Thursday, April 1, 2010

Birth of a Climbing Monkey (I mean Junkie)

Harness, Check

Shoes, Check

Rope, Check

Trusted Belayer, Check…I think?

I found myself climbing up a wall with nothing but a rope and a trusted friend, keeping me from hitting the ground. As I reached the halfway point between the ground and the top, I started to shake. Physically shake...the kind where you feel weak and sweaty. For a split second I doubted my abilities and realized that I was climbing a VERTICAL wall. I’m not sure if it was adrenaline or simply anxiety but it felt like an overwhelming, out of control panic and then, just as fast as it had started, the panic was gone. Somehow I instinctively knew I could finish. Using the upper and lower body strength I’ve developed at BCTG, I was able to reach the top of the rock wall. I guess all those dang pushups, pull ups, tire flips, lunges and jump squats are paying off!

Once I reached the top, I still needed to get down. I looked down at my friend Amelia and thought, "I’m suppose to just let go?" I took a deep breath, asked Amelia if she was ready, yelled, "take" and leaned back with as much trust as one person can have in another as she gently and slowly eased me down the wall. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. Not only was I able to accomplish something I thought I couldn’t do but I was also able to physically see how much stronger I am. I know with 100% certainty that I would not have been able to do this 6 weeks ago.

We climbed for about an hour and I could probably have kept going for another one. My body was tired and I could tell my arm muscles were fatigued, but it was so much fun that I wanted to continue. After one afternoon, I am a rock climbing junkie. I have looked into pricing packages, climbing clubs and I’m planning on going back this weekend. It’s a great workout for both my arms and legs and even my oblique muscles are sore.

I called Elise the minute I left the gym to share my excitement. When I told her what I had just done she said, "you did what?!" Though, Elise is afraid of heights I made her promise she would come with me to the Rock Gym. If she won’t climb, at least I can amaze her with my novice climbing abilities. I will never be an addict to running like Katy, but I will accompany her on the track some days and force her to come to the Rock Gym with me in exchange. Lately I have found myself enjoying the BCTG workouts and trying new and physically challenging activities. Maybe I’ll even sign up for the Mud Run with Katy next year.

What a surprise to find that I of all people would become a Rock Climbing Junkie?


  1. Climbing is so much fun and great exercise. Kudos to you for trying something new.

  2. You literally "rock"!

    I'm so in awe of my running and climbing addict teammates. Go Jo & Katy!!