06 November 2016


I've taken up indoor rock climbing. J. and I took it up together, actually, but then he flew off to Spain, leaving me to find other climbing partners, and I have done so. I am shameless about hitting people up to go climbing. I will climb with anyone who won't let the rope go too slack.

I might have overdone it a little two weeks ago, climbing five out of seven days. Last week I kept it to three, thanks to busy evenings and my elbow hating me when I climb too much, but this week I'll probably be back up to four or five. I love it. I love it like I love martial arts (or would, if I could find a good dojo in this city). 

(If you don't know the numbering, anything in the 5 range means that you probably need a rope. (More details in the "Free Climbing" section here.) The gym routes start at 5.6 and go through 5.13. I started with 5.6s and 5.7s, which are like ladders, and 5.8s were my hard climbs. After six weeks, I climb mostly 5.9s and some 5.10As. My project climbs are 5.10Bs and 5.10Cs.)

My evening emails to J. for the last two weeks or so, as I've been moving up, have read like this: "So then I climbed that purple 5.10A - you know, the one in the room straight ahead right as you enter, over from the orange route that has the overhang? - and it was hard and I had to rest on the rope a couple of times when my hands got tired, but I did it!!" I'm sure he is enthralled. He's threatening to find me a support group.

Yesterday I climbed tried to climb a couple of routes that were way above my abilities, and somehow the whole afternoon passed while I fought the wall. I only figured out how much time had passed because I was so hungry that I got dizzy. It's hard to climb when you are dizzy.

Today I struggled on a route that I did successfully last week (they put in a big handhold for another route in exactly the wrong place to stop me from balancing where there are no handholds), and then when that didn't work, I climbed a 5.11A. Okay, with a little help from the rope, and I used the crack in the wall (I'm never sure whether you are allowed to use the crack or not). And it was my favorite kind of climb, with big bulby handholds far apart (tall people unite). I hate little handholds. They make my fingers cramp up.

"How far do you fall when you fall?" my mom asked. Since I am a 'fraidy cat about falling, I hardly fall any distance at all. Yesterday I was climbing with someone new, who didn't pull the rope tight when I said, "take," and so I just let go of the wall to rest my hands and fell about two feet. Which is fine, except that I was struggling with that route, and losing those two feet of climbing when you are dizzy and hungry and just want to go home is rough. The good news is that I've gotten way more comfortable with falling over the last week or two. Before that, I just clung to the wall like a burr rather than risk falling when I probably could have made the next move.

Climbing is so much fun.

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