The weather was May Gray, the air chilly and moist with sea spray. We arrived early to get our anchor set up before the rush. We’ve never climbed Point Dume on a Saturday, when it’s supposed to be super crowded. We were running 15 min late and found that parking was $12.50, not the $8 we were expecting.
H hiked to the top of the point and started setting the anchor. I waited for G&T, who were also running late. It’s hard to get out of bed early on a Saturday, drive cross town, find parking, but once you’re there, once your fingers touch the rock, it’s so worth it.
As we set up, a man dragged a pop-up onto the sand right near us. The whole beach was open, so this was odd. I asked him what he was doing. “There’s going to be a wedding here in an hour,” he said.
We decided to climb anyways. Even if we each could get one route in, we’d be good. We started on the Aret (5.6) route, which is hard for me. The holds and view are both magnificent, but the exposure messes with my head. Being able to see out across the ocean and down 40+ feet, waves crashing beneath, it’s a bit much.
But I’ve been practicing acclimating to heights, looking down while climbing, trying aret and exposed routes. Not a ton, but back during Thanksgiving’s Joshua Tree climbing, I realized this is an issue for me. I like climbing when I don’t see anything but the wall in front of me. It’s a serious detriment though if I need to go up and over, or if I’m working a new route. Practice, practice, practice.
So I climb and I do better than the last time I was there. T climbs (her second time outside, she’s a champ) and H climbs. G stays safely on the ground as his vertigo makes it difficult for him to even watch us. We decide to try the 5.7+ route next. More people arrive. A group is set up on the farthest route to the left, then another duo is trying to sport climb a middle route, but finds a guy at the top setting an anchor and dropping his rope down. The wedding vendors continue setting up – the photographer arrives and makes comments about how crazy we are. The first guy with the pop-up is actually a cello player – he’s tuning and running through “Here Comes The Bride” with random missed notes. There is a drone that comes down from the point and hovers near me while I’m on the wall, the buzzing a total distraction. The lifeguard comes over and waves it away, threatening to hand out citations.
Jokingly, I tell H it would be awesome to climb to the Game of Thrones cello line. Somewhere up the second route, I can hear the notes trickling in. It’s funny and motivating. The wedding party sets up chairs and H and I agree on hand signals to get me down so we don’t interrupt the ceremony. There is a ton of commotion all around (top left photo is us climbing behind the wedding scene).
Such a weird morning.
Despite all of that, my second climb feels flawless. My body is in line with my head, the holds appear, and my feet catch. I am in the zone, cello music and all. It’s one of the best outdoor climbs I’ve had since I started.
After a bit, with everything going on, we decide to pack it in and grab lunch. It’s not the most productive day of climbing, but I’m proud my skills are increasing, and that I’m not as out of shape as I felt months ago. I’m proud of H for coaching our friends, proud of T for being brave and trying something new, proud of G for hanging with us even though it’s nerve-wracking.
It was a good little double-date for a us, a great way to spend the Saturday, and making me excited for more adventures this summer. Definitely living the good life.
*An extra thank you to G&T for snapping photos of me, since I’m usually the one behind the camera. And that photo of H and I is just ::heart eye emoji::