretty sure it is the same idea. This is a fun group that is fun to be a part of!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s