Ball Nuts and Big Bros

“You know it’s a good piece when you don’t fall on it,” I said after some thought. We all laughed, even though the pit of anxiety in my stomach cut just a bit deeper at the thought of getting back on my undone line. It was about 75 feet, consisting mostly of a less-than-fingertips crack with the rest of it completely blank. The only solid placement on the route was a horizontal .5 cam about 40 feet off the ground. And who knew what Pam’s route held; it actually looked more like a cave with monstrous, dark openings, and as for the gear—like many of Pam’s infamous routes—it definitely required multiple Big Bros.

But despite the terror that comes with having a tick list that involves more groundfall potential than not, Pam and I crave the adventure of finding, working, and (hopefully) sending new routes, as well as the anxiety-filled torture that taints it all. Call us crazy, but we love this aspect of climbing: diving into the unknown and trusting that our passion and experience will lead us to success. We must be reasonable about our personal strengths, but we must also dare to expand our comfort zones.

I love reading about climbing and those that go out there to look for and project new lines. The sweat that builds up on my hands when reading these accounts just reminds me of what it's like to be out there climbing.

Ball Nuts and Big Bros: Conquering No-Fall First Ascents in the Desert