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I climbed a rock.

Posted Jul 19 2012 1:26am

Tuesday’s Workout Wanda: A complete rest day, for no reason other than “I didn’t fee like running”.
Wednesday’s Workout Wanda: About 2 hours of rock climbing…then I slept thru run group. Oops.

First…got check out my guest post at Oatmeal After Spinning . I met Lauren at the BLEND Retreat in May and have been doing whatever I can to fuel her fiery love for Colorado. She is currently out here climbing mountains and what not for her and Greg’s 1st anniversary. When she asked me to write a guest post I knew my topic right away…Colorado. For a few reasons to move to Colorado check it out , or just go gaze at the photos.

A while back I got an email from Apex Ex – we did our avalanche training with them – about a free rock climbing session. Free? Rock climbing? Sure, why not?! The only catch was that there would be a film crew there to tape it all for a promo. Okay, no big deal. Hopefully I don’t fall to the ground. But, if I do there will at least be documentation.

I signed Chris and I up for it…than did what I could to talk Chris into it. My success rate of guilting Chris into hanging out with me got dinged – he got to sleep in while I scaled rocks. Granted, he did work until 1am and I left the house before 6am, so I guess its justified. Someone has to earn us a living…

I have ever rock climbed, especially not outside. Technically I did climb a rock wall in college for one class, but that is all. I’ve heard a lot about it out here but didn’t want to throw money at a new hobby, especially if I had to pay for a training/class/gym just to see if I liked it. But for free…I’ll do a lot for free.

Then the day before the climb I got another email stating that it would be taped live for a morning news show. Uh, what? I considered backing out. I scrounged around for excuses but couldn’t think of one good enough to give up on free rock climbing. I just wouldn’t talk around the cameras and try to act normal-ish. So this morning I got up, put on some mascara and headed to Golden.

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…walking from my car to Car Crash Crag for the climb, looking out over Golden…

Of course I got lost looking for the pull off on Lookout Mountain Road – technically I overshot my destination, not exactly a challenge when your destination is unmarked pull offs on a curvy mountain road! Eventually I figured out where I was supposed to be and signed away my life on a waiver. Apex provided all the gear so I just showed up in running clothes with water and a jacket. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

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There were 12 climbers total – four of which had been climbing quite a few times in the past. Two {+me} of which had never climbed before. The rest had limited experience. We all pulled on shoes, strapped on helmets and cinched up our harnesses. The newbies hung out together and made their way to the base of a 60-ish foot rock face.

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…climbing down to the base of the rock face…

They showed us how to tie the Figure 8 knot and explained the belaying process to us. Then the climbing began. I was the first to try out tying myself in with the knot and since I was already tied in I was the first to shimmy up the rock. This made me nervous…my first impression to a group of strangers involved testing out a skill I wasn’t sure I had.

My first climb was up a crack in the rock. In the beginning I wasn’t sure what to do. I kept wanting to pull myself up on the rope, but with a few crack holding tips I was on my merry way. Craig {an instructor} told me I just needed to get myself a few feet off the ground. Then I got started. Forget a few feet, I was going to the top! Once I got over my fear of making a fool of myself it really wasn’t that difficult.

That is kind of a lie. It wasn’t easy, but I wasn’t seriously struggling. It felt kind of natural. Sure, I struggled to find foot holds and my fingers didn’t exactly like some of the teeny tiny lips there were clinging to but I truly enjoyed it. I liked the challenge!

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…a climber headed up the crack climb + film crew…

My second climb wasn’t quite so easy. It was up a flatter rock face without any cracks or crevices. What looked to be a nice area of holds in the very beginning proved to be a bit more difficult. After multiple attempts at it and repeatedly falling back I gave up…for the time being.

While the other’s climbed those of us on the ground learned to belay. I belayed for a girl who finally made it over the rough part of the climb, then I decided to give it another go. This time I fought my way over the difficult part and worked my way to the top.

A camera man from the film crew had rappelled in from above and was hanging out with his big camera, but not recording. He was waiting for Ryan from Apex to drop down and start talking. It was taking forever and we were told to keep climbing so up I went.

About the time I got right next to the camera man Ryan dropped down. Great. I was at the most difficult part of the climb {well, second, the bottom was really hard!} and there was a camera about to go live. I tried to act natural. It kind of worked. Until I pulled myself up over the top and was created by the interviewer.

So I got my three minutes of fame… live on a the local morning show . I considered not telling anyone because I feel kind of dorky and attention whore-ish, but then I realized this is the only proof I have of my rock climbing. And it is kind of cool. So enjoy, but do not laugh too hard…and yes, I was chopping on gum.

…you have to click the link , I’m not smart enough to embed the video…
…I’m the chick hamming it up in the blue/white striped top…

My third climb was probably the longest but by now I had gotten the hang of things and was feeling pretty confident. Honestly, as soon as you learn to trust the gear everything is so much less stressful! I figured out how to really use the sticky rubber on the shoes and I wasn’t afraid to fall off the rock – I had a belayer to keep me alive. I didn’t intentionally fall, but that fear didn’t keep me from trying for more difficult holds.

By the end of the day I climbed up the rock face five times. After my second successful climb I figured out how to use the shoes – you don’t really need a visible foot hold, just scooting up the rock with those fancy climbing shoes works. It feels kind of like being Spiderman, but far less graceful and a lot slower!

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…not me, but I did climb that area…

I am so glad I went. I was really hesitant to go on my own. I wanted someone to go with me, someone to talk to if everyone else was mean and unfriendly. Which is a completely ridiculous fear. I am yet to meet a group of people in a “let’s get outside and try new stuff” setting that have been mean or evil or anything less than accepting and friendly! And this was no exception – everyone was nice, chatty and I felt completely comfortable the entire time. On top of that, I love the staff of Apex , they are amazing!

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…the rock face we climbed with a few Apex guys below…

I had an amazing morning. I did not realize I’d find rock climbing so much fun. It’s a slower paced activity with its own set of challenges, like the yoga of mountain biking. I hate yoga. I was secretly hoping I’d hate rock climbing. I don’t. Instead I’ve found myself a new hobby to add to my list of things to spend money on. Crap.

Of course getting into legit outdoor rock climbing requires a little more knowledge of tying knots and securing your ropes. So, for my safety and the sanity of my mother, I’ll stick with indoor rock climbing or tagging along with people who know their stuff. Yeah, you should have heard just how excited my mom was to know I found another way to put my life in danger on a mountain side!

{For the record, Apex simply offered up this free climbing to their entire mailing list, I just happened to snag up a spot. I was given nothing extra in return for professing my love for the company and its crew. Being a fancy pants blogger got me no benefits here…except for the confidents to go on my own, if only for blog content! Don’t lie, we all do that occasionally!}


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