March 24, 2007
As a good addition to twice-a-day practice, the women’s rowing team decided to have a rock climbing outing. Located in Bartels Hall, the Lindseth Climbing Wall is the largest natural rock wall in North America, right here on campus.
When I got to the wall, the group of 15 of us were met by four rock climbers. My instructor was a 13-year-old girl named Emily who has been climbing for eight years (this means she was 5 when she started. I was fingerpainting when I was 5…) We all got outfitted with climbing shoes, which fit very tightly, a neon-colored helmet, and a belaying harness strapping thing…This was a doozy to put on. there are straps that go around your thighs, which are attached to a larger cushioned strap that wraps around the waist. Cut to chaffing and short SHORT shorts.
Our first task was to attempt to climb on the lower parts of the wall without a rope, I think this is called bouldering. After a few good runs, it was time to tackle the wall beyond the yellow bouldering line. This would require both the climber and belayer to have the rope attached to their harnesses. The climber ascends, and the belayer controls the rope so that the climber doesn’t fall far should that happen. And…up we go.
So on the first climb, the first 15 feet went pretty smoothly, and then my acrophobia kicked in MAJORLY. Sweaty palms, hyperventilation, heart pounding out of my chest. Things didn’t really help knowing that I had a 13-year-old supporting my weight at the other end of the rope. So I was about 5-feet from the ceiling when I had to come down. Whammy. And then I discovered the chalk bag. Instead of slippery palms and fingers, this chalk dried out my sweat, enabling me to grab hold of “outies” and “innies” better. In order to make up for this lack-luster run, I went for two more, ceiling it both times.
Diana, another coxswain on the team, and I have sworn to get belay-certified sometime next week, so we can continue our climbing endeavors. This was way too much fun.