I am stressing out about the climbing deadline that’s looming. Climbing outdoors, 5,000 miles away from home… I took off to the rock wall gym and having learned the hard way, warmed up and stretched first before getting on the wall. I was top roping on a 5.6 level which is the easiest level. That was fun! I’d just grab and step on all the holds and trek on up to the top. Fun! Unfortunately, I have to climb more than several grades harder to even think about going outdoors to climb.
I know that I’m doing it all wrong, I can feel it (and others telling me so is also a clue) and it’s making me panic! I MUST become a competent rock climber. I want it so badly!!! I decided that it’s time to get professional help. A couple of weeks ago while at the climbing gym I witnessed a women who obviously knew her stuff (she also had COACH emblazoned on her shirt) teaching a couple of teenaged girls how to boulder. I liked her manner and stayed until she was done teaching her lesson to ask her if she could possilbly help me. When I told her that I was an absolute beginner and that I wanted to be climbing outdoors in just a few months I braced myself for reaction of shock and disbelief. To her credit she just smiled and said it was indeed, possible. I can’t tell you the wave of relief and excitement that went through me. I trusted her and she had full confidence that I could actually become a real live rock climber.
I nervously met with my new coach, Emily, last week. She asked me some questions; did I have siblings, what was my favorite meal, was I better at math or English in school… She uses all this in fine tuning her teaching approach with each of her students. Brilliant! First she had me climb an easy wall just to see what good/bad techniques I was already using and then she steered me to an advanced wall with an overhang. I just stood there and stared incredulously. Really? I gracefully freaked out at that point. At her urging I approached the wall and did something to start elevating myself. I think I kind of blacked out at this point because the next thing I remember I was at the beginning of the overhang and the nice gentleman climbing next to me was telling me to breathe. Details, details…
After insisting that Emily lower me down I asked her what the point was of the public humiliation? She said that she wanted to see how I handled a challenging situation. Nailed it! So then we went to the beginners section which is usually swarming with kids but as it was late for a weeknight we had the place to ourselves. She broke the lessons down into the same curriculum she delivers to her five year old students which is exactly what I needed! She gave me drills to do on the kiddie walls over and over and over as my homework so I can build on efficient, solid techniques. Emily is wonderful. I’m squeezing in three climbing practice sessions this week before I see her next so I will hopefully make her proud.