Before leaving home I gathered my gear and put it all in one
spot so I wouldn’t forget stuff like last time, and then I quickly made dinner
and got changed out of my work clothes and into something I could climb
in. I only had 15 minutes before I had
to take Thomas to Boy Scouts, so I had to be quick. I looked for my moleskin (my climbing shoes
still need to be worked in and I figured I’d take some preventative measures),
but realized it was in my truck and my truck was still in the shop. This whole not having my truck thing is
getting inconvenient! So instead of the
moleskin I put a couple of Band-Aids on my heels and figured that would have to
Tonight I actually didn’t do any bouldering. From the time I arrived until I left an hour
later Tim helped me with climbing. We
started with attaching the rope to the harness with a figure 8 follow through, and
discussing different types of carabineers.
Woohoo! I actually know my knots,
so I was excited to be doing something I considered easy. Well, at first it was, but for some reason I
wasn’t able to tie the knot successfully after that. Actually, I did tie it successfully a few
times, but not on a consistent basis. I
told myself it was because I was holding the rope a different way than I usually
do, and looping it through the harness, but that’s just an excuse, and I hate
excuses. Practice is what I need.
I’m not a good student because I get frustrated easily when
I don’t understand something or when I do something wrong. My defense mechanism is to change the subject
and move on as quickly as possible to the next thing. I’m not used to failing, so this knot-tying incompetency
hurt on a personal level and became a challenge and a focus for me the rest of
my night. The more I focused, the worse I did.
I’m sure my attitude became
challenging as well.
I’m not sure what was wrong with me, but I kept messing up
the knot, and it’s a really simple one!!!
When Tim asked me if I had any rope to practice on at home I tried not
to laugh: My basement is pretty much a
knots and lashing practice area for the girls, with a large 50 gallon bucket full
of ropes of all thicknesses and sizes. Yes,
I’d be practicing (probably as soon as I got home).
Seriously though, I do need some practice. I want to be able to tie the knot without
thinking, and I suppose that was the problem tonight: I was thinking too much about it.
Tim had hurt his shoulder (or so he says) so he belayed
while I climbed. I was able to successfully
complete three runs without falling, although it felt a little weird to just
lean back and have him control my descent.
They gym was crowded (although not as packed as it had been the previous
two weeks) and I didn’t want to hit the climbers below me, so I kept grabbing
at the holds on the wall to push myself away from the other climbers. Apparently this is frowned upon. I’m just supposed to fall backwards, pushing
back from the wall with my feet, but this simple act was difficult for me to
do. Another thing to work on!
The climbing shoes weren’t as uncomfortable as I’d thought
they would be, although they were stiff.
They fit well, but were bulky in the front (once again, similar to a tap
shoe). I think they’re supposed to be
like that, and after a few minutes I got used to them. However, I couldn’t help thinking how much
easier it would be to just climb barefoot (traction wise).
Climbing actually gets more difficult the longer you do
it. Well, to be fair, I wasn’t taking
breaks, which was probably the problem:
I was wearing myself out. After
the 4th run my forearms started feeling tight. I’ve never experienced that before and it was
really a cool feeling. I could have done
without the veins showing though
On the 5th run Tim gave me some advice: Stop for a second and rest. Ha! Obviously
he doesn’t know me very well. Stopping
and resting are two words not in my vocabulary.
I wasn’t able to stop (unless I was stuck), but he also told me to shake
out my arms and angle them down when they got sore, which worked amazingly
well! Something so simple gave me extra
strength. This must have something to do
with blood flow.
I tried a new kind of run today: He gave me advice on angling my arms to get
leverage that really helped! (Manteling?) I do push-ups, but will need to do more to
work on my upper body strength. He also
showed me how to dropknee, but I’m not convinced yet it will give me more
height (but theoretically it should). I
was just too tired by that point to try it successfully.
I also need to work on planning out my route. I just kind of go with it and look for the
right color holds. This often means
back-tracking a bit. It would do me well
to stop and plan a few holds ahead instead of just clambering towards the top. I
should use more chalk too. Several times
my hands just kept slipping no matter how many times I tried to reposition them,
and I think more chalk would have helped:
that must be why climbers attach chalk bags to their harnesses and don’t
leave them in their cubby with the rest of their gear…
The last run I did was brutal towards the end. I just didn’t have the strength left in my
arms to lift myself up that last bit, and I wasn’t patient enough to just sit
and wait for the strength to come back (I wasn’t sure it would tonight
anyhow). I ‘fell’ three times, and
finally just yelled down to Tim to let me come back down. I think I’m supposed
to say something like “Lower off” but that made me uncomfortable and sounded
weird: kind of like failure. I was only one hold from the top, and it was
the only run I didn’t complete tonight.
I think I can do it though, so if they don’t change the holds I’m going
to try it first next time to see if it was just an ‘I’m exhausted’ thing (and
not an ‘I can’t do this’ thing).
When I made it back down I decided to try and practice that
knot again. The hour passed very
quickly, and before I knew it it was past time for me to go: But I wasn’t done practicing that figure 8
follow through! I wanted to be able to
do it with my eyes closed, and consistently every single time I tried it. But
that wasn’t going to happen tonight. Oh
well. I have all week to practice!
Before I left Tim lent me a book to read Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills. It’s all about climbing, and full of clarifying
illustrations. I have no time to read,
so it looks like I’m going to have to make time because there is a lot of really
great information in this book and I’ll feel bad keeping it until I give it
back to him (another area for growth… this list keeps getting longer and longer…lol!).
Oh, and lucky me, no blisters! I celebrated by putting my logo on the shoes,
branding them as officially mine 🙂