Rubber Shoes, Blisters and Adventure

Today’s funny story is all about how one very clumsy and klutzy* girl attempted to learn rock climbing.

And by rock climbing, I mean boudlering. Which is still rock climbing, only with no ropes. You just scale up the wall like a little monkey.

Let me just set the tone of this blog post with a little picture here:

I mean, I know I'm making this look flawless, but dear Lord, this was HARD.

I mean, I know I’m making this look flawless, but dear Lord, this was HARD.

See all those little tiny things on the wall? THOSE ARE WHAT YOU ATTEMPT TO HOLD ALL OF YOUR BODY WEIGHT WITH BY STANDING ON.

How, pray tell, did I decide to take on this really random adventure? Great question.

Well, as every good adventure story begins… there’s this boy I like that rock climbs. Queue laughter. So in my head, I dream up this genius plan of secretly learning how to rock climb and surprising him with being awesome at some later date (maybe for his birthday?). So I bought a groupon. I think I’m going to learn all about ropes. And then I’m going to just scale up the wall. Because how hard can that be? Oh, and random, yet important side note: I have a paralyzing fear of heights.

So I get there, I put on a pair of rubber shoes. And the adventure begins.

First: The lady tells me where to put my hands and feet… and I think “I’m sorry, you think that tiny tiny little piece of fake rock is going to hold THIS? Lady. Come on.”

Next: She tells me to move my right foot to the rock currently holding my left foot. Which, trust me, there’s not room. But there was no need to doubt, she just quickly explained that all I had to do was swing my right foot and as that foot is nearing the one already on the rock you just quickly remove your left and replace with your right. Like magic. Because floating momentarily in the air is eaaaaaaaaaaasy.

After the first little path was completed, I laugh to myself because my arms are shaking, my legs are feeling the burn and my hands are on fire. Which, after looking down at them I realize is because I have peeled off layers of skin. Ah, because as you climb, you’re supposed to use chalk. Got it. So my very nice tiny little trainer lady puts super glue on the blisters (no, I don’t understand it either) wraps my hands, shows me where the chalk is and we move to the next location.

Where we climb up.

Now, nothing in the gym is higher than 15 feet. Because you’re not using ropes. And from the ground, that just doesn’t look very high. And using these tiny tiny little rocks, I manage to climb all the way to the top on this path (see photo). And I’m pretty proud of myself.

Which is about the time I realize that I have to use these tiny little things to climb back down. I get that logically, 15 feet down just isn’t that far, but that paralyzing fear of heights I mentioned, that makes 15 feet down look absolutely unreasonable. So I very carefully make my way down and then laugh at myself when I get to the ground and look back up at the little tiny climb I’d made.

I learned a couple of other routes, I practiced until I could basically not use my arms any more and I left covered in sweat, chalk, blisters on my hands and with every limb shaking.

And here’s what I realized: It was hard. Really hard. Like, I’m never going to be great at this hard. And this whole surprise idea was the worst idea I’ve ever had.

And that’s okay.

Because now I know how to do it. I appreciate the people who do this for fun all the more. And every once and awhile I’ll go and I’ll know what’s happening and I won’t hate that I don’t know what I’m doing. At some point, the blisters will heal (probably) and my arms will quit throbbing (seriously, I didn’t know some of these painful areas of my body existed) and with my one month membership, I’ll go again. Who knows, maybe I’ll magically fall in love with it in the next three weeks? Okay. Fine. You’re right. I totally won’t.

And if you’re wondering, I totally immediately caved and I drove straight to the boys house to show him my blisters and to tell him that although I like him a whole lot… I’m just never going to share the love of his favorite hobby with him. He laughed and then brushed off the chalk covering my face and assured me that I don’t need to be an expert rock climber. Sigh. What a guy.

Oh – and in other outdoorsy irrational Betsy idea news… I bought skis this week. Because I plan to be a skiing fool this year. Which, I hope you all read and thought “well, there’s bound to be a good blog post about THAT.” Because, yes, you’re absolute right. Ski Bunny Betsy… here we come!

Colorado, you sneaky sneaky state, you just continue to grow on me. Who knows, maybe I will fall in love with you yet!

*My spell check is trying to let me know I’ve spelled this word wrong and that I meant to type “slutty.” Thank you auto correct. But no thank you.

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2 thoughts on “Rubber Shoes, Blisters and Adventure

  1. twstblog says:

    Betsy, I LOVE this post!! Totally cracks me up. Thanks for sharing – you are awesome.

    Way to go girl on trying out bouldering!! It IS hard, and it IS scary! May I suggest you try rock climbing with ropes? Here’s why… With ropes, you have someone belaying you (holding the rope, and tightening it as you go up) which not only helps you feel more secure, but if you’re lucky can also give you a little “boost” to reach that next rock. In additon, when you get to the top of your route you get to rappel down!! Which is a totally awesome, way more fun way to get back on solid ground. Plus it gives your extremeties a nice break while you’re at it. See…BONUS. 🙂

    And I can’t tell you how excited I am that you now have skis!!! Not only for the blog posts, but in the hope that you will allow me to come out and visit you and go skiing with you!!!

    Miss you bunches,

    Stacey B xoxo

    • You are my very favorite! COME VISIT ME AND BRING YOUR SKIS. It’ll be great. We can laugh together as I fall down the mountain! And thanks for the tips on rock climbing. You are the best!! 🙂

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