I went to Planet Granite in the Presidio last Sunday to go indoor rock climbing with Cynthia, Clara, and Dan. I’d done some light climbing a few times before, but apart from a short session at the Stanford climbing gym, this was the first time I’d ever done anything serious.
The safety procedures for climbing and belaying aren’t too involved, but I still needed a refresher course, which Dan was happy to provide. He prepared me more than enough for the quick, hands-on safety exam in the gym. $24 later, I was harnessed, tied in, clipped on, and climbing up a wall!
I have to admit, I didn’t enjoy that first route much. I’d learned to tie knots and handle carabiners, but I didn’t really know how to climb, so I had to learn on the job, which wasn’t very fun. On top of that, climbing wasn’t the aerobic or restistance workout I’d hoped for, but my fingers and toes did complain bitterly at the abuse. To top it all off, the height gave me solid dose of vertigo.
I managed, though, and I saw how I could enjoy it, even if I wasn’t actually enjoying it quite yet. I belayed Dan while he climbed, then tried another route. And another. It eventually came together, and before long I was having a great time.
By the end of the day, I’d climbed routes rated from 5.7 up to 5.10a, which I was happy with. I even managed to “send” a few of the 5.9s, ie climb them without falling or weighting the rope. I fell off the 5.10a once, but I climbed back on and made it to the top without falling again.
It was a lot of fun. It never really turned into a workout comparable to running or lifting, and my fingers did turn into claws for a while, but it was worth it. I started to get a feel my center of gravity, and I learned a few interesting moves and techniques, enough to make me look forward to trying again next week. See you on the wall!