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.
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).
AND I HAD TO LET GO AND TRUST THAT SHE HAD ME.
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.