They call that a chimney climb...you press your back against the rock behind you and put your feet on the rock wall in front of you and then climb up the wall. You can also drop your foot behind you against the rear wall and push yourself up that way - they call that a scissor kick. This looked so intimidating to me at first but once I got inside of it, it was so much fun...that is until I got to the top and saw a boulder jammed in there to my right, and realized I was in a scene from 27 Hours. "I have no idea how James Franco did this!" I yelled. "These hand holds are not as big as they are at the gym!" Everyone laughed. I figured if I distracted them with humor no one would pay attention to my struggling up the wall. But I reached the top and was lowered back down. Such a rush. I can't wait to get back out and do it again!
Climbing at indoor gyms definitely helps you prepare for climbing outside, but climbing outside is completely different than climbing at a rock gym. When you are outside, no one has marked the route for you...there is no colorful tape to follow...there aren't any holds to grab onto, just random ledges of granite sticking out of the rock. You have to think for yourself more because a path isn't laid out for you and you really have to trust your instincts and your climbing partner when you are that high off the ground.
Climbing inside taught me which way to shift my weight, it taught me to use my legs and not my arms as much, it helped teach me how to move on a wall. I was able to apply all of those techniques outside. But climbing the face of a giant piece of granite is definitely different. It suddenly becomes much more mentally challenging because your room for error drops considerably. Sure, you are tied into a harness and you'll be safe if you fall, but no one wants to slip off a rock. It suddenly becomes you versus the rock. Totally amazing and awesome all the way around. I think about climbers from decades ago, who did it without any fancy equipment or fancy grippy climbing shoes. I would have loved to meet them. It reminds me that if they could do it with just a rope, and mountaineering boots, then I can sure as heck do it with our modern climbing gear.
It was so much fun to get outside and challenge myself. That saying: "whether you think you can, or you think you can't...you're right" came into my mind when I was staring at one of the rocks. I think I can I think I can, I can. I can. I can do this. And I did it.
Best feeling ever. Even though my legs were completely shaking by the end :)
I see lots of rocks in my future :) PS - If you are in San Diego, and want to go climbing, check out The Southern Terrain . The guides/instructors are so knowledgeable, awesome to work with and have YEARS of experience! I definitely recommend them if you want to try it out!
Are there any sports or activities you've been wanting to try? What's stopping you?