How To Use Rock Climbing Gear to Ignite the Blazes of Romance: Part 1, The Portaledge
- Category: Dad's Dirt Roads: A Blog
- on Fri Mar 16, 2012
- by Mark Stephens on Fri Mar 16, 2012 - (3) Comments
If it's one activity I've dropped since becoming a parent, it's rock climbing. For no conscious reason, either. As our friends moved away or slipped out of the climbing scene around the time we got married, Brooke and I kept climbing. But we only had each other as regular partners. Though we liked the freedom of being a duo and could do as we pleased ("Where are the juggy 5.7s?"), when we had our daughter we stopped going climbing. We didn't know how to transition from the long approach hike backcountry climbs we liked best, or never thought to hook up with other parents who wanted to climb and share kid-spotting duty. So weekend after weekend went by, and, before we realized it, we hadn't tied into a rope in years. We sure do miss it, and we're even talking about picking things up again with some frequency. It's about time for us to take our daughter for her first bouldering session, methinks.
But it looks like there's a way to invoke the romance we found as a climbing couple right in our own back yard: hang a portaledge. The web goes in waves of buzz over this hotel in Germany that offers these "tree house tents," but those of us who've been around a rock wall a time or two know better. That's a portaledge, well used by big wall climbers who spend at least a night, sometimes a week, on the rock.
The uninitiated tend to ask the same thing about rock climbing, "How do you get the rope up there?" But the portaledge and the concept of sleeping on a cliff really bring on the inquisitions. Like, "What if you have to go pee in the middle of the night?"
And with that, we chuckle, don't we?
"Easy," declares the decidedly dirtbaggy climbing scene. "4-inch PVC pipe with a cap on one end, a screw cap on the other, and a damn good plastic bag shoved inside of it. Unscrew cap, squat, good luck." Appointed out of clever necessity, it's called the poop tube.
But, hey, let's not talk about that part. It's spring, let's get some romance in the air. Get the kids to bed at 8:00, hang a portaledge in the backyard just a few feet off the ground, bring a bottle of wine and chill out under the stars. Snuggle up, you animals.
You take it from there.