I am getting old. Every year, I recover more slowly from big days out. Injuries have started to accrue rather than heal. My climbing partner has an artificial hip. The day I’ll have to back off is on the horizon. But I can still climb Ovisight, so that day has not arrived yet.
The hills don’t care who you are, what you do, or how you feel. The Ovisight/ Legg creek drainage cares perhaps a bit less than other sections of the world’s terrain. The approach is always just as treacherous and choked with snow, no matter the conditions elsewhere in the valley. This year was no different.
We got a late start, so it was mid-morning before we stood at the top of the approach pitch, where the entire drainage funnels through a gap you can stretch your arms across.
We slid and wallowed our way up to the first pitch. The ice was easier than usual, more five-ish than six-ish.
The second pitch was, as usual, harder than it looks.
At the top of the pillar, the snow was deep and the hour was late, so we went back to climb the first pitch again rather than pushing on to the final column of ice above.
As we were wrapping up, two teams of younger guys arrived at the first pitch. They had started at noon. I was impressed until I checked the clock. They hadn’t moved any faster than us, it was just that late.
We made it back to the car as the sky faded from blue to black and the coyotes began to call to each other. We were whipped and I think if either of us were asked at that moment, we’d have said we wouldn’t go back to climb Ovisight again. But, being old, we would forget that moment and next time the first pitch peeked around the ridge at us, we’d head back up for another Alzheimer’s onsight.
As our little diesel cranked and caught we looked back at the climb one last time and we saw headlamps wink on high, high up the valley wall. I shivered. Age had its advantages after all.