Sunday, July 17, 2011

Nowhere to Hide

Got to the gym and locked eyes with my Lead Climbing 101 teacher who had a bright smile on his face. Are you going to practice lead climbing?

Spokeswoman Patti: Yes.
I practice clipping and it's not so bad seeing that I'm less nervous outside the parameters of class.

I'm on my second route when Leah enters the gym and she asks Jessica and Patti if they're torturing me.

Patti: That's our job.
When I get down from my second practice route, Jessica wants to know if they talked to us about when to clip in and I assure her that they did tell us to clip in between the waist and shoulders although I didn't demonstrate that on the route. She goes on to tell me that it's one thing when you're backed up by a top rope but when you're lead climbing without a back-up system, the falls are, well, not very nice.

Leah: Have you practiced lead belaying today?

Me: No.

Leah: Why don't you practice lead belaying me?
In all honesty, I hadn't see anyone practicing lead belaying in the gym and didn't realize that it was allowed. Don't know why I thought that and, before I can say no...

Leah: There'll be no harm. I'll be on top rope...
So, I practice lead belaying. I'm nervous and put the belay device on wrong. The good thing is that I realize the set-up is wrong.

Jessica points out when I forgot to lock off and Leah reminds me to stand closer to the wall. Likewise, Jessica reminds me that by stepping to the wall, I can instantly give someone slack. Leah also lets me know that if a lead climber falls before the second clip, they're pretty much going to hit the ground.

Did I mention that lead belaying feels awkward?

Later on in the program, Patti asks me if I want to practice lead belaying again.

Me: I think I'm done for the day before I completely squash the idea of lead climbing.

Patti: It's all new -- just like when you first started climbing. You'll get the hang of it...
Other than the practice lead belaying, I actually had a good climbing day. I felt calm and I had stamina.

Route Tally:

  • Baby Steps, 5.7

  • Best Flavor, 5.8

  • Pinkerton, 5.8

  • Buena Vista, 5.9

  • Dig In, 5.9

  • Ghost, 5.9

  • Paranoid Troglodyte, 5.9 (2 x's)


    1. I've thought of something you would love: zipline. Maybe you've already done it.

    2. gingersnapper,

      Haven't done it yet and I think I would lose my lunch in the process if I ever got the nerve to step off of a zip line platform...

    3. Lead belaying sounds really challenging. Good for you on doing it!

    4. @Diane,

      I'm hoping that one day it won't seem so challenging but I'm glad that I'm trying something outside of my comfort zone.