Looking up at a mountain and thinking about climbing it is pretty intense! The first time I was taken to a rock climbing area (aka “crag”), I thought it seemed crazy-the thought of going vertically up something rather than horizontally. Obviously it is dangerous to climb or you wouldn’t need a rope, right?
The thought of doing something you’ve never done, that doesn’t seem natural, is overwhelming. Nelson Day, with his love of climbing, was eager to teach me how to climb something (with rope)! He, unfortunately, also had to teach me how to belay, which means you are the one at the bottom who is essentially holding the climber’s life in their hands if they fall. You may (depending on where the fall occurs) get an opportunity to “save” them. Well, thankfully, Nelson scaled up a relatively easy climb, basically free-soloing, as I attempted to belay. He was very supportive, telling me I was doing great and I even thought I caught on quickly! Of course, I later experienced having to show someone and trust them to belay me-wow, that brings a whole new meaning to trust!
Climbing! Wow! My first climb was a 5:8 climb in New Jack City (between Lucern Valley and Barstow in California) on Boy Scout Wall. And, no, I had never even climbed at a gym. I just knew I would try and fail because I couldn’t ever do pull-ups as a youngster, nor climb my way up a rope. I was vertically challenged, in more ways than one, I guess! 😉 Well, he said to go for it and I went for it, clinging to a wall that had some very small holds to start with. I did it because he was excited and clearly loved this sport. (I did forewarn him that I may not like this sport and choose to watch from a distance in the future, especially since I was afraid of heights.) Did I mention I was fearful of heights? Yeah…just a bit!!! (No roller coasters or ferris wheels for me, not that I’m not adventurous.) I do like to try new things and I have always thought of myself as somewhat athletic, despite numerous health issues over my years. So, about 20 feet up, top-roping of course, I said, “nope!” “Let me down!” I begged. Nelson shook his head. “I’ll let you down when you’ve gotten to the anchors.” Argh! I don’t believe I even questioned him because he is a stubborn man (in the best of way usually) and he definitely means what he says. Arguing with him would have been futile. Fine! I had to change my mindset…I had to get up to those anchors, about another 30 or so feet up. Honestly, that last part was probably the easiest physically, but mentally, when you look down and see the bottom, your mind naturally goes to places it shouldn’t (i.e.: I could fall, etc). Of course, on rope, and with a great guide like Nelson, I had nothing to fear. I was too high to talk to him much, (talking is the way I get myself through uncomfortable situations normally), so my only choice was to focus in and try to look for ways to get my feet and hands on this mountain in a way that I wouldn’t fall. The coolest thing was that I did it! I found feet and holds and made it all the way up without hanging or falling. I was ecstatic! I had climbed! Wow! What i once thought of as impossible was suddenly turned upside down. The possibilities opened up and Nelson asked if I wanted to climb some more. YES! I climbed several more that day, about the same level. I was hooked. The feeling of mental awareness connecting your brain to your body and its movements, forging through your fear and what you once thought yourself incapable of doing was amazing! Exhilarating! I knew my life would never be the same. I was challenged-I met that challenge, and now I wanted more challenge.
In the following posts, I will share stories of my climbs and what I learned through them. I will occasionally just share a story and I may also share some of my other “mountains” (not physical ones, but metaphorically speaking) in this blog. I hope I can encourage you and challenge you as you overcome your own mountains.
Have a great and blessed day!
- Keep Climbing. (wenzingerphotography.wordpress.com)
- Semi-Rad: There’s No Cheating in Climbing, Only Lying (climbing.com)
- The Climb of Faith (beyondwaiting.com)
- Review: Stone Summit Climbing (mygeorgiateens.com)
- Semi-Rad: How to Win Friends and Influence Climbers (climbing.com)
- Rockclimbing! (jessiesgirlsblog.wordpress.com)
- Climb So iLL (visitmo.com)
- How to climb – Like yourself Pt 1 (canadiankate.wordpress.com)