Rock climbing is a sport that requires a certain level of concentration. Even indoors, you’re potentially dozens of feet above ground, quickly losing grip strength as the lactic acid builds up in your muscles. So among the high-reaching walls of colorfully molded climbing holds at Stone Age Rock Gym in Manchester, CT, I was surprised to find gym staff member Chelsey Dumond using a special piece of equipment. Normally a climber might carry chalk bags, but Dumond also has a cordless phone that she attaches via carabiner to her belt, letting it dangle from her waist.
She told me that the phone is connected to the line at the front desk, and that she does indeed answer the phone while high up on a climb. Now that’s service!
Around lunch time recently, Dumond was staying closer to the ground and trying to complete a bouldering route she had recently created and installed herself at the gym. She is better able to guide others through a route once she has conquered it herself, but she had yet to complete this new route successfully. After several attempts, she still hadn’t made it past the crux — the most difficult part of a route — which was where the wall met the ceiling. She finally stopped, dropping her chalk bags and phone to the padded floor.
“I made myself a puzzle and I can’t finish it,” Dumond said.
Standing with a climbing partner, she clipped the phone back on her waist as she rested, studying her route along the wall.
I took some photos of the phone at her side, and it was only on examining them later that I could read what the screen of the phone said: