Snapshots of Some Climbing Friends


Photo courtesy of Erin Turner.

is one of the few girls I climb with, and she’s awesome. She reminds me to eat, is encouraging and supportive even when I’m unnecessarily hangdogging, and is always down for a good Pawtuckaway night bouldering session.

What makes Erin unique is her refusal to climb routes she’s not enjoying. If she’s not having fun, she’ll simply let go, dirt, and make someone else clean the draws. If climbing is supposed to be fun, why spend your time on a route you’re not enjoying? That’s her take on things.

She is however, under nearly every circumstance, down to climb. For example, we spent several days at Rumney together last summer while she was recovering from a concussion. That probably wasn’t the smartest idea, but we made sure put a 5.8 cap on her climbing for the week. The best part: She got incredibly psyched talking me through leading a wonky 5.10a. That onsight is 132% due to her encouragement and telling me to dry off my wet shoes with my chalk ball halfway up.

“I was just climbing vicariously through you,” was her reply to my thanks.


matt_snapshots_coffeetapeclimbis a solid athlete. He climbs 5.12 sport, kiteboards, mountain bikes, road bikes, hikes, Nordic ski races, and hammocks like a champ. When there isn’t enough wind to kiteboard, he tries to find pumpier and pumpier sport routes, so he can shout, “That was the most pumped I’ve ever been in my life!” after sending each one.  I’m impressed by his ability to push himself with sport climbing, campusing cruxes when he can’t get his feet on and later asking us how he did them, explaining he “blacked out there for a minute” while sending.

Matt is also a fan of planning out what horse noises, loud “da, ba,” exclamations, and occasional wild yelling he will employ to get himself through cruxes. For example: Audible breathing for bolts one to three, horse noises to the crux with a few “da”s thrown in, and then a few whoops to get him to the chains. He usually follows through with it.


is newer to climbing, having gotten into the sport later in college, and thus is notorious for getting things almost right, especially when it comes to climbing terms. He likes to ask me if routes are “permadrawed” at the top when he wants to know if there are quick clips and pronounces “flacking” out one’s rope like Ben Affleck’s last name: “flackking.”

Photo courtesy of Tim Brown.

My favorite Tim-ism is his use of “you got me” to mean both “take” and “climbing.” When belaying him, I’ve learned to take when he’s climbing and says “you got me?” and then give out slack again the next time he yells it down to me.

Once you understand his terminology, however, Tim’s a great friend to have at the crag. He’s always down to belay you on your project, likes to invent new workouts unique to each of our friends, and will likely offer you a pb&j between burns. And, if you’re really lucky, you’ll get to see him send a route in full sweats when it’s 70 degrees and sunny.

Originally published October 18, 2014, on 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s