He Said, She Said
Domestic Bliss at the Cliff
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