For his birthday, shgb
wanted to go to a (relatively) nearby indoor rock climbing gym. Alas, my sweetie was not up to going, but he did seem to be on the mend, so I went with shgb and shideem
. I had a blast.
I had taken one class of a rock climbing course at college, and was not at all good. Partly, I didn't have appropriate shoes. Partly, I wasn't in very good shape. And partly, back in my day, the wall consisted of wooden grips that had largely been worn smooth over the years. I was intrigued, but frustrated and a bit intimidated by the other people in the class, and so I didn't go back.
This time around, it was a lot more fun. First, they rented us gear, so we had shoes that were the right size. They also had widgets that made belaying much easier.
(Quick jargon lesson: when one is climbing any higher than one can safely fall, one needs to wear a harness and be attached to a rope. That rope then goes up over some support, and down to another person who "belays." The belayer is also in a harness, and has a way of taking up slack in the rope as the climber climbs, and the belayer's body weight is what largely catches the climber if the climber falls. At college, belaying involved a complicated method of winding the slack continuously around a figure eight piece of hardware, and the harnesses were constructed from rope on the spot. This gym had pre-made webbing harnesses which were more comfortable than rope, and a nifty gadget through which the belayer could feed the slack (and then later release it) without having to do the wacky winding thing).
There was a huge variety of grips and courses up the wall. We started out with a pretty brief lesson on belaying, and I definitely had my "omigood I'm way up high" feeling on the first wall. At the end of every climb, we just let the belayer lower us back down, and the first time that happened, it made me feel much better on a lizard-brain level about the harness and the rope.
I successfully climbed three courses, and made it part way up a few more. I can see how it could become addictive. Climbing is much more cerebral than I would have thought; I had a lot of fun trying a few walls several times, and each time figuring out a little bit more of how to proceed. It took a lot of planning, which I wasn't very good at, to get my feet and hands in places such that there was somewhere to realistically go on the next step.
Shgb, of course, was all monkey like and did some crazy-ass climbs. It was interesting to watch both he and shideem climb, as they have longer legs and arms than I do, and that gave them more tools that I had. There were some distances I just couldn't span. Sigh. I did find that some interesting things translated from TKD. Being able to balance pretty comfortably on one leg was surprisingly helpful, as a lot of what I did was shift weight on to my higher up leg, then straighten it and place my other leg higher still. Admittedly, the balancing is a bit different when you can't really move much away from the wall without falling.
Unfortunately, my upper body burned out before the rest of me was ready to be done, but I couldn't really grip any more, alas, and there's only so much you can do when your fingers won't really close anymore. sylvantechie
would love it, so we're going to go back sometime when he's feeling better.
The gym also had an "indoor cave system" which was built in to the walls behind the climbing wall (thus taking advantage of the otherwise wasted space: clever in theory). They weren't a whole lot of fun, mostly due to being pitch black and stuffy, but it got shideem, sylvantechie, and I thinking more about caving again. I'm seeing about joining the vermont cavers association to try and meet more cavers (and find some people to guide us through some caves that are unknown to us).