Seven Bays and seventeen year olds

This morning I went to Seven Bays Bouldering, a climbing gym in Halifax on Gottingen Street, to climb with the teenage son of one of our friends from Dartmouth. Just like when I went to Dogpatch in San Francisco, the difficulty curve is super steep – there are a few almost derisorily easy routes, and everything else is impossible for me. Plus when you’re accompanied by a seventeen year old without an ounce of body fat, your lamentable power-to-weight ratio becomes quite clear.
Certainly, there was some fun stuff. The overhangs are much more angled than I’m used to and the holds, even the large jugs, are less grippy and have less room to get a grip on. I managed a few things, including a steep problem with huge holds that required a lot of arm strength, and a tricky set of rectangular blocks without any proper purchase, and then spent the rest of my time getting half way up a few problems and then running out of strength, technique, or both.

At least both of us failed on the same route, a cruel combination of a small floater for both your hands and a tiny foothold, then a few more holds of little more than finger size spread across a great area. I had to admit defeat and drink coffee instead.

Perhaps smartly, about the half the establishment is a cafe and half a climbing wall, so as people get worn out and stop climbing, they stay for the caffeine. My acquaintance asked me if I was a hipster, and when I denied it pointed out that I have hipster shoes, a hipster wallet, hipster hair, a hipster beard, a hipster hat, and hipster taste in coffee. When I told him I’d therefore been a hipster since before it was cool, I suppose I was only reinforcing my unwanted hipster credentials. Ah well.

It had been raining and cold when we started, and the place was almost empty. By the time we left at 1130, it was filling up, both with people and the smell of perspiration. The rain stopped and we had another of those beautiful warm Nova Scotian days, where I regretted going out in the heaviest jeans I had available and spent the afternoon feeling sick when all I should have done was wear shorts. And not drink four shots of espresso at Seven Bays and not expect consequences.

We bought a cake for Destroyer’s third birthday and then took the kids out for dinner. Mistakenly, they had ice cream at eight pm, which meant I was still trying to persuade La Serpiente to sleep at 930 ("if you don’t read my book now I’ll never love you!" etc etc, worlds without end…) but at least now I can recline, looking back on a day well spent and wishing I hadn’t hauled so hard with my arms.

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