I’m worked. I have a decent amount of mental energy and upper body strength left, but my lower body hasn’t been this exhausted in a very, very long time. Admittedly, I tend to have a weak lower body, but a five hour hike (75% of it with a 20+lbs pack with lots of uphill stair-casey single track and scrambling) and lead-climbing for almost nine hours of non-stop movement really tested my physical limits.

The shitty thing about climbing is always the approach and the descent. Unfortunately, whether you’re a large-framed 6′ tall male or a small-framed 5′ short female, the minimum amount of gear required to climb safely is the same. And carrying gear is a part of climbing. I was lucky today to have a partner who was willing to swap packs after I’d finished testing my physical limits, so I got to max my body out in my fun(??) experiment in seeing how fatigue, hunger, exposure to the sun and wind, and a demoralizing one-hour off-trail detour affected my head game once on the crag.

After years of needing to coddle my body, I’m extremely happy with how well I coped physically. I successfully led and multipitched for the first time with my also-learning partner with minimal verbal guidance from below. I never felt unsafe until the surprise rattlesnake encounter by our hike leader on the hike out. I’m writing this after getting home and going to a social event, while not having a headache. It still feels borderline miraculous to have a body functioning this well.

Trip summary: We should have been much more prepared for the strenuous hike, navigating, and having enough sustenance. But I’d consider it a personal success and I think a group success in how we overcame obstacles and worked as a team.