There I was, hanging 30 feet above the ground. Clenching the handholds on the wall, I looked down to see my date, smiling up at me like it was no big deal. My legs began to wobble and my arms burned as I called out “I’m done now!” But I didn’t come down. I glanced down again, pleading to be lowered to safety, but she just shook her head and said, “You have to touch the top!”
After that terrifying experience, I swore I’d never go again.
Now here I am six months later. I have a pass to The Quarry, the local climbing gym. I get up at 6:30 every Tuesday and Thursday morning just to climb. I go up Rock Canyon to lead climb outside every weekend. I received a GriGri 2 for my birthday, and I started building my own climbing rack with five Camp Photon quickdraws. I plan on getting a rope sometime in the future, along with another seven or eight quickdraws to give me a full set of gear.
What caused me to change so much in such a short amount of time?
The first reason was a girl. It seems like a lot of guys will get into new things just to impress a girl or to get to know her better. That’s what got me back on the wall.
The second reason was the pure joy that comes from rock climbing. It’s a tough sport, both physically and mentally. Every new route is a challenge. It requires quick thinking to plan your route and to place your hands and feet. It takes physical strength to actually move your body up the wall. It’s exercise, but it’s fun! I’ve never been someone who gets excited by the thought of going to the weight room, or running mile upon mile without having a ball to chase. But rock climbing actually gets me excited to exercise. It’s become part of who I am.
Over the past six months, I’ve gone from being absolutely terrified of heights to climbing 5.10ds. I’ve started lead climbing, and my next goal is to do some mult-pitch climbs. Unfortunately, it’s starting to get cold and the climbing season is coming to an end, but I’ll keep improving through the winter in the gym.
If you haven’t ever experienced the joy of rock climbing, please give it a shot. Even if you’re terrified of heights. Pulling yourself up a wall brings an amazing sense of accomplishment, especially if you did it while overcoming your fears. I love to take people climbing, so if you want to try it, please let me know and we’ll go!