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gblauer
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Jul 1, 2009, 5:43 AM
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GIrl Power
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Girl Power

At first, I was going to write about my climbing during my very recent trip to the Red. But, during my flight home, as I reflected on the trip, I realized that what I wanted to impart had nothing to do with my climbing at all.

Rather, this trip report is about my renewed faith in the kids who will be inheriting the earth (as my generation fades into our obsolescence). Truth be told, I had recently weathered rather difficult times with some of my own (mostly grown up) kids and I have been feeling pretty cynical about kids in general. Teenagers seem so different from what I recall of my teenage years. They seem to have an overwhelming sense of entitlement and an almost insatiable demand for things (just check out all the cell phones, laptops, Ipods etc). Further, they don’t seem to have any drive to achieve.

Anyways, this trip to the Red helped me see through the veneer of what it means to be a teenager today and for that I am thankful. During this adventure, I had the privilege of witnessing the incredible dynamic between two teenage girls; best friends and climbing teammates. I watched the girls seamlessly move through silly, moody, childlike and sober sometimes within seconds. But it was with a mixture of awe and envy when I watched them climb together. Silly turned to serious as they coached, guided and mentored each other up some very righteous climbs.

But let me start at the beginning. Rather than send her daughter Mee Hye to the Red with her climbing team, my training partner and good friend Jen thought it would an interesting experience to be self reliant and climb as a family. With one daughter less than interested in climbing, this left Mee Hye the opportunity to invite along her best friend and climbing teammate, Lauren. Perhaps as an afterthought, Jen casually mentioned the dates to me. I am not sure that Jen really expected me to show up, but, I hadn’t been to the Red in a few years, I was eager to get back there to put my training to the test and check out my own progress. But, I was concerned about climbing with the girls. Simply put, I figured they wouldn’t climb. This didn’t bother me, except I knew that Jen would never leave them back at the campground by themselves. This meant they would have to spend the day at the crag with us. I figured I would be hearing “are you done yet?”, “when can we leave?” very shortly after our arrival.

We hit the Military Wall the morning after I arrived. The girls wanted a chance to repeat their prior sends of Fuzzy Undercling and Tissue Tiger. Imagine my surprise when they sprinted up the trail ahead of us with their rope and gear in hand. Apparently the old people were too slow for them. Even more surprising, by the time we reached the crag, the girls were already starting up one of the easier warm ups. I was impressed. This process would actually repeat itself over the next few days. Not once did I hear “are you done yet?” In fact the girls were often the last to pack up.

Toward the end of the trip we hit the Zoo. The girls had never been to the Zoo; as such all of the climbs were new to them. They had their eye on Scar Tissue, an overhanging 12a with a very strenuous finish. Since neither of them had ever been on Scar Tissue, this was truly an adventure in projecting. Although across the amphitheater from us, we could hear their laughing, squealing, giggling, occasional shrieks (apparently there were a lot of really big bugs over there). But once they started climbing, the teenage giddiness turned to the serious business of safely belaying and providing the support to each other as they worked out the moves. I watched them take burns, over and over again, with an unpredicted level of persistence. On many occasions we attempted to coax the girls over to some of the easier climbs and each time they responded with a vehement “no, we almost there, we can send this thing”.

Although neither of them actually sent Scar Tissue, I knew they were filled with the pride and satisfaction of having spent the entire day trying. They picked out a climb, figured out the sequence and worked the moves all by themselves. There was no sense of entitlement; they worked hard for their achievements. I marveled at their perseverance, their willingness to try and fail and try again. I was awed by their ability to maintain their levity while at the same time sustain their focus and attention to each other’s safety. And I was envious that they were just young kids with a life time of climbing ahead of them. I wished that I was a teenager all over again.


(This post was edited by gblauer on Jul 1, 2009, 5:52 AM)


Partner oldsalt


Jul 1, 2009, 6:00 AM
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Re: [gblauer] GIrl Power [In reply to]
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Awesome TR.

I have been teaching (attempting to teach) Math to 7th and 8th graders. I have been feeling exactly the way you described your expectations of the girls in your party.

Were they born with electronics in their hands? I'm sure that they will take them along into the next life.

I enjoyed your description of the sport consuming them for a time. As you, I have seen my students at their best as well. Just not often enough to make me comfortable about the entire generation.

My Greatest Generation parents could not see the good in many things that I did and experienced, so I have hope as I watch my five become successful, mature adults.

Keep taking them along!


boymeetsrock


Jul 1, 2009, 6:10 AM
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Very nice TR ! Thanks for sharing your experience.

Are these really teenagers working .12's? Damn. This may be the first time i really feel old (and i am YOUNG!)

Good on the young ladies for womaning up to a good challenge!


dingus


Jul 1, 2009, 7:32 AM
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My daughters and their friends have given me the utmost faith in their generation.

Thanks for the TR and the power of your words

DMT


charley


Jul 8, 2009, 5:21 PM
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Nice tr. Very tenacious young ladies.
Yes, even though I have my doubts sometimes, if we give them the chance most will mature into fine adults.


milesenoell


Jul 8, 2009, 5:54 PM
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Great trip report! I like that you spoke from your own vantage rather than trying to get inside their heads, but still reaching out to a different facet of the climbing experience. I often climb with my wife and some off her female friends and have often been impressed with how differently climbers (especially climbers of the other gender, but age differences can be a similar kind of difference) connect to the joys and challenges of climbing.


granite_grrl


Jul 9, 2009, 4:30 AM
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Nice Gail, this TR made my morning.

The main thing that struck me was their partnership. It's hard to find a partner that properly supports you, and is fantastic that they have that in their early year, doing something they're obviously very excited about.

I'd really like to head to the Red with you some time. I think we could get a lot from each other on a trip like that.


REAL


Jul 20, 2009, 10:45 PM
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Re: [granite_grrl] GIrl Power [In reply to]
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As a martial arts instructor, one thing Ive found with teenagers is, surprisingly they will act as you expect. Therefore...

Ecxpect greatness, they will strive to no disappoint you.

If you expect less they will happily meet your expectations.

Your story is touching, and I saw the same thing time and time again this weekend (at the Red), talking about how drunk they got last night (not quite teenagers anymore), shreeking, etc. to counceling guidance, encouragement, and maturity within an instant of tying a figure 8. Amazing what a knot can do for a person.

Not much different than those commercials of telling your kids not to drink and drive... they listen, and do know when its time to be serious (sometimes) and yes, it is refreshing to see. Thank you for sharing.


asiaclimber


Jul 30, 2009, 6:13 PM
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excellent TR. Hearing things like this are what keep me thinking i might want a kid some day. Knowing my luck they would probably hate the outdoors and play World of War Craft or something like that.


sonso45


Aug 5, 2009, 7:05 PM
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Excellent TR, I was pleasantly surprised at your insights. I had expected a male bashing thing and not a man in sight.

You're on the money with most youngsters (regardless of gender) that I've seen at the crags. Thanks for posting.


potreroed


Aug 11, 2009, 2:14 PM
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Ah, youth, divine treasure!

Great post, Gail. I've been experiencing something similar with some of the young climbers I've been hanging out with at Devil's Lake these last two summers.


Julia2009


Aug 14, 2009, 6:45 PM
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tks for the guideTongue


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