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Climb! January 19, 2009


The only problem with rock-climbing is that you can't take pictures of yourself or your partner while you're doing it, because if you could I SO WOULD. So that's just some random guy climbing, and only two-thirds of the wall is showing in that picture.

It was awesome, people. THE BEST.

We got there and it just looked ridiculous. People everywhere in the gym, crawling up insane inclines. I knew I wouldn't be able to do it, and I kinda wondered why we didn't just leave.

But our teacher hooked us up into our gear and taught us how to tie the knots, and then we started up our first wall. Of course, a birthday party of little girls was filling up the easy walls (what a great birthday party!), so our teacher took us to a hard wall. Okay, it was, if you know climbing, a 5.8. That's not HARD, I guess, but it was kick-ass hard for us. I pretty much fell off the first time only a few feet up, surprising both Lala, my belayer, and myself. Then Lala tried and got a little farther than I had.

After a couple more false starts, terrifyingly, our teacher snapped little cards onto our belts that said we were good to climb by ourselves and LEFT US THERE. (This was after she'd reinforced to us several times that if we tied the knot wrong, the climber WOULD DIE. It was no joke.)

We looked at each other. Ack.

We tied those knots and then double-checked them. Then we triple-checked them. Then we thought about running and getting the teacher to check, too, but we managed to stop ourselves.

Then I went up.

And up.

And up.

I kind of just kept climbing. I didn't look down -- I just looked at the next handhold, and felt for the footholds. I know I was doing everything wrong, I'm sure, using my arms too much and my legs not enough, but I was going up.

From below me, I kept hearing Lala say "Wow." Then, "WOW!" And her voice kept getting farther away. And while her excitement was thrilling, finally I yelled down that maybe she shouldn't say Wow so much, since every time she yelled it, my heart froze in fear. But I kept going. I went almost to the top! Lala looked across to the staircase at the side of the gym, and she gauged I went up about three stories. DUDE.

Then I just got too scared. My muscles were fatigued and my hands were shaking. I had to stop. AND OH MY GOD I WAS SO HIGH UP! I was above the clouds! I felt an eagle flap by! Lala was just a tiny little orange mohawked speck, far below me on the earth's floor (okay, on the padded blue gym mat, but whatever).


I am Type A. That was not easy for me. But I did it. I yelled, "Take!" and I let go of the rock wall. I swung in space. I think I screamed, but I'm not sure. Then she lowered me down.

It was amazing. Seriously, it was the best kind of scared I've ever been. 

We're hooked. Totally, completely hooked.

And what goes better with rock-climbing than happy hour at Sea Salt?


Oh, yeah. Five buck well drinks (including a very nice Manhattan) and dollar Miyagi oysters seated IN A BED OF SALT. How happy was I? So happy, I tell you.

Fun weekend.


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Jealous of both your climbing walls and your oysters!

what a fantastic day, congrats!

WOW! I am terrified by rock climbing and read you with mixed fear and envy. I have a light problem of vertigo so I am not attracted by climbing. I love the way you transcribe your experiences. I even felt a little shiver running up my spin. Congratulations, Rachael! You are truly motivating. xoxo


So does this mean that you are ready to audition for American Gladiators now? :-)

You almost have me wanting to climb. Almost.

OMG! My hands were sweating just reading about your adventure! You go girl!

I want to be a tag-along girlfriend #3! Great day.

Climbing is fun, isn't it? I've only done it once, in the Lake District. I was wearing Doc Marten boots (bad), and a couple of climbing friends roped me up. The feeling of all my muscles working together was awesome.

Only problem is I'm scared of heights! :-)

That sounds like an awesome day.

I'm glad your rock climbing adventures turned out to be so much fun!

Oo! How scary!

Climbing is awesome! I used to go once a week. I keep vouching that I'll get going again. Your making my hands itch :)

Whoa, that must have been totally thrilling! What a great accomplishment.

I'm not good with heights (actually I always say I'm not good with widths, because I'm OK up REALLY high if it's in a building or something, but I'm NOT OK 2 feet up on something narrow).

omg I love oysters. Those look like they'd hit the spot after all that climbing.

Eek that sounds fun!

So Vestmannaeyjar will be you next holiday destination then ;-) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_OSlImVi2E

That sounds like a totally fun day! Especially the sweet ending- I would be tempted to skip the hard part and go straight to the drinks, even knowing half the deliciousness is what came before!

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


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