A First Time For Everything
Every body is a newbie at some point. It may seem like certain people were born running, or that their fingers were made for crags. But they all started out wondering if those new shoes were going to give them blisters.
In March Iâ€™m going to take on a first: ice climbing.
It’s not that I am filled with glee, really more like low level terror, at the thought of looking up at a steep slope of ice knowing that soon I will have to swing an ice axe at it with my weak little Tyrannosaurus Rex arms in order to get a hold. But I love trying things that I might not normally do. Then I can at least say that Iâ€™ve tried it. And maybe have a story or two to tell.
But one of the other great things about trying something new, I wonâ€™t lie to you, is buying new gear for the adventure. Hopefully it is a piece of gear that I can use for something else. (Itâ€™s not like Iâ€™m going to go out and purchase a brand new sea kayak just so I can take it on the ocean once; or maybe twice.)
Enter another first. My first EVER down jacket.
I know, I know. Shilling the product. But itâ€™s a delicious color that makes me think of black raspberry soft serve ice cream! How can you go wrong with that?
The last down jacket anyone in my family owned was my mother, and I was still in elementary school. It was a full length parka; goldish on the outside with burgundy accents at the collar. The material felt about as thick as old school tent fabric, and the parka felt so heavy you would swear it was 1,000 down fill with the actual goose stuffed inside for good measure. True, it was as much for fashion as anything. She played violin in the NH Philharmonic and that coat kept her looking good and feeling toasty when she would have to dress in her â€œconcert blacksâ€ and head out into the winter air to get to a performance.
This Glacier, at only a 650 fill, feels like a helium balloon compared to that parka.
How on earth is it going to keep me warm at the top of an ice wall in North Conway in March? Hopefully there will be some cold days between now and then so I can put this jacket to the test.
My main concern with buying the parka, other than warmth, is that I can shove it into whatever pack Iâ€™ll haul up the slope with me. Weâ€™ll see how well it lives up to the little nylon stuff sack that comes with it.
But I can see the jacket in my mind. Years down the road, covered with stains and probably a few patches. And the first story it has to tell is that March when I woke up well before dawn so I could drive three plus hours to put on some crampons and get to know ice in a way I never thought I would.