I went climbing last night, and I survived. Holy crap though, it's good exercise!! After just 2 runs up the wall, I was feeling (am feeling it now, in fact) in my arms and shoulders.
The 2 hour session last night mostly revolved around learning the basics - the three things we will be tested on at the end of next week: fitting the harness, tying your rope and belaying.
The harness bit is easy - just a case of being systamatic with tightening everything and taking care to tuck everything in out the way. However, when it came to the knots I was having such a dozy moment. The one they teach is something call a Re-threaded Figure of Eight knot, and I could not get it the first time she showed me. Or the second. Seriouly - everyone else had tied the whole thing and the stop knot too, before I worked out which way round I was meant to be looping the rope at the start.
A funny thing happened after that though - where everyone else followed her instructions straight off to tie it the first time, they then couldn't remember it when they tried to repeat it, whereas once I finally wrapped my head around the process, I was able to re-tie it straight away, neatly, and with prompts. Very odd.
After that, we actually headed down to the climbing walls to learn belaying and actually try everything out. It was absolutely heaving last night, so we had a bit of trouble actually finding two ropes together to work on. There were only 6 people in my group, so we split into 3's to practice - one to climb, one to belay, and one person standing aside at a time.
I decided to have routine my klutzy moment at this point - as I was letting my partner back down after she'd reached the top of the wall, I lost concentration just as she got back to floor-level, and let my guide hand ride up with the rope, instead of slipping it through, and manage to wedge the soft skin between my thumb and first finger into the belay device - ouch! Luckily, the instructor saw what happened and grabbed the rope to stop the skin getting trapped any further, and we managed to work it back out without breaking the skin too much - just a bit bruised and saw. I certainly won't be making that mistake again in a hurry!
All in all, it seemed like a productive evening. We didn't get to play on the bouldering walls this session, and in fact, I was a climb short of everyone else, as the two girls I was partnered with were a bit slow and I was last to climb in our little threesome, so we ran out of time before my last go, but there'll be plenty more time for that in the future. In truth, I found last night quite mentally taxing, as it was. Because it was so busy, we couldn't go on the wall that our instructor would have preferred, which was the grade 4 routes (some of the easiest). Instead, we were on grade 5a and 5c's, which suddenly seemed like quite a step-up from the taster session. I did go straight up to the top both times, but the grips were noticably smaller and I couldn't quite stick to a single route on the way up (or more precisely, I probably could of, but my nerve failed me a little bit to push myself that hard).
Interestingly, when we were back in the classroom at the end of the session, someone asked the instructor whether all climbers are thin, or if you get thin when you climb. She said it was a bit of both - good climbers tend to be on the slim side, because they're more agile and have a better strength to weight ratio. But generally, people who get the bug and keep climbing will tend to lose weight, and mostly because of what a good workout it is.
As it was, one of the girls did me a favour on the way out - I was feeling a bit shaky as I left, and saw the basket of home-made flapjacks and tiffin on the counter at the exit. I was debating whether to get one (the instructor having just told me how lovely they were) when one of my classmates laughingly said "you'll put back on everything you've just taken off climbing!). And that exactly what I needed to hear at that second. She was totally right.
I realised afterwards, that what I really wanted was a drink (I thought I'd put a bottle of water in my bag to take, but it must have fallen out in the car), and the shaking was more due to adrenaline than hunger / exhaustion. So I'm glad I didn't have the flapjack.
In fact, yesterday was good for eats. Please scales, show my some love this week!
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