Project Awesome

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Climbing again

on March 15, 2012

I’ve been climbing again.  Being a weekday, the climbing centre was pretty much empty and it’s a big cold warehouse with some walls in it with hand- and foot-holds. It felt a bit less welcoming being on my own, but I got changed and put my shoes on and went out and tried some routes (that’s what we climbers call them, apparently). I  tried the traverse wall, where you go sideways – maybe it’s just me but half the footholds seemed to be missing and I really struggled.  So I went downstairs and did some of the easy climbs, and then wandered around and did some different easy climbs, and I fell off and pulled my shoulder a little bit, and I wondered what I was doing and why it wasn’t really fun, and whether I should give up on the whole thing and go home.

Yes, I was feeling a bit despondent.  I didn’t expect to turn up and be an amazing climber and discover the world of climbing has been waiting for me my whole life, but I’d hoped it would make me feel good again.  So I decided to go and have a rest – my arms were knackered – and some cake and see how I felt.

One piece of Dandelion and Burdock cake (novel but not unpleasant) later, I was ready to try again.  I decided I needed some focus, so I decided to start with the easy-peasy routes and work up them in turn.  If I got to one I struggled with I’d try to work out how to do it rather than just trying something else – a proper challenge rather than a meander.  Lilac 1 is easy.  It’s just up then down again (getting down is the hard part…).  Lilac 2 and 3 are similar, with a bit of traversing.  Lilac 4 is tricky – the bottom bit slopes outwards.

I'm not quite up to this yet...

And then Lilac 5 – well, half-way up there’s this big box sticking out of the wall and it has a handhold on the corner of it and you have to kind of grab onto it and swing across and I have no idea how I’m going to do it.  So I set off.  Quite often the starting handholds are near the floor and you have to crouch down and your bum sticks out and you feel like an idiot.  Nevertheless, this is what I do.  And then I grab the handhold on the corner.  And then I fall off.  It step back and look at it.  And I try again.  I manage the handhold but my feet have no idea where they’re going.  At least I jump off properly.  And I try a third time – this time I work out where my feet should go before I start climbing.  And I make it to the top.  Success!  Except – shit! – I can’t work out how to get down!  I cling to the wall desperately looking for footholds.  I am reasonably accident prone and I really can’t get injured – I have two children to look after and no-one who can devote six weeks to looking after me while I recover from a broken ankle.  Eventually I work it out and gingerly descend, and I stand at the bottom with a massive smile on my face.  Having achieved something, I decide it’s time to go home.


3 responses to “Climbing again

  1. zpembers says:

    I think the trick is probably to have someone to go with. Sometimes, no matter how much fun something is in itself, doing it on your own can make it not as much fun.

    Incidentally, what happens if you couldnt have got down? do you have a help whistle?

    • I would like someone to go with. I’m hopefully going climbing with a friend I’m visiting next week so that will be good – I can get some advice as well, I hope.

      I think if you get stuck, someone might suggest a route down. Otherwise I think you just let go and fall off. I’m a bit scared of falling off.

  2. seaswift says:

    I admire your determination not to give up. This sounds like a metaphor for how we should tackle life. I love your final line. Well done!

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