Every year a phenomenon occurs whereby the weather begins to improve enough to allow a couple of climbing days at Index. In this short transitional period, the temperatures are cool, friction is good and morale runs high. As with yesterday, my first trip to Index in a month or more, these are usually the 'warmup' days, whereby dust from the preceding months of sport climbing (and not climbing) is shaken off: gear is placed somewhat more fearfully than it should be, hands and feet feel ineffective in cracks and trust in one's technical abilities is somewhat overshadowed by doubt. I have a couple of these days every 'early' season where climbs I am accustomed to enjoying become tooth-and-nail challenges until I eventually get a grip on my abilities and focus them once again.

After a couple of these days out, the weather usually turns good: too good. To wit, this week's temperatures are forecast to approach (and possibly to exceed) 90 degrees after this Monday's modest mid-50's to low-60's temps. While I recall suffering profoundly midway up the Lower Town Wall in 90 degree heat in the past, I like to think that those bootless forays into heat exhaustion no longer lend themselves to my growth as a climber. That said, temptation abounds: Monday's routes, though mostly customary, rekindled that great joy that I find in climbing, nearly enough to get me out there again in the heat of the week. Index has always been a wellspring for that peculiar love wrought only by numerous humbling episodes of failure interspersed with the occasional brief glimpse of redemption; another trial by fire on the south facing oven-like walls of granite almost seems appropriate at this point--and not nearly as bad as some of the alternatives...

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