But, I’m getting ahead of myself, you probably want the whole story.
Yesterday I headed out with Sarah to Toronto, to meet up with Tara who I met while doing Run For Your Lives, to go to Joe Rockhead’s indoor climbing centre. Tara brought a couple of friends too, Darrell and Onika. I have not been out rock climbing for ages! Twenty years at least have gone by since the last time, and I have never been to an artificial climbing centre. You might be thinking that rock climbing outside is a pretty technical thing for a thirteen year old to do. You’d be right, if there was any safety involved.
When I was nine our family moved to Buckhorn, Ontario. We built our own house, and since we were constructing a log house and huge logs were moving about my dad would regularly shoo me away (or I would leave because I was bored) and I would go exploring in the woods. In the woods, or at the side of the road or whatever I’d find all sorts of huge rock faces to climb. I had no safety, my parents didn’t even know where I exactly was. When I started climbing it was either climb to the top, be able to get down, or fall to my death (or serious injury). Luckily I never fell, but I did get a few slivers of rock stuck in my hands.
So, on to yesterday. The first part of our day was a lesson, how to do the harness, how to tie a figure eight and keeper knot, how to belay. Once that was out of the way we were free to climb. The lesson was pretty fun though too. The first climb was a little tricky, I only got up maybe where my feet were twelve feet off the ground or so, and then I wanted to come down. To you have to let go of the wall, trust the harness and your partner will keep you from falling and then lower you down. Once that initial fear or letting go was over with though, I was ready to go! and my next climb hard me touching the roof of the building and looking out a windows to the cityscape.
Rock climbs are rated from 5.0 up to 5.10, then 5-10, 5+10, –11 +11 –12 +12. The hardest I tried was a 5.9. In the lesson room the hardest wall is a 5.7 and both Sarah and I made it to the top of that. I believe Tara did too.
On the way down
We moved out to the larger room and took on a few of the walls out there. The ceiling was much higher out here and so when you were at the top it was a little trippy to look down at your partner to give out your instructions. I made it to the top of two or three walls our there one of which had a lean outward on the wall the whole way up! Sarah climbed all the same walls I tried and made it to the top of all the same ones too I think! It was pretty awesome.
This was the hardest wall we made it to the top of
Sarah made it too!
I moved to a wall that was straight for a bit and then angled out. By this time we had been climbing for about four hours! One this wall is the first time I could not hold on! I was trying to reach for a particular hold and just could not make it. The great part was that by this time I totally trusted the rope, and since the wall had an angle to it I swung out and away from where I was climbing. Which meant I also swung back. I grabbed on again and a got myself attached to the wall with my hands and tried to make it to the grip again. Nope. I did that a few times, but only once made it past that point and I think only one grip higher.
From there we went to the bouldering cave witch is just where you are only a few feet off the ground really, but you are trying to go more side to side rather than up. At the end of the day it is pretty hard to do. your fingers, hands and forearms are all pretty sore. I managed to do a couple of the routes they mark off on the cave, and did a few just random climbs. Sarah and Tara were pretty awesome here too!
All in all it was a super fun day and I can’t wait to go and try it again. It was also way cheaper than I thought it would be since $35 was all it cost for a day pass, gear rental and the lesson!
This morning my arms are still a bit sore, more like tingly I guess. You really use a lot of grip strength and forearm strength to do all that climbing!