The Summer of Fun, Turning 60

By Anne Parmenter
RMF Director 2002 - Present

So, my birthday is July 4th which is ironic for an English gal a long way from home.  I decided rather than a party on the 4th (which is actually like having a birthday on Christmas day).  I decided I was going to pack as much activity into the summer as possible, I would say yes to every opportunity that came my way. 

As a college coach, I’m very lucky to be able to do my recruiting and still have flexibility to travel and climb in the Summer.  Right before graduation in May I helped Kevin Johnson with climbing leader training in Peterskill, where student climbing leaders perfect their top rope set ups for first year orientation later in the summer. Right around this same time one of running friends asked if I’d be interested to run the RiMaConn trail race later in August.  I’d never heard of that race before, turns out this was the inaugural running organized by the Hartford marathon foundation, connecting Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, finishing in downtown Hartford, via The New England Greenway a total of 95 miles!!! We decided to enter in the Ultra category with 3 runners each running 6 legs totally 30 + miles each, rather than the 6-person option. The race was to take place on August 24th, which was the day before pre-season was to start for me. So naturally I had no hesitation in saying yes, I was in!!!  I thought I need to train anyway because my big plan this summer was to climb in Chamonix with one of my friends right after my birthday, so I thought this would be a great way to get in shape for both!

Beginning of June saw a quick trip down to the New River gorge, some trail running when it rained and lots of fun climbing with a group of Trinity climbing alums. 

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A couple of trips to New Hampshire with time on the slabs, and Cathedral, and one epic trial run where I lost the trail beyond Mount Stanton, no head lamp or phone!! What was only going to be an hour run turned into 3 hours 45 minutes finishing in the dark with much bush whacking!!!  All good for my August RiMaConn run though.

 Off to the UK to help family with a complete house remodel for two weeks before heading to Chamonix in mid-July.No climbing or running due to extreme house make-over working 14-hour days, I was nervous I wasn't in shape for the up coming trip.In the middle of remodeling a very last-minute function in London hosted by Trinity college was offered to me as I was already in the country. Did I want to go to London to watch The Boston Red Sox play the NY Yankees at the Olympic stadium?

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In the middle of remodeling a very last-minute function in London hosted by Trinity college was offered to me as I was already in the country. “Did I want to go to London to watch The Boston Red Sox play the NY Yankees at the Olympic stadium?”

I met up with my friend Emily Drinkwater in the Zurich airport after she’d flown in from the US, and me from London.  We picked up the car and started our four hour drive to Cham.  We decided to Airbnb in Les Houches, just outside the craziness of downtown Chamonix. Following the advice from the Rockfax guidebook and other friends we opted for the first day to go up the Brevent lift and climb La Somone, a multi pitch bolted climb which “proved an excellent first day in the hills when you’ve just arrived in town.”  Sounded perfect. The route was fully bolted and as stated a great first day.  Later that week we returned and climbed its neighbor the slightly harder and longer Crakoukass, also loaded with bolts :)

Finishing La Somone Mont Blanc shrouded in clouds in the background.

Finishing La Somone Mont Blanc shrouded in clouds in the background.

Looking at the weather forecast and feeling good we headed up the Aiguille Du Midi lift the next day at soon as it opened and headed for Pyramid Du Tacul, an hour hike down and across the glacier. With spectacular blue bird skies, we had a fabulous day in the high alpine.

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Emily on the fun double crack pitch just below the summit of Tacul.

After multi raps and carefully pulling the rope we roped up to make the uphill march back to the telepherique. First time at this elevation and the knowledge that a night in toilets awaited if we missed the last tram back to the valley, we pushed the pace as much as we could.

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Great weather and magnificent climbing all around and just not enough time to explore it all. The following day we took a day off and found a small Via ferrata that was free!!

Once I was back in the US I continued to climb and really concentrate on the training for the RiMaConn race. My runs were up to two and three times a day, I couldn’t image running six legs which is what it was going to take to finish the race.

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August 24th me and my team left Lincoln RI at 5:30am and began the run to Downtown Hartford. 14 hours and 44 minutes later at 8:15pm we crossed the finish line as the first ultra-masters team.

August 25th the school year started with all the fall athletes arriving for pre-season at Trinity. I think a summer packed full of fun and adventure.

Nate McKenzieComment