Learning to climb

By | 2008-05-07

To grab or not to grab

Why my hand is full of skin wounds? (No nasty thoughts, please). Because I’m learning to climb.

Some weeks ago I discovered a “climbing gym” near home, a place full of climbing walls. Instantly I decided to join an introductory course: my legs are in shape (thanks to the bike) but my arms and hands are a bit slack, so it could be a perfect exercise for me. The course lasted 3 weeks and the instructor showed us some basic things, like improve our balance, use effectively our arms and legs, and overpass our mind limitations. Because one of the things you discover is that “you CAN do it”… you start to think “no, it’s impossible, I can arrive there” or “I’m already tired, I can’t hold myself any second more”… but such thoughts are just excuses. You try and you success (it’s really easy to say)… well, sometimes. We also tried some interesting exercises: try to climb around with your eyes closed (so you use the nearer holds instead the bigger ones), or use just one arm to climb (“impossible” until you realize that it’s not so difficult).

The course finished and now I’m alone, starting to climb those walls, full of grips (or holds). There are predefined routes: a path of one colour grips, with a beginning grip and an ending one (that you should touch with both hands to mark your start and finish). A route contains from 10 to 60 holds, and normally you use all of them. But, at the moment, I can’t even finish the easiest route (I almost finished it today). Anyway you can lower the level using grips of other colours (cheating). Or you can do a block: a vertical route, from 4 to 10 grips, just made to practise your muscles.

See you on the top!

Update: A week later, I finished my first route successfully. Two weeks later, I’m able to complete 2 routes in the same day… but I’m still feeling like a duck trying to climb!