The Shit Times by RPC
It’s Friday night. Travelocity special to Phoenix – a great deal! Barely make the 6:30pm flight out of PDX. 4 bags. 150 lbs of gear. My Saturday outfits; my Sunday outfits; my soap collection and make-up kit for starters. Cheap car rental and a 3 hour drive put us in the East Cochise Stronghold. It’s 1am. Too lazy to pitch the tent. Quick sleep on the front seats of the economy rental. The alarm goes off. Shit – no pen to fill out the fee envelope! Off we go hiking up to the Rockfellows.
Granite here is amazing – beautiful green lichen-covered climbing wonderland! The sun is shining brightly. The skies are blue. Life is good. Rockfellows tower proudly above us.
A bite to eat & off we go. Shirley leads the first pitch.
Going is slabby and then steep but the granite is well featured. Shirley exclaims her agreement: Endgame’s indeed 4-stars! Fun fun fun!! Soon enough she’s at the belay and it’s my turn. Not feeling warmed up (& sucking). My movement is tenuous. Make it mid-way up the pitch. Face to face with the crux. A side-pull on the left. A nubbin pinch on the right. Eyes aiming for the jug higher up.
A loud “pop” and I’m airborne. WTF?! Did a hold just rip? My left arm is hanging limp at my side. Pain shoots through me. I’m screaming like a banshee. Flirt with passing out. I yell to up to Shirley. She’s out of view above me.
“My arm! My fucking arm!! ”
Get lowered. 80 feet below I writhe in pain atop a boulder. Shirley raps down. Shoulder bone sticks up. Shirley pulls the ropes and packs our shit. The stumbling hike down takes two hours. Muscles contract and the pain grows worse. Shirley carries a pack heavier than she is. An hour drive to the local ER. Two shots of valium. It’s good times again. Wait – the shoulder needs a reset. OK more pain. Another loud “pop” and Vicodin pills.
It’s Monday morning. We sit at the airport. We’ve been through this shit in Dragoons before. Memories of last New Year’s come back to us: 50 hours of driving for the sake of a badly sprained ankle and zero climbing. Still have that swelling. We curse the great Cochise. Our ancestors never persecuted the Apaches. Why this streak of bad luck? We’re late for work. “It was a sweet-ass pitch” Shirley tells me. Yeah, I know – we’ll be back soon enough. My left ankle’s turn.