50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year #32 – Go rock climbing

20160129_195222This is another thing that I have avoided because my brother is really good at it. He has been a rock climber for years, climbed mountains, and naturally gravitates to this kind of activity. I have next to no grip strength, never have, and I’m short and uncoordinated. I know my attitude toward this stopped me from having fun or joining other friends who enjoyed it so I knew it needed to be on this list.

I discovered that Jaydan Dick, Krista’s son (she was one of my Brides Maidens, ate bugs, etc. etc.). Jaydan is 14 and growing so fast we can almost see it happening. He’s currently 5’11 and built like a spider – long limbs and hardly any torso. I, on the other hand, am 5’4” and built more like a bumblebee – an improbable flyer. Jaydan had done it before and already knew he loved it. I was not so sure.

We made plans for Friday night, January 29th. This was after I had done my ice skating crazy thing in the afternoon – I was already kind of dead. Cliffside Climbing Gym is pretty much the only place in town to go and it’s excellent. It was packed with a birthday party and loads of university students but there was always lots of room to move around.

We took the little orientation session and then started on the easy walls – I would call them the bunny hill of climbing walls. When I called earlier they said runners would be OK for a first timer. I learned quickly that this wasn’t the case. Just save yourself some agony of you go and rent shoes there – it’s worth every penny of the $3.

Jaydan flew up and when it was my turn I crawled up slowly. Then I got to the top. Then I realized why I really hadn’t wanted to do this before. Just like with Trapeze School (or maybe not quite as dramatic), when you get to the top you have to let go and there is a brief moment where that sensation of falling appears. I practically threw up right there. That would have ended our night pretty quickly because Jaydan was right below me and you know I wouldn’t have missed that target.

We kept going up and down and I got better at letting go at the top. The nice thing about a climbing gym like that is you can go with someone who is much more advanced than you are. Each time you have to unhook everything to switch positions – one person climbing and one person at the bottom – so you can quickly go from a bunny wall (me) to a spider wall with overhangs (Jaydan).

Although my arms were absolutely dead at the end, I really enjoyed this and Jaydan and I had a lot of fun. We plan to keep going and now there are others who want to come with us so we can have some fun as a group. I may even get my own climbing shoes. I think when my brother reads that he’ll fall over in a dead faint. “Who is this person calling herself my sister?” Perhaps I should warn him ahead of time.

Why was this crazy?

Fear of falling. Fear of jumping. Fear of public humiliation. Fear of not immediately being good at something

Would I do it again?

Oh yeah! Gotta get me some shoes!



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