On Saturday I didn’t do anything particularly exciting but when I got back home I found an e-mail from Mark inviting me to a “Puppy Party” that one of his PhD students, Jamie, was having and who hadn’t had an e-mail address for me. By the time I got home the party was just about starting but deciding that this would be a good opportunity to meet people I got myself ready and only arrived about an hour late – for once not my fault. They were holding a “Puppy Party” as they had a guide that said they should introduce their new puppy to a large gathering of people. Given that the guide also said they should have taken it hot air ballooning I’d have treated with a pinch of salt but if they wanted to have a party for such an odd reason who was I to complain?
The party was a good opportunity to meet people and I also found out that several of them climbed, including Jamie which I hadn’t realised before as it had never come up in conversation in the office. I also managed to get a recommendation on somewhere to live. It was definitely worth the effort of going out again so quickly after I got in.
On the Thursday after the part I went climbing with some of the people from the party. The best nearby climbing wall is the other side of Kansas City (both of them for those that remember a previous post) and about a 45 minute to an hour drive. The wall was certainly better than the uni one even if you do have to jump through hoops such as a belay test. If you want to lead you also have to pass a lead climbing test. Being rather elitist they put this up a 5.9 (about F5 / F5+) despite there being easy lead roots. I didn’t really fancy a go at the test, knowing that I was weak, out of practice and disliked overhangs but got talked into it. Disaster followed when I fell off trying to get the second clip. Either grade conversion tables or wrong or I’m very weak and pathetic. It didn’t help that they used multi-coloured holds on a route and marked different routes by coloured tape next to the hold. I hadn’t got the hang of this so it took me a long time getting to that second clip while I tried working out where the route went. No excuse for my patheticness but still a stupid system. Anyway in falling off I managed to land on the rope and give myself a nice rope burn across the back of my knee and a lot of bruising. Although I carried on climbing it wasn’t that comfortable the next day!