Climbing: Facing my Fear

If you have ever written anything at all; a poem, an essay, a short story...heck even your "about me," then you will know how much it sucks when you get hit with the deadly writer's block. You know, when you've literally got nothing in your brain and you kind of just hang out like stagnant water... 

Well, today I'm not going to be talking about English. Today, I will be talking about my "Climber's block." Though there is no such word (because I just invented it), "Climber's block" is when you're gaining some super climbing skills, but then sort of hit a ceiling and plateau...allow me to explain.


Ever since I was a kid, I had a fear of falling...actually I had a lot of fears but that's not the point. I had a fear of falling, but I also had the contradictory dream of some day scaling a mountain. I told myself that I could do it so I eventually dragged my butt to the rock climbing gym and learned to rock climb! There, some other climber's took me under their wing and taught me some great things like getting good at climbing on top rope. Top roping is the sort of climbing you probably did when you were 9 and had a birthday party. It's okay, I did that too (and still do). 

So, this is top rope climbing. 


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Basically, I was the "climber" in the photo so if I did fall, and you bet I did, I didn't fall far at all. But even on top rope, I felt that jaw clenching fear. Most of you probably think that falling a foot or two isn't a big deal, but I would cling on to that rock like it's the only thing that could save my dear life, yelling for my "belayer" to take in all the slack in the rope so I would have minimal drop.

And so, for past the 2 years that I've been climbing, it's been like that. I've hit the 'ceiling of fear' which never fully subsided and in many cases, engulfed me completely. My mind is a jerk to me like that. It stopped me from doing anything hard and essentially stopped me from progressing. Whenever I would improve my skills, I could only go so far until I hit that ceiling, even though I knew that rationally I would be safe. 

So last night, I decided to go climbing with some friends. They tried to familiarize me with "lead climbing", the kind where falling is almost inevitable, so that I could get some practice. 
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Lead climbing is different in that every time you move up, you have to clip your rope in. If you climb above that clip, you have to get high enough to clip into the next one. If you fall in between clips, then you better believe you'll be having a nice little free falling action. Yesterday, I was that lead climber, and I learned how to fall. More precisely, I learned how to let go of the rock and let go of that fear. It wasn't easy, but eventually I told myself that it would be just like floating...and that I would be alive, well, and kicking. 

I was able to get it on camera so I hope you all enjoy! With a few more practices in...I know I'll be able to overcome this fear, probably not entirely, but enough to crack that ceiling and move on. :-) That whole "scaling the mountain" thing, definitely will happen!



2 comments:

  1. I totally remember that fear you're talking about! I learnt how to take the lead but it always scared me... I much preferred top rope climbing (I didn't know the name before!) and I was always asking my belayer to keep it tight! :p

    By the way, you look like a real pro on that wall! Waaay better than I ever did! ;o)

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  2. Oh my gosh, I've always wanted to go climbing, but I didn't realize that there was so much involved! You're so brave! I'm the girl who still can't get five feet off the floor because I'm scared of height. But who knows, maybe this will force me to conquer that fear. Either way, I commend you for pushing forward and challenging yourself!

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