Ring Rescue at Seneca Rocks
Let me tell you a personal story of why I love climbers so much; why I wanted to open a climbing gym and spend my days with climbers.
A month ago, I went to Seneca Rocks with my husband, Spencer. At the bottom of Ecstacy Jr. I realized I had forgotten to take my rings off. I zipped them into my pocket with my wristwatch and proceeded to enjoy the day. We got to the top of Old Man’s route at 1:30. I know because I looked at my watch. We went to the summit and then enjoyed the view atop of Conn’s West with two women who asked if we would like to join ropes for one long rappel. Of course, we would – we were all racing the approaching rain.
That night, as I emptied my pockets, I couldn’t find my grandmother’s wedding band. The only time I had unzipped my pocket was at the top of Old Man’s. It had to be up there. I was sad, but curiously not upset. It was pouring rain the next day, so there was no going back up to search. There was nothing we could do but drive home.
The minute I got home I called my friend, Gwen, and asked if she’d go back to look for it with me. I knew it was crazy, but I just had to try. With each passing day I knew my chances of finding the ring were slimmer. This past weekend, a month after I lost it, Gwen and I drove down to Seneca Rocks for operation Ring Rescue. I had only a sliver of hope and my unbridled optimism.
On Saturday, Gwen and I followed the same path up Old Man’s route. I climbed through the notch and immediately dropped to my knees to sift through dried pine needles where one month ago I had stopped to eat an apple and check my watch. Nothing. It was disappointing, but not unexpected. Our climb was a fun and rewarding, so I chose to be grateful for that.
We went to the summit like the month before, then scrambled down and waited at the top of Conn’s West for another group to leave before we set up our own rappel. Two soft spoken climbers were waiting above us. This time it was my turn to reach out and ask if they wanted to join ropes for one long rappel. We chatted with Peter and the other Peter, both on a trip with Friends of Seneca Rocks. We shared some stories and I mentioned operation Ring Rescue. Tall Peter said he was there for the weekend so he would keep his eye out. Very sweet.
After the rappel, the Peters walked down the staircase while Gwen and I rappelled Ecasty Jr. It took some time with so many Friends of Seneca Rocks climbing around us. When we finally got down to the road, Peter was there. “How long have you been down?” I asked. “About five minutes,” he said, “but I went to town and came back to wait for you. I think I found your ring.” WHHAAAAT????!!!!!
Peter knows Seneca. He went to The Gendarme, a climbing store and guide service where people sometimes deliver things found on the mountain. I didn’t even know this place existed. We followed Peter to the store where he introduced us to Patrick. He said, “what’s the ring look like?” I replied, “white gold with tiny diamond chips, engraved on the inside.” He smiled and said, “yep, I got it. I’ll be back in twenty minutes.” I cried. I exploded with joy. I bought Peter ice cream. Twenty minutes later when I put the ring back on my finger, I felt like Cinderella. I cried again. Patrick is the one who found it – right where it should have been. Somehow it caught his eye and he brought it down for safekeeping.
This is why I love climbers. This is why the climbing community is so incredibly special. Talk to people and tell your stories. The power of community can create miracles! Thank you, Friends of Seneca Rocks, Thank you, Patrick. Thank you, Gwen. And thank you, Peter, for the miracle of your presence at just the right place and time.