About one year ago I took a course called Outdoor Rock Climbing (2 days) with Canada West Mountain School, and my life changed.
I fell in love with hauling myself up rocks in a way I have loved nothing else – not even partners in relationships. I finally got the feeling Disney had taught me I would find in Prince Charming. Rock Climbing is my Happily Ever After. My immediate love affair with the rock gave me a confidence that no matter what happens in my life, if I can get myself outside onto a rock, everything is going to be ok. Things have evolved slightly since then – as every relationship, it has had its ups & downs, but I know this one is for life.
So what is it about climbing that has me hooked?
1. The pure physicality of it – the total body work out. You need every part of your body working in harmony to get good at scaling sheer rock faces – even (if not especially) your finger tips and toes. My body has been through interesting changes since I started – my fingertips have developed thickened skin so I can put them through more torture than normal (and hold hotter things, a life-off-the-rock bonus). My arms are stronger than they have ever been (even stronger than when I used to go to the gym and lift weights). I have stopped struggling with keeping my weight where I want it – I no longer work out to look good…. I just climb, and it doesn’t matter what size my body is, I just care if it works.
2. The mental component – en route planning and executing moves, as well as safety issues. Rock climbing is a real life study of physics. What opposing forces will hold? What angle will make that small, slanting crimp more effective? Where should my weight be at any given moment? And also the important questions of what safety equipment and knowledge do I need to keep me from falling to my death at any given time? Where should this cam go? What kind of anchor should I build?
3. These things together produce Flow – your mind is fully consumed and quiet. When I climb, I am just climbing. I am not thinking about what I should eat for dinner – and if you know me at all, that is what I would normally be thinking about.
4. The adventure. The skills developed climbing rocks are essential for mountaineering and higher alpine ascents – ok I don’t know what I am talking about here, because I have yet to do anything I would call really epic – but the fire is certainly fuelled. Patagonia anyone?
You know all those quotes about following your passion, going in the direction of your dreams, all that jazz – that is rock climbing for me, and I am so happy to have found it.
If you know me in real-life, even slightly – if you ever want to head out for a climb let me know. If you’re new, that’s great, I can show you the ropes :) Hahahaha a climbing pun!