By Dylan Maney

Despite being the second week of class, I am somehow already behind. It has been raining for two days, and I’ve been trying to get organized.

A week ago, my friend Sam asked me if I wanted to go out climbing soon and reluctantly I said yes. We made a plan and shook on it. After all the rain though, I figured our plans of getting out on a climb were dwindling. I had mostly brushed it out of mind.

Thursday morning, I woke up to sun and no clouds. Thinking that all of the rock faces were still wet, I sat in my noon environmental education class drinking a fruit smoothie.

My phone began vibrating in my pocket. Message after message from Sam saying, “Dude we are climbing right? I’ll pick you up when you’re out of class.” Feeling lazy, I suggested that the rock would still be wet and it may not be worth going— of course, it was worth going.

Sam convinced me to get my lazy ass up and to get in the car. With disorganized climbing gear and an empty stomach I hopped in and proceeded to eat a bag of almonds I found on the floor of the backseat. We drove toward Keene Valley with the music loud and the windows down. It was already 3:30 pm and we pretty much knew that we would be descending in the dark, but we still went for it.

Pulling up to the Giant Ridge trail lot, we ask ourselves, Do we have everything?

Rope?… Check.
Harness?… Check.
Rack?… Check.
Headlamps?… Check.

Looking up at the start of the climb we were eager to get up above the treeline. Once we got up the first pitch and got to see the beginnings of fall in the valley I was already happy I got out to climb. A few more pitches up and we came upon an unexpected problem.

We had passed the usual finishing pitch, that is Bob’s knob, and continued up a tight crack squeeze and into a small cave. Which then led to a difficult overhang. This was not the normal route up the climb and we struggled to climb it, but with a little bit of blood and muscle, we overcame it.

Finishing the climb, right as the sun was setting at the edge of the valley, we laughed and enjoyed the golden hour and the rising moon behind Giant that followed. We pulled our headlamps out and began cleaning our anchor and coiling ropes for our descent back to the car.

The day was full of new experiences and left us with fresh memories. I imagined how my day would have ended had I not stuck to the plan. I realized that the choice to simply go led me to an experience. New interactions that will never be repeated. We were clearly satisfied.

When an opportunity presents itself, it should be an easy decision. Say yes. A recreational experience is a decision that will offer you more, but only if you go.