Tyson Goes Climbing

Okay okay, so this weeks story isn’t really about going outside, but it’s still a physical activity so that probably counts for something. 

Work has been very slow for me lately and as a result I have had a lot of time off. I decided that since I wasn’t working, I might as well do something productive with my time. There are a lot of things in my life I should probably improve. Instead of working on my writing, I decided to start doing more physical activities. I really want to get into shape, but I dont care for the gym, mostly because I have no idea what I’m doing when I go there. So I started swimming every morning and sometimes I would go for a second time in the evening. Then, some friends invited me to try rock climbing. I have a bad fear of heights so I figured maybe I could get some exercise and conquer a fear at the same time. It turns out that the climbing I was going to do is actually called “bouldering” you dont use a harness or safety ropes, but you also dont go much more than about eight feet off the ground, which is still plenty high for a guy like me.

Jason and I arrived at the indoor climbing… center?… wall? place? We arrived at the climbing place, it was indoors and man made. It was my first time there so I had to fill out a waiver and create a profile. I firmly believe that any activity that requires you to fill out a waiver first is automatically a little bit higher on the fun scale. Next I had to rent some climbing shoes. Climbing shoes are basically soft, tight fitting, and have no grip on the bottom. Luckily at the top of the back rack they had a few pairs of giant shoes to fit me. The person getting them for me of course had to make a joke about my big feet…

Finally we got in and met up with our other two friends. Initially I was quite intimidated and didn’t have much of a clue what was going on. At first I just stood back and watched in hopes of learning something. Lucky for me my friends were quick to explain how the numbers and labels worked. It turns out there are routes marked on the walls, they have a start and an end and you are only allowed to use certain holds in between. Finally after watching everyone in our group complete the same route, I decided to give it a try. I was successful, mostly because it was one of the easiest routes in the whole place, but it was still a good feeling. We spent the rest of our time there trying various other routes, some with more success than others. I was pleased to find that everyone there was friendly. For some strange reason I always imagine in my head that people good at something will have no patience for a person who’s new.

My moment of triumph for the day was completing a route that was a bit above my skill level (lets be honest though, it was still a pretty easy one in the grand scheme of things). It required the full use of my wing span and I ended up about eight feet off the ground, which is plenty high up for a guy who’s afraid of heights.

Almost done

Almost done

Both hands on the last hold means I've completed it

Both hands on the last hold means I’ve completed it

By the end of the day my finger tips felt like they had been smashed in a car door, there’s a reason I know that feeling.  My forearms felt like the skin around them was shrinking, I guess that’s just what happens when you exercise for a change. The next day I could really feel how much work my shoulders had done. Bodily pain and fear of heights aside, I had a lot of fun and have actually gone again since. I plan on making this a weekly activity, at least until work picks up.

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