The latest gear revelation, also filed under Stuff I Already Knew: a sealed container is not a good place to store your rock climbing shoes.

I’ve had a bit of a climbing hiatus. I went to what I thought was an outdoors mecca in North America, and instead was very disappointed. There was no place to climb, no climbing gyms, even, no ice climbing within a five hour drive…I’d like to be dramatic and say my soul was dying, but that’s for other drama queen blogs. Basically it just sucked. So my rock gear sat for almost a full year.

Last week I moved to a better place, a REAL outdoors mecca. This time I was not disappointed as I found hundreds of rock routes within walking distance of my new house. As the climber in the family, I knew the leading would be up to me, so I went the prudent route. Having been off climbing for a while and having also recently broken a wrist which still is not completely healed, I decided that I should work the kinks out in the gym before trying to go lead untried sport climbs, let alone the trad climbs that surround my house. Luckily, my new town has – hey! – a climbing gym.

Today I went to the local climbing gym to scope it out, and I was stoked that it was completely empty, with reggae blaring and the owner chilling out at the front desk. So it was just me to tool around all over the gym with no one to get in my way or vice versa. It also meant that when I did my first few laps on the warm up traverse, I noticed a rather rancid stench wafting about the place. I was the only one around…so, yeah. Don’t ever store your five pairs of well-used rock shoes in a Rubbermaid bin with your harnesses and chalk bag.

So, that smell? It’s the stench of incompetence. If you’re a gear knowledge person, you should know better than to lock your putrid shoes up with the rest of your gear for ten months. The worst part is that I was testing brand new shoes, so anyone who happened to witness the spectacle would think that I was just generally stinky, since my shoes were too new to have picked up the traditional climber stink. But you know, there were no witnesses, so I consider my outing a success.