Climbing - - THE DESCENT -

Climbers love spring: The sun arches high across the sky, tem­per­a­tures warm, and the rock reap­pears from be­neath the snow and ice. But with balmier weather also comes one of my least fa­vorite things: ticks. Not “tick” as in, “I ticked my proj, bru,” or, “Why didn’t those dread­locked Euros brush their two- foot tick marks off this gi­ant jug?” Ticks as in tiny, par­a­sitic arach­nids, the kind that carry blood- borne ail­ments like Lyme dis­ease. Un­for­tu­nately for us climbers, ticks evolved to hunt mam­mals by cer­tain traits: body heat ( got your puffy on?), body odor ( no com­ment), and vi­bra­tions ( the ap­proach to the crag). Un­able to fly or jump, they chill on reeds, bushes, or blades of grass as they quest for vic­tims with out­stretched front legs. Hope­fully this sea­son, your tick check at day’s end yields more project “ticks” than eight- legged blood­suck­ers.

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