By: Emily Weinstein
L’shanah tovah, fellow Bad Ass Climber Chicks! The sun has just set on what 99.8% of the world knows as September 4, 2013, but what Jewish people know as the first moment of the year 5774.
I personally did not know any of those numerical facts without Googling them, for though my last name is Weinstein, which is essentially a synonym for “Jew,” and though my blood is 100% Jewish, if you’re into that sort of thing–i.e., “racial purity,” which, I am always quick to point out, a guy named Hitler also was.
The Jews are sometimes referred to as “the tribe. ” I am not that deeply immersed in what is sometimes called “the tribe.” In fact, it wasn’t until I started climbing–while literally wandering the desert, which Jews have been known to do–that I found what I truly believe is my one true tribe. I speak not of the Jews, whom I expect comprise slightly more than 0.02% of this Facebook group, but of the climbers, who comprise 100% of this Facebook group.
We are some of the women of that tribe. Our numbers are comparatively small, though not as small as the Jews’. And our tribe, the climbing tribe, has much in common with the tribe whose New Year dawns, paradoxically, at sunset.
We are a tribal people. We are nomadic. We gather around fires. We observe rituals. We know one another by common dress and language. When we want to lay with someone, we invite them to our cave, or cave-shaped tent, or car. Or literally, a cave. We know of caves. This thing is primitive.
Both tribes have a history of being chased by people in uniform, and we have both spent time in the desert. That’s about where the similarities end.
Being a Jewish climber can be hard, because Jewish parents worry even more than other kinds of parents. This is because Jews worry even more than other kinds of people. But climbing can help with that, because climbing helps with worrying. Maybe not your parents’ worrying, but your own.
I met the woman who assigned me to write this post during the New Year of the solar calendar. She climbs much harder than I do. She photographed my very first lead. Now that I think of it, I have pulled all the roofs I have attempted in her presence, because she pulls all roofs. Now that I think of it, we have spent, in total, just a few days together in life. We have known one another, in total, for less than a year. But I expect to see her for many years to come, in places near and far, and I trust her with my life. Such is the nature of tribalism, of both the Jews and the climbers.
As fall begins, as the year 5774 begins, let us take this opportunity to make another set of New Year’s resolutions for the rest of the 2013 climbing season, or the start of the 5774 climbing season. I will start:
I resolve not to back down from trad leads I can cruise on a toprope, because cruising something on a toprope does not provide the same hormonal high as leading it, and as John Long says, “toproping is great practice for climbing.” I resolve not to forget my headlamp. I resolve to bring calorically adequate snacks for climbing buddies who may be larger than I. I resolve not to approach in Chacos. I resolve to hangdog less when toproping, and lower off. I resolve not to tell my mother when I’m going climbing, so she does not text me anxiously to see if I am still alive when my phone is dead and I am drunk in a national park.
Is there something women-specific to be said in this women-specific forum? If so, it is this: I have found a very good sports bra, and I am not a woman who tolerates sports bras, though once, I was a woman without a tribe. Here is the sports bra:
If you are a Jewish woman with stereotypically large boobs, this bra may be too small. But if you have been climbing a lot and used to have bigger boobs but have now become strangely rangy, then you will take a large. And if you are not sure what size you are, just call the company. A very nice man in Boulder, Colorado will discuss the size of your breasts and how exactly you like them to be cupped or compressed with you in a non-creepy way, and guide you to the right size, though being a Bad Ass Climber Chick, you could of course get there on your own.
I will close with the words of my non-Jewish friend’s very non-Jewish grandmother, spoken at her 95th birthday, to her progeny, shortly before she died: “You all seem like very attractive people. As far as I know, none of you has ever been arrested. I am proud to be associated with you.”
I lied. I will close with the words of my own 92-year-old Jewish grandmother, spoken from the bed where she lays dying, or living, hard to tell which. “Be careful, Emily zys, (sweet Emily), don’t hurt your beautiful self.” But when she was young, she also said, “I wasn’t born just to die.” Between these grandiose, Jewish statements, we live, and we climb.
L’chaim, Bad Ass Climber Chicks! It is a New Year! To life!
I am proud to be associated with you.