Sometimes being rooted in a place makes it harder to convince myself to go out and explore it. As Walt Disney said, “Everyone needs deadlines”, and this applies to getting all things done: work, but also play. The constraints of a temporary home comes with the appropriate urgency necessary to enjoy it properly. But I, without an Edinburgh expiration date, have been neglecting the beautiful mountains that drew me up to the epic north in the first place.
This is no problem that a birthday list cannot solve. Monkey and I chose a destination for climbing this year – the Cairngorms – and once it was written down, I was committed to making it happen. We live stupidly close to such amazing weekend opportunities, so convenient that we can just go on a whim. But whims don’t always happen, especially if our minds need to process the faff of figuring out how to get to a place, where to camp, what to eat, what it’s like.
So we put the Cairngorms on the calendar. The weather said rain, but in Britain when does it ever not say rain? Sure enough it did not show.
Saturday consisted of a long walk-in, which for us usually means talking about video games. Walking for a while, I forgot that in this case there was an end goal, and it was a glorious surprise to see the corrie suddenly in front of us, waiting to be climbed.
Outdoor climbing is way different from indoor climbing. Indoors, the challenge is mostly physical, then mental for me, but outdoors, the mental part definitely comes first. It is nice to know that I am climbing comfortably within my grade, so nothing should be impossibly strenuous, but other factors come into play, like freezing cold hands on freezing cold rock, and, notably, at the last couple of pitches, some loose rock making it even harder to trust feet (and sometimes, heads). We did reach the top, and made it to the car in daylight, but it took a while to regain feeling in my hands and feet. Hence deserving the pizza.