Not K2 Bound (348th new thing).

December 20, 2012 § 1 Comment

On Day Three Hundred Forty-Eight, Patrick and I joined friends Jonathan and Jess for a bit of indoor rock climbing at Wall Crawlers. The Js were seasoned scramblers, Patrick had joined them once before a few weeks earlier, but this was my first time scaling anything, unless you count Stone Mountain, which you shouldn’t.

Wall Crawlers Everywhere!

Wall Crawlers Everywhere!

We began our adventure by renting fiercely uncomfortable shoes. I felt like one of the title characters in the Roald Dahl classic, “The Witches.” You know, square toes fitting into pointy shoes? Except that these forced my toes to curl downward with no wiggle room. I was sure the footwear would be great for adhering to the knobby protrusions out of the fake rock wall, but were hell for walking around in a normal fashion.

Balancing Act

Balancing Act

Once the four of had shoed and harnessed up (more comfortable than the zip line harness), we headed over to the first easy wall we would climb. Patrick went first, being experienced and all, and so Jonathan could show me how the harness connected to the safety rope and carabiner. There was a looping process to create a fancy figure eight (sorry for the vague descriptions, rock climbers and knot hounds) that I managed to duplicate, but I was never the anchor on the ground for anyone else. I wouldn’t trust me either.

First Time at the Top

First Time at the Top

After Patrick had had his run up the first wall, it was my turn. I failed my first attempt, but finally managed to touch the bar at the peak on my third try. I felt pretty good about that. Then came the rapelling part, where I imagined myself in a Mission Impossible style descent, bouncing feet first onto the wall and jumping in great arcs. Instead I was slowly being lowered, the only action my feet were accomplishing, in combination with my hands, was keeping me from bopping into the wall. It was probably all they were good for anyway, as sore as I already felt after my first full climb.

More Experienced

More Experienced

Jonathan and Jess took their turns next, opting for far more advanced maneuvers than either Patrick or myself. Jess straight up did the splits across one wall…in jeans. Jeans! Whereas my only goal was to touch the bar at the top of the wall, the pair of them restricted themselves by only grabbing certain colors of hand and footholds, sometimes moving horizontally or diagonally in their quest.

Finally my aching limbs quieted enough for me to try another wall. This one seemed a little more difficult as is sloped toward us slightly at the top. I’d really have to hold on. I even have a video that Patrick shot:

While my form wasn’t perfect, I think I did a damned good job making it up the wall. My favorite moments were when my left foot had only the wall as a foothold around the 1:00 mark and at 1:40 when I took a blind leap at a handhold. Looking back, those were the two most frightening and exhilarating moments of the day.

And then Patrick went up the same route. Spoiler Alert: I was much faster 🙂

Our afternoon ended with a trip to the bouldering wall, an area that our gracious hosts enjoy the most. There are no harnesses or safety ropes in this area, but instead a six to ten foot cave-like wall wraps around an area with a thickly padded floor. Numbered flags waved from a few of the holds. My arms had turned to jelly from pulling myself up into the air, but Patrick managed to hang on for a little while.

Jess Bouldering

Jess Bouldering

Then Jonathan and Jess played their number game on the boulders. Beginning with the hold marked with a “1,” Jess moved horizontally around the wall, her hand only grasping the number that came next. After she made it to about twenty, she dropped down and Jonathan took over for the next twenty or so. They made it further than they had before, past “100.” I was super impressed; I could barely even use my arms to pick myself off the ground. New Goal before turning 31: Develop Muscles.

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