We went to the Triangle Rock Club on Sunday for the rock climbing lesson I mentioned in my last post… it was a coupon dealy that I bought a few months ago as a surprise for my outdoorsy, naturally athletic, experienced-climber husband. The actual surprise about it was that I was even willing to give it a try. Yes, me… Ms. scared of heights and coordination-challenged. But I’m on a quest to try new things these days – especially if it’s something that will count as a workout without me feeling like I’m being punished.
We arrived for our appointment, changed into the loaner rock-climbing shoes (they cuddle your feet – yay!), and followed the instructor over to the novice wall… Our first lesson was how to fasten ourselves into the harness. Erik brought his own gear, but according to our very young instructor – it is an “old skool harness” that she, like, had when she was, like, a kid. Hahaha! He is so not going to live that one down! Oh, and let me just say a few words about a rock-climbing harness… nothing puts a man’s package on display quite like these little gems. I’m still trying to convince him to start wearing his around the house… bahaha!
Next thing, we learned how to tie knots so we could tie ourselves in as the climber… then how to belay so we could anchor the climber. After lots of demonstrations and tests of all that, we were ready to get on the wall. So… this tickles me every time I think about it, but if you are the climber, you’re supposed to turn to your belayer and ask “on belay?”, wait for their response of “belay on” to make sure they are ready to anchor you and have all their equipment ready and locked as it should be… then announce “on rock”, wait for their response of “rock on” before getting up on the wall to climb… Favorite part of the whole day? Was being able to say “ROCK ON!” over and over again with a serious face.
I actually went first on the climbing part while Erik was my belayer. I didn’t follow any specific path up the rock wall (they have routes that are rated for skill-level), but was surprised at (a) how easy it was for me to find hand and foot-holds (b) that it wasn’t scary being up that high and (c) that it is a full-body workout! I climbed almost all the way to the top before I settled back into the harness and walked myself back down the wall as he released slack on the rope.
Now it was my turn to belay… on that part, I was surprised that (a) you have to avoid getting distracted by other people climbing near you or you’ll forget to pull up slack on your climber’s rope (b) pulling up slack on the rope is a bit of a workout in itself and (c) you can lock the rope’s position through simple physics instead of strength. It was kinda fun to lock the rope after he had walked down the wall and was dangling about 2 feet above the floor. Surprisingly, he didn’t harass me like that when we switched positions again. Sucker…
We were there for a total of about an hour and a half for our lesson and some free rock-time… The club was practically empty when we arrived, but was jam-packed by the time we left. I can see why so many people are attracted to this sport… it’s fun, challenging, and empowering! We had a great time and are looking forward to finding a rock climbing gym when we get to Savannah next month!