I’m going to brag and show off a bit in this post, so please excuse the narcissism! I was extremely pleased to return to sport climbing this past weekend with a trip to Holcomb Valley in Big Bear, CA. This was my first time sport climbing outdoors since my first surgery (November 2013).
Sport Climbing, in a nutshell, is type of climbing that involves climbing up a rock face with a rope attached to your harness for protection. As you climb, you attach your rope to bolt hangers that have been pre-bolted into the wall. You attach your rope to these bolt hangers using quick-draws (two carabiners attached together with a sling). This is called lead climbing, because you clip your protection in as you go. When someone has lead the route before you, and your protection is already at the top of the route, that is called top-roping.
I spent the early part of the day top-roping. I did not yet feel confident to lead. I felt nervous on the wall. I felt exposed. I could feel my heart pounding and clicking away. I thought about my surgeries. I thought about how difficult my recovery has been. I thought about all the challenges, and how I deserve to be on this rock, right now.
After top roping several climbs, we moved to a new crag to a climb that I was familiar with called ‘Powder Keg” (oh yeah, every route is named by the first person to ascend it). I’ve climbed it before. It isn’t too hard (difficulty: 10a), but it has an impressive move out of a big roof. I remember climbing this when I was a beginner climber, so it felt appropriate to lead it now.
I climbed Powder Keg flawlessly. My training in the gym, my patience after each surgery, my frustrations, anger, sadness, optimism, everything; summed up in one action. I felt emotional as ascended the top portion. I enjoyed it like a delicious beer, savoring every moment. Sorry, I had to get those scar shots in 🙂
What a kick off to this year’s climbing season! Next week we will be bouldering in Bishop. I can’t wait to crush. This weekend I’ll be cycling in the Levi’s Granfondo ride. I orginally signed up for the 100 miler, but I downgraded to the 65 mile ‘medio’ ride. Between work, school, coaching, and climbing, I haven’t had time to train for it. No worries, we’ll still have fun (and suffer a bit). Thanks for reading!