OMG Climbing!

As I briefly mentioned here I have exercise-ADHD. I love finding new and different ways to move my body, and I definitely love to meet all the people that come with a new form of movement. This largely ties into my master-of-none personality. I’m not passionate enough to practice skill sets while I’m watching TV (I knit…if you were wondering), or go do something every day even when I feel sick or tired.

I haven’t found anything that sparks that obsessive-beyond-all-reason quality that masters have. Sure I get it for a brief period of time, but it’s like  a match to a dedicated persons bonfire…I fizzle super quick. There are a few activities, though, that I do re-visit because I just can’t stay away.

Rock climbing is one of those activities dear friends.

rock-climbing-flrkr

There’s so much yes going on here.

I’ve been climbing off and on ever since a very pretty boy asked me to visit him at work back in 2005. Jeez that was forever ago. Anyways, I was completely hooked. It combines physical exertion with logic and problem solving. That’s my kind of exercise…seriously (don’t judge me I love logic puzzles). I got my very own gear the following Christmas and went through a bit of an obsessive phase; as is normal for me with new hobbies.

If you’ve never watched someone who really knows what they’re doing climb, I would highly recommend it. It’s fantastic. Most people think that it requires a huge amount of arm strength, but the ones that are the best to watch are all grace, ease, and beautiful technique. Sure, they’re also incredibly strong, but in a  lithe, agile, whole-body kind of way.

Sorry, that got a little intense. Anywaaaays…I still consider myself very much a rock climbing n00b. I have enough strength/technique/skill to go in and get a decent two hour workout (without even realizing how hard I’m working), but  don’t know a whole lot of terms/slang and have never had any real technique. I’ve also done all of my climbing in a rock gym. That’s right, I’ve never climbed on actual rock.

Ever since that first introduction to climbing, I started bringing (forcing…tomato/tomatoe) my friends and family to climb. I was always the  most experienced climber in the group simply because I kept bringing brand new people. Not a lot of opportunity there for learning the culture/technique/slang.

So after “climbing” for 8 years I finally decided I wanted to learn how to lead climb. These are the guys that bring the rope up with them and clip into anchors as they go. Ridiculous. I built up my strength to the acceptable level and went in for my class (allll alone…wah-wah). Things were going great! I learned how to clip the rope in one handed, successfully topped out and was lowered to the floor, life was good. Then I was asked to perform a controlled fall…

Now in regular top-rope climbing you are always anchored to the top of the climb and the ground (belayer). Lead climbing you are bringing the rope up with you, so wherever you last clipped into an anchor is where the rope will catch you from…even if that anchor is  below your body. Instead of sitting back nice and snug in your harness and only slipping as much as the rope stretches, you can fall up to 6 feet before that anchor point catches you (assuming you’ve done everything correctly). And it’s not a straight down drop. It’s more of an arcing, pendulum motion…straight back into the wall you jumped off of.

dsc_9315-upd_0

Yea, he’s definitely upside down.

Imagine that for a second. Free falling 6 feet. And you want me to do that on purpose? Seriously?! That may not sound like a whole lot to some but keep in mind that wall is coming to get you. So I take a deep breath (breathe Sarah, breathe) and I let go and… close my eyes and scream like a girl. When I open them, guess what’s rushing up to smack me in the face? Oh yea, that wall I have to protect myself from. Instinct (and panic) kicks in and I do exactly the opposite of what I was told to do (and, in saner moments, what I know I should do) and I flung out my arms and legs stick-straight. I hit the wall feet first and POP! There goes my ankle.

Rude wall. Rude.

This was about two months ago and my ankle is mostly recovered (probably just a sprain – yes, probably – no, I didn’t get it checked). It still aches sometimes and I can pop it now, but I can walk so that’s cool. I never got to the other part of the class, though…the belaying. Until yesterday! Gotta conquer those fears instead of allow them to own you.

We got to the fall portion and I basically started hyperventilating. I made the other two people in the class (other people this time yussss!) go before me so I could watch them fall. I’m happy to report that I’m totally injury free and I got to actually finish the class this time. On my fall I absorbed the shock with bent knees like a normal person instead of panicking like a goob. Now I just need to take the test and I can start working on being a badass.

20131205-153132.jpgWell…more of one really. Look at those calluses! (ignore the pink sheets)

Sorry guys, this one was pretty long. But you should totally try rock climbing. I’ll definitely take you and introduce you around…

XOs

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3 responses to “OMG Climbing!

  1. I am totally happy to let you do my exercising as well as yours. I’m thinking once you master this rock climbing gig, you’ll be up for jumping out of an airplane 600 feet in the sky. That’s only 100 times what you’re already doing when you free fall. Should be easy peasy. Right?

  2. Pingback: “Every mountain top is within reach if you keep climbing” « staying active never felt so good·

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