Adventure-ing: 1st Week Of Rock Climbing

Doing things that scare me is part of my overall “personal growth”. The reason for this is two-fold.

  1. It makes me feel alive
  2. My initial reaction is to say no to most things (unless it’s a favor and then I am the eternal yes-man and sometimes I hate that) and I don’t want to live my life being afraid.

So I ended 2011 with a vow to do more things that thrilled me, to challenge myself further, to push harder and try more new things. The other thing that happened was Thanksgiving. This year at Thanksgiving the theme was: Tell Lauren and Kamel what’s best for them. It was… great.

One of my parents’ family friends works at REI and is an avid outdoors-y, adventure-y, more-athletic-than-I-will-ever-be-y person. Who rock climbs. And I said not jokingly that I could never do that, rock climbing wasn’t for me, heights and I don’t get along, no no no… no. He continued to say, yes you can, it’s awesome, sure you can, you’ll love it, anyone can, it’s not so hard, rock climbing is a must.

This annoyed me two-fold.

  1. I can do other things besides rock climb
  2. I really am afraid of heights, have tried rock climbing as a young teen and often had to be talked off the wall, and have zero desire to do it.

This is a face of fear. That is also a nametag which means Kamel and I promptly signed up for a month of rock climbing classes. Why? Because that stupid family friend planted a seed. A seed of, “Wow I am afraid of that. Maybe you should give it a go, Lauren. It is kind of bad ass. Rock climbing gyms are like giant playgrounds for grownups. What if you also get amazing arms out of the deal? C’mon… you can do it. Think of the thrill. What if it’s not so bad now that you’re more of a grown up?”


Here’s the thing I quickly figured out while waiting for my turn on the rock wall: Saying you’re going to do things that scare you and be all awesome and adventure-ing and stuff is SO MUCH EASIER SAID THAN DONE. Cuz guess what? When it comes down to it – you are SCARED. Like actually scared. It’s not like, “Oh, I thought I would be scared doing things-I-am-scared-of, but it turns out I’m not!” No. It’s, “Wow, I am afraid and this feeling kind of sucks balls, but I better buck up and do it anyway because we prepaid for these classes and I don’t want to cry in front of strangers.”

Rock climbing is also really hard. You have to learn all of these knots, and names for things, and call and responses, and there is a TEST you have to take! None of this is sounding appealing is it? I’m not converting any of you am I?

But guess what? I got to climb a wall while Kamel held me on a rope, and even though I I only got about half way up (the shortest climb of any of my classmates), and was really afraid, I didn’t get stuck or have to be talked down, I swung away from the wall hanging only by my harness and I learned how to tie some pretty slick knots.

Plus, ya know, I got to hoist other people up onto the wall, where it was pretty much me and only me keeping them from falling.

Check out how my ass is totally anchoring the other person on the wall right there you guys. That is a mighty fine anchor. Ba-bam.

AND! I got to watch Kamel scramble all the way up to the top of the wall like a freaking monkey. It was impressive. He totally rocked my socks. And I rocked my socks too.

And guess what else? We’re totally hitting the rock gym to take our test and practice our sweet rock-climbing moves on Sunday. And then we have another class on Wednesday that deals with technique and “bouldering.” Stay tuned for updates.

13 thoughts on “Adventure-ing: 1st Week Of Rock Climbing”

  1. The next place I live will either have a) a rock gym, b) a place where nice people who can lead climb are at all the time and will let us use their rope, or c) a giant shop where I will proceed to buy ALL THE HOLDS and make Forrest belay me.

  2. Way to conquer your fears! Hopefully bouldering will hold less terror for you. It’s more like being on the playground than wall climbing. Lower! and if you fall you land on a nice pillow!

  3. Go Lauren! Rock climbing is one of those things I’ve always wanted to do, but been a bit too scared to try. You may have just motivated me to go for it!

  4. Aaahhhh im so proud of you!!!!! And even more proud that you are going BACK!! Amazing! Way to conquer your fear and rock that ish (no pun intended!). Once you guys get the hang of it and are all professional and stuff, you have to take us! Chad will even bring his fancy shoes and chalk bag đŸ˜‰ Lol.

  5. Oooh, yeah. I am TERRIFIED of heights, but a few years ago, Lindi (who is an avid rock climber) took me for my birthday, and EVEN THOUGH there was one moment when I was two feet from the top of the eighty-freaking-foot-wall and I really thought I couldn’t go those last two feet, I still had a lot of fun. It was totally worth it, even though I was scared, so I understand. Good for you! đŸ™‚

  6. I’m very proud of you both! But please don’t plan on a real rock climbing expedition… my stomach hurts just thinking about it.

  7. That’s so cool Lauren, I am really happy you gave climbing a go! I was totally freaked out when I first tried it, but spent a year or so climbing consistently in a gym in Seattle at the end of undergrad there, and loved it. Sadly since moving south I have not picked it up again…I am really glad you tried it and looks like you’re having fun!! keep sharing all your adventures…I love reading about them.

  8. Great that you tried! Climbing is just like anything else in life: pondering the risks and making sure you’re safely linked to the rope. And it’s way better when you’re doing it outside! Check out if your club is having some outings in spring, it’s really different and much more motivating! But wait till you’re sufficiently trained to go out on your own.

    My partner and my sister are very much into rock climbing so we’re going out very often when the weather is fine.
    I’m so afraid of the heights that anytime we go climbing, I only hoist other people and enjoy the view and fresh air and that’s fine.
    And I agree with Erin on bouldering: that’s super cool and fun and even I can do it since you don’t have to go very high!

  9. Good for you Lauren! I’m not affraid of heights, but I am affraid of ladders…so rock climbing doesn’t sound the tiniest but appealing to me, but the fact that you faced that fear and are slowly conquering it is awesome!!!

    Side note – Challenging yourself to do something outside of your comfort zone is so rewarding mentally, if not physically. At the end of December I decided I wanted to start lifting weights, which was completely outside of my comfort zone. Now, I look forward to waking up at 4:00am on Tuesdays and Thursdays to go to the gym and lift heavy things. I even noticed some muscles starting to show! Who knows – maybe you’ll be a rock climbing enthusiast come this summer!

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