He Said, She Said

Do­mes­tic Bliss at the Cliff

Gripped - - NOTES FROM THE TOP - Story by Josh Muller and Re­gan Kennedy Josh Muller and Re­gan Kennedy are two of Canada’s strong­est climbers. This is the sec­ond of Muller’s three-part se­ries for ‘Notes from the Top.’

He said, “Take.” She said, “Gotcha.” He said, “Why did you hose me? ” She said, “I didn’t.” He said, “What­ever, take me tight.” She said, “OK.” He said, “Take me tight.” She said, “I am.” He said, “You keep drop­ping me.” She said, “I’m not heavy enough.” He said, “Sit on the rope.” She said, “I am.” He said, “Take me tight.” She said, “I am!” I dis­missed his ad­vice. He didn’t hold the rope tight enough, he didn’t give me the r ight amount of slack at the r ight time and he didn’t do or say any­thing r ight, or did he? We would have a “do­mes­tic” at the crag. Op­po­site to that, when I climbed with a fr iend, I wasn’t able to act l ike a wimpy girlfr iend and it forced a more pos­i­tive par tner­ship on the wall. Josh and I sti l l loved go­ing out to­gether, but there were many years we tr ied to par tner with oth­ers.

I wasn’t heav y enough when I be­layed. When he fel l, he would fal l too far. I also wasn’t ex­per ienced enough to of fer him ad­vice. Josh is an in­tu­itive, pow­er­ful and strong climber and gives great beta. I’m the op­po­site. I’m an­a­lyt­i­cal, slow and me­thod­i­cal. At f irst, we would re­ject each other’s beta. On my end, when any­one starts beta with the word “just,” I sim­ply can’t ac­cept it. “Just lock of f and grab it,” or “Just pul l harder with your r ight toe,” or “Just chuck to it and hold tight.” Yeah, not hap­pen­ing.

I tr y to re­mind Josh that phys­i­cal ly we are ver y dif fer­ent. For star ters my weight is car r ied around my butt and his is carr ied around his shoul­ders, so when pul ling around a bulge it’s harder for me to “Just pul l up and lock of f,” be­cause my weight is stil l un­der the bulge whereas his is a lready up by his hands. Josh is ver y strong and he is the op­po­site of un­sys­tem­atic when it comes to climb­ing. In fact, he usual ly does ever ything the V14 way, whereas I like to do ever ything the V1 way. So when he of fers beta, I im­me­di­ately dis­miss it and as­sume it’s im­pos­si­ble for me. He’s not sub­tle when it comes to move­ment and when I give beta, he looks at me, rol ls his eyes and pow­ers through.

Things have changed and now we love climb­ing to­gether. He knows bet­ter than any­one how I move and how I l ike to climb. At the crag or boul­der f ield, I al­ways want him on the end of my rope or at my back for a catch. We are there to be­lay week-long projects and to br ush routes. Some­times, we have small ar­gu­ments be­cause I stil l car r y my weight in my butt and I’ll never be heav y enough to hold him in place. Plus, over the years I think we have grown more pa­tient and let’s be hon­est, he rea lizes that I’m a lways r ight.

Left: An­other bliss­ful day at the boul­ders with Re­gan Kennedy and Josh Muller

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