Bouldering Away

on November 8, 2010 in Misc

I thought bouldering was going to be easy.

Obviously, I was delusional.

In case you’ve never heard of the sport, bouldering  means climbing without equipment and using only your hands, feet, and whatever necessary body parts.  It’s the kind of skill any action hero should have.  Layla, of course, can climb like a freaking spider.

Wall-climbing places are set up for both technical climbing and bouldering.  Having already learned how to climb with a harness, ropes, and other handy-dandy hardware, I figured that simply climbing sideways sans any equipment would be a piece of cake.  It would just be a matter of sucking up to your typical bumpy, pockmarked climbing wall and inching sideways.  You’re only two or three feet off the ground, unless you want to try climbing up under the overhanging wall/cliff, but that’s it.  Piece of cake.

Oh God I was so wrong.

Forty-five minutes after walking into the place, my bare hands were raw, I had trouble lifting my exhausted arms, and I still hadn’t managed to climb sideways along the full length of any wall.

Now in my defense I climbed UP a couple walls a few times (and pretty much got over my fear of climbing high without a rope).  Also, I’m convinced that those knobs and edges and rocky pimples are placed in such a way that it’s easier to go up than sideways. 

What also made me feel a better was watching the guys boulder around me.  They were all young, muscular and experienced.  Yet they only got halfway across any wall before dropping off.

You know why I had such high expectations of myself?

Because I saw a young woman bouldering with such ease that I figured (nitwit that I am) OF COURSE I can do that too.  After all, she was kind of short, wasn’t very muscular, and almost average in build.

I now realize she was a human suction cup.

I saw her a few weeks ago when I first learned to climb with ropes in that same place.  She was splayed like a flattened frog up against the wall and moving slowly along like she was trying to unglue herself from it.  I’d never before seen indoor bouldering so my first impression was – oh, that looks fun and easy.

Sure it is.  If you’ve got Spiderman’s super sticky powers.

One reassuring point is that this young WOMAN could climb with a fantastic skill – better, in fact, than any guy I’ve seen in that place. 

So maybe there’s some hope for me.  But it really would help if I developed those super sticky powers first.

4 Responses to “Bouldering Away”

  1. Hart says:

    “I now realize she was a human suction cup.”

    *falls over* Oh, this was beautiful. I have no illusions about where my weight is distributed and the unfair disadgantage my BUTTS give me. You heard me. Multiple. No single butt would amass this volume. I have never TRIED to climb, so I am impressed as hell that you can go UP.

  2. Helena says:

    Hart — Don’t think of your butts’ (plural) as having volume, think of them as GENEROUS! They’re expansive with generosity. And my sympathy about weight distribution. Pretty much all my life I’ve wanted to move what’s below and behind me to in front and above. Never happened.

  3. Ben says:

    Rock climbing is soooo tiring!!! It’s so incredibly fun, though. I wish there were things to do here around college… I would love to do some rock climbing.

  4. Helena says:

    Ben – Well, you could climb the walls of your campus buildings, but I doubt that it’s legal and it’d be super tough.