Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Major Rock Climbing Achievement

Several weeks ago, my friend Dave and I made a quick trip up to Logan to do some climbing.
Dave is a very good climber, and he almost always lead climbs our routes first so I can climb them on top-rope.  I'm an ok climber, but I get really scared whenever I try to lead.  It just freaks me out to get above a bolt and know that if I fall, I will fall for several feet before the rope catches me.  Have I mentioned that I have a fear of falling?
For whatever reason, on this particular day, Dave was struggling on the wall.  Everyone has the occasional off day.  After spending a lot of time on a particular route, he needed a break, so I let him down.  He had made it about half-way up the wall.  This one was a longer climb than we usually do.
Somehow he convinced me to attempt to finish the climb, which meant that I would have to lead the last half.
The climb was rated a 5-10a.  The hardest climb I had previously attempted to lead (unsuccessfully) was a 5-9.
I quickly got up to the point where Dave had left off.  From there, things got considerably more scary.
It took me a long time to get the courage to try for the next bolt.  Eventually I went for it, and made it.
The following bolt seemed nearly impossible.  I tried to go for it and fell.  It was scary.  After falling I was even more nervous, but at least I knew that if I fell again I wasn't going to die.  Dave was watching me closely, and made sure I was safe.  I think I tried another time or two, before changing my strategy and taking a totally different path.  I had to drag myself over a sticker bush, but at least I got to a place where I could clip the next bolt.
I don't even remember how many bolts I had to clip; maybe four or five, but each time I would try for a bolt, I wouldn't like the direct path, so I would find a less direct way that was easier.
After passing the very last bolt, it seemed impossible to make it to the chains.  I just didn't have anything to hold on to.  Finally I had to go all the way out and around the edge of the face, where there was a place with large holds.  After that I easily got high enough, and just had to deal with a slightly awkward reach for the chains.  I had to cheat a little bit, but at least I finished the climb, and we didn't have to leave any gear behind.
I'm not sure if I'm cut out for this lead-climbing business, but it did feel good to finish this one.

1 comment:

Nikki said...

That's awesome. I commend both you and Dave for even climbing. You couldn't pay me enough. :) Glad you made it out alive.