August 27th, 2013 will be remembered as Alex’s first climb. At just over 23 months of age after watching his beloved 12 year old cousin Jessica warm up on some top-rope climbs at Fryeburg’s Maine’s “Jockey Cap”, he started announcing to everyone “Alex do it, Alex do it”. During a short wind-down bouldering session we found a suitable boulder in the V0— range and up he went. With limited beta and pure determination he stuck the top-out and was all smiles as he sat on his first summit… and since I’ve already been asked a few times I’ll put it in writing… no, I did not tear up😉. I was awfully proud of my little guy though!
Jessica was visiting us from New Jersey and was pretty stoked to go rock climbing outside again. When she was 9 she got the climbing bug top-roping on the Thin Air Face on Cathedral. Last year she climbed her first multi-pitch route with me, Upper Refuse, and cruised Seventh Seal, a 5.10, on top-rope. This year after an afternoon learning about rappelling and working technique on some steep face climbs she had her sights set on a bottom to top climb of Whitehorse Ledge. (1,150ft). But first some pics from Jockey Cap.
The next day we headed over to Whitehorse Ledge to climb “Standard Route”, 9 pitches, 5.7, 1,150 feet. I had made plans for a climbing friend to join us so Jessica could just enjoy the climbing while my friend belayed and cleaned the route, but we had mis-communicated the actual date and she was far from town when we realized our error. Considering Jessica’s level of maturity and my familiarity with the climb I decided we could still pull off the climb but it would be a lot more effort on Jessica’s part. She would have to belay each pitch and “clean” or remove the protection after each pitch. Both of these responsibilities take more physical and mental energy than just being the middle person on a 3 person climbing team, but I knew she was up for the additional challenge, and she showed great determination and focus though-out the climb!
We got back to the car just after 3 hours from starting, which is quite fast for a roped climbing team. Most recreational parties take 5-6 hours to complete this route so we were feeling pretty good about ourselves. I was so inspired by the two days I decided to dust off my cheezy iMovie skills and threw together a short vid of our two days together. Enjoy!