Forgive me for any potential typos as I can hardly move my arms from this week’s challenge. Since The Four Agreements was so heavy I decided to take a lighthearted approach to my second challenge and have a little fun!
I was really excited about this one because my sister, Abbey, has recently gotten into bouldering in Denver. This has freaked me out for a number of reasons, but mainly because you do not use a harness. Not knowing very much about the subject, I decided to do some research. I watched videos, talked to other climbers and did a LOT of reading.
Bouldering is typically done at a lower height than climbing with a harness. It is more about focusing on the problem and finding a solution to climb an obscurely shaped boulder. Fun fact: climbing urban structures and public architecture is called “buildering.” They sit and stare at the rock, evaluate the situation and come up with a plan of attack, or solution, on how to conquer it. It focuses on strength and power through smaller sequences of moves where as sport climbing is going up the face of the wall any way you can. The geek in my loves problem solving so, if I were stronger, this might be right up my alley. Perhaps someday.
Abbey, I’m beyond impressed that you can do this…and I get it now. I get why you like it so much. I’ll support you with Mom and Dad haha.
My best friend Christy Samad joined me on this little adventure. We selected Rock Quest Climbing Center in Sharonville for our climbing facility based on a recommendation from Linda Appleby and from the quality of their website. They seemed to have their ducks in a row, whereas Climb Time was not quite as informative.
I walked in and explained what I was doing (and they thought it was really, really cool) and suggested that we do a 1 hour semi-private session where a staff member belayed for us so that we could just enjoy the climb. That and I was nervous for Christy to belay me…
Some things to know:
1) I’m TERRIFIED of heights.
2) I’m clumsy as all get out.
3) I don’t do well in high-pressure situations.
This was really the perfect challenge to get me out of my comfort zone and really stretch my abilities.
After a minor panic attack I adjusted and accepted that this was an unavoidable activity and I had to suck it up. We then met the lovely Sarah Rottenberger, who would serve as our climbing guru for the next hour. After signing our life away, getting our gear and suiting up, we were ready to go!
My thoughts on rock climbing…
It was really tough for me at first, especially because of the heights thing, and being able to maintain a level of confidence in my abilities. I didn’t think I’d be strong enough and Christy and I actually joked on our way there about whether or not we’d even make it to the top of the wall. There were many times where I was tempted to quit as a result of either fear, confusion or exhaustion. Sarah wasn’t having any of that. Her shouts of encouragement and directional advice from 40 feet below kept me going – truthfully. I could not have done this without her.
This sport requires both mental strength and physical strength. I mean, you’re strapped into a harness and, though I didn’t believe this at first, they’ve got you. They will not let you fall. You’ll see this in the video. Sarah said she never climbs a wall without creating a plan first. Well I’m not much of a planner. I just went for it. That was stupid. At one point I was hanging, 30 feet in the air, and I yelled “I do not like anything I’m holding onto right now!!!!” and didn’t know where to go from there. Again, she encouraged me and up I went. Having faith in yourself and your own strength to keep going when you think you can’t is most important. Christy says to “Stay calm and keep focused!” – Two things I’m really good at…
What goes up must come down. OMG. Terrifying at first then totally fun. After the first couple of bumps I was alright.
We climbed 4 walls of varying skill level, the last of which consisted of a three-dimensional diamond pattern coming out of the wall. This was tough because you couldn’t see where your feet were or what to place them on, but eventually, I figured it out!
The sense of accomplishment I felt when I came down from the first climb is irreplaceable. I am beyond proud of myself for doing this and so very thankful to Mrs. Appleby for making me. Even though I could barely move when I woke up this morning…
Here is a little video of the adventure! Enjoy!
Kinda feeling like I can do anything now!! We’ll see what next week brings!