I didn’t correlate a climbing gym to a regular gym in this way before, but apparently they fill up for the New Year as well with all those resolutioners: CityRock was packed!!!  I got there at about 6:30pm, and I could tell it was filling up fast for the night.  I checked in and stuffed my gear in the last cubby available.

I really wanted to start my night bouldering, but I could tell by the number of people already there I’d better start with rock climbing (again) because the auto belays were all going to be taken soon and I’d never get the chance to climb.

It was almost too easy today: I climbed about 6 runs, all between 5.7-5.10- .  I climbed some because they were there, and others because I actually enjoyed them.  I’m stuck on 5.10- and can’t seem to climb a 5.10+.  However, I’m not sure how static those rankings actually are.  I feel really solid on a 5.9, and that’s probably where I’ll continue climbing, but there’s a 5.8 I just can’t seem to get!  Maybe it’s because it’s on a curved wall?  In any event, I usually end up trying that one last, and by that time my arms have given out.  Maybe I’ll start with that one next time.  The 5.11’s require me to cut my fingernails, and I’m not that committed yet.  In fact, I broke a nail tonight and it’s the first one I’ve broken so far since climbing.  I’m pretty proud of that!

After getting my fill of rock climbing I headed over to the bouldering area. By this point my arms were a bit sore, but I was able to do the yellow curved V1 without much difficulty.  I went to the V3 run I’d done last time, but couldn’t get a good grip. I noticed a kid (probably 13) watching me, and I said “it needs to be cleaned”.  He assumed I wanted him to do it, and climbed up just to clean it off.  I smiled inwardly:  I was just making an observation not asking him to clean it!  I forget the power adults have on kids when they make comments…lol!

He looked like a regular who knew what he was doing, so I asked him if he wanted to climb. Nope, he was taking a bit of a rest.  So I tried the run again and was successful.  The kid watched me the engire time and seemed impressed:  he asked me a bunch of questions about how I did the route, and said that one took him forever to ‘get’.  It was as if suddenly I was important in his eyes.  I don’t know why, but it made me feel good to impress a 13 year old kid.  Sheesh!  I moved on (and didn’t ever end up seeing him climb anything that night).

I moved back down to the lower climbing area and saw a kid that was supposed to be at Boy Scouts. He sheepishly stated his plans had changed at the last minute (funny thing, his father was at the Boy Scout meeting down the street… I wonder if he knew?).  At this point I was seriously tired.  I tried the Yellow V1 run again and while I made a valiant attempt and held on for quite a while, I wasn’t able to push myself over the ledge.  This happens after you’ve been climbing for a while and don’t rest.  I was encouraged by the others sitting down how it was impressive I’d held on for so long.  This is a common occurrence at the gym:  everyone encourages everyone.  I still feel uncomfortable in this sort of environment, so I thanked them and switched climbing areas. I did a few more runs with the auto belays and called it a day after only about an hour of climbing.  I need to learn to either take breaks or build up my strength.  In any event, it was a successful night of climbing!  I didn’t embarrass myself by falling, and there wasn’t a run I’d been able to do before that I couldn’t do tonight.  Now to work on those 5.10+ and V3’s!

Author: Laura M Clark

Laura has summited over 500 peaks above 13,000' solo, including being the first woman to solo summit all of the Colorado 14ers, as well as the centennials. After each hike, she writes trip reports for each one and publishes them on her blog, which is read by fans all over the world. Author of Wild Wanderer: Summiting Colorado’s 200 Highest Peaks, which is available to purchase on Amazon.

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