Sarah setting up a route by lead climbing. Kate Bonnett belaying.

Sarah setting up a route by lead climbing. Kate Bonnett belaying.


Climbing and Brownies
by Sarah Shaffer

It has been a solid year since I last went rock climbing. A part of me wonders, if I haven’t gone for a year maybe I don’t enjoy it as much as I thought I did? Surely I would have made more of an effort to climb if I liked it a ton.

Another question runs through my mind, oh crap, am I going to fit into my harness and my climbing shoes? Damn all of you yummy sweet goods enticing me whenever I felt like a delicious snack!Maybe I should just decide now that my butt is too big for my harness and my thighs are not going to fit into the leg loops and call it quits. But, instead, I ask some of my closest  girl friends to join me for a few hour session of rock climbing out at Vantage for my birthday.

Kate Bonnett on the left and Molly Steere on the right.

Kate Bonnett on the left and Molly Steere on the right.

Days with young kids always makes trip planning with friends who are moms not a for sure until every female is in the car, and their kid is taken care of by someone else who can keep them alive for the next 5 hours. Fortunately for me, the stars aligned on my actual birthday and both mommas (Molly Steere and Kate Bonnett) were able to join me for this epic event.

Molly had made delicious chewy brownies* for this birthday adventure, while I had brewed green tea lattes before our drive. We all were elated to get outdoors, to cuss like sailors since our kids were not with us, and to enjoy not being interrupted while we caught each other up on our lives.

Once to the rocks, we chose the “Feathers.” Reason 1. We needed a very quick approach to the rock (meaning little to no hike to get to it) since we were very short on time. 2. We wanted close proximity to brownies. 3. It was likely to rain that day and if we were near the car while climbing we could retreat in a downpour to a warm and dry location.

Next came the actual climbing. I decided from the get go that I could be the “lead” climber on this adventure, since each momma had their own reasons that they didn’t want to be the one to take a whipper fall or put themselves on a route that was harder than they had bargained for (see picture at left below, Sarah Shaffer lead climbing with Kate Bonnett belaying). We chose easy climbs, and I lead 3 of these climbs without any falls and little to no great concern for what I had gotten myself into. For those who wanted a bit more exercise, we took laps on climbs that we already had the top rope set up on.

Molly getting her climbing on.

Molly getting her climbing on.

Each momma was able to successfully climb to the top of the routes. We each had enthusiasm and the sheer joy that was oozing from our personas that day was memorable. Cheering each other on, we had no expectation of one another, no big drive for competitive accomplishments and honeslty were just happy to be outside in the peace and quiet. Maybe it is because I am a mom now, but many hours of my day are not about “me” it was great to finally have some “me” time.

We ended up bailing a bit early due to the rain that was coming down while leading my last pitch that morning. Brownies were eaten for the car ride home and more friendly chatter continued. All of us seemed happy to feel for a small length of time like we were bad ass mommas and that we were adventuring together again. We said our good byes and all promised to climb the rocks together sometime soon. It was a birthday gift for the memory book, a girl extravaganza!

Kate topping out on a climb.

Kate topping out on a climb.

*In case you were wondering, the brownies noted in this article were NOT pot brownies. Just plain simple, yummy goodness with no added excitement.

This post was originally published in 2018.

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