I booked a beginner’s class at Climber’s Rock, in Burlington, a few weeks ago, and eagerly waited for the day. I was with four other people in the class, and Tom took photos. The class was over 90 minutes long, with at least half of it spent learning the harness, knots, and belaying. Once the harness was on, I immediately felt safer. It’s a pretty snug fit, and is a little strange at first, but I quickly got used to it.
I didn’t have any problems tying the knots, as my brother had taught me all the fishing knots when I was a girl. These seemed simple in comparison. We all had to tie them three times before we could move on. When it came to tying the knots again before climbing though, it took on a whole new meaning; these knots held my life. If they weren’t tied properly, I would likely end up in trouble. Obviously, the instructor checked our knots, at least at first, and we were encouraged to check each others knots.
I found belaying more difficult. The action is a bit like ringing church bells, and didn’t feel very comfortable. Ah, well, it will get better with practice. At the end of the climb, when you are letting someone down, your hands are turned around and you have the whole weight of the climber pulling on you. You slowly release the rope allowing the climber to descend.
Okay, enough small talk, let’s get to the climbing. We all started on a beginner’s rock, which is 5.5. It’s straight up and down.
It was over very quickly. Once you touch the top, you lean back and walk down the wall while the other person lets you down. I thought it would be scary leaning back some 40 or 50 feet in the air, but, no, I was fine.
We took it in turns belaying for each other and climbing. On our second climb, we were given the choice of a harder climb. There was a 5.6 and a 5.8 climb. The two women I was with chose the harder 5.8 climb, and really, once they’d completed it, I had to have a go too.
This was pretty challenging for all of us. You sometimes had to twist or really stretch to get a hand hold. I was out of breath once I reached the top. At this point, the class was over, but we could carry on climbing if we wanted. As I didn’t have a partner to belay for me, we came home. Probably a good idea, as I’m starting to feel a couple of muscles complaining.
This was such a fun day for me. I would go back any chance I have. It proved to me that I can still take on new
challenges, and I can still feel like a kid in a candy store. This was a difficult week for a couple of reasons, and this was a great escape. Living with Becky, and her limitations, makes it seem more important to go out and enjoy life when I can. I plan on ending the day with a Moroccan barbeque and a glass of wine. Now, that’s living!