Paduan…

AJ and I went climbing after he got off work and we got some food in us.  I had watched Squiggle Bug all day and AJ was frustrated with how his day had gone thus far.  We had both been looking forward to climbing all week long!  We got there, snow, freezing weather, and all, and commenced “#climbtimeprimetime,” as AJ phrases it, haha.  He led a 5.10b to begin.  I love that big, juggy, purple route!  I made two or three good attempts at it and then took a rest while AJ tied in for a different route after pulling the rope.  He led a blue 5.10c next.  We were sharing the wall with many other climbers, as it was evening.  AJ led a black route that uses the same permadraws that the testing route, a green route that he had set himself, does.  I attempted the green test route on top rope next.  There is a really high step that I’m going to have to get in order to make any further progress on that route, but my flow was good on the purple route and this 5.9 green route to the point in each route where I progressed to.  Smooth and flowing is awesome!  AJ belayed me on a top rope that had already been set up for an attempt on the red 5.8 route that has these cool dragon wing-like holds on it after I belayed him on a white pipe 5.11d with a dyno on an overhang for the finishing move.  I got farther up the red route than I ever have previously, which AJ noted the good flow and smooth movement on again.

Then came a nice long rest while we waited for a few people to test before AJ was to attempt a purple 5.13c route on lead.  He went through the beta with me so that I knew where he had more potential to fall.  I asked him about a few moves because I was worried about him falling at the third clip.  Generally, if he were to fall above that, I wouldn’t have been so worried, but I did see the potential for a situation that I hadn’t encountered before to occur.  He replied that it would be a soft catch since it was vertical at that point in the route.  AJ tied in and I got ready to belay him on this beast.  He got to the second clip and fell before I could take in the slack.  I had him too loose!  As he stood next to me “on belay”, he said, “Thanks for the ground fall.”  That rattled me.  I then neglected to step to the side to belay him back up to where he had been, so the rope was rubbing across the top of his head.  He asked me to lower him, then pointed and said, “Stand over there.”  I belayed him from the side, which he remarked was much better and thanked me for before having me dirt him on that route for the session.  I told him, “I feel like I failed you, Jedi Master.”  He replied flatly, “You did.”  He attempted a yellow route next to it, which he was frustrated with as well, concerning my belaying, but led to the next-to-last hold and said, “Dirt me.”  He showed me how to get the twist out of the rope as I was lowering before he had climbed the yellow route, and noticed that I had been trying to do it as I was belaying him.  As he rolled the rope up in the rope bag, I told him I felt really bad about the purple route.  AJ looked up and smiled, saying “But you’ll never do it again, because now you know what can happen.”  He was right.  I would never forget it!  I asked if we were good.  He held up his fist for a fist bump. “We’re good.”  A fist bump with static electric shock followed.  It wasn’t my night, haha!!!  I gave AJ a ride home and we thanked each other for climbing with each other.  I, the Paduan, had learned much!

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