Throwing Light On (Rock Climbing)

An alarm clock set to 5am is like a door out into the arctic tundra: annoying, bitter, and cold. But then again, setting out to see the world is always worth it for me. And if what I’m seeing is just a cliff, then so be it. Delightful either way.

I found myself climbing up a rock face two hours later. Little did I know how awesome it would be. It’s terribly fun and tiring to reach the top of a climb. You’re sweating (probably), panting, struggling to get up, but when you slap your hand down at the end of the rig, it’s a euphoric sense of pride.

Of course, I’m not as great as a bunch of others I know, but seeing the view from the tip of a cliff can really get your mind going. I did that. Sometimes I get stuck, it happens. But if I do make it up one more step, that’s progress.

That’s what rock climbing is all about: taking steps up to the reach the top. At every crack, you have to think to yourself, “is this a good foothold? What about this tiny little bulge right here?” More after the break.

If you’re curious as to how it works, we generally work in groups of three. A climber, a belayer, and a back-up belayer. The climber is the one who strives to work their way up to the peak. The belayer and back-up belayer make sure that if the climber falls, they have something to keep them alive.

Each team uses a rope that’s connected to harnesses strapped to every person. The rope is looped around at the top of the climb (most likely to a carabiner) and is directly attached to the climber. The belayer is there to keep the rope tight. They’re a safety net for the brave soul that wants to climb. The back-up belayer is extra weight to make sure the belayer doesn’t go flying up if the climber falls down.

And so, last Saturday I went rock climbing. I went with a couple of friends and others I didn’t know too well. All in all, it was a pleasure.