This weekend, I had the pleasure of being escorted into the great wilderness with some rock climbing aficionados as I learned what it truly means to climb some rocks.
I started indoor rock climbing right around this time last year and, I instantly fell in love with the sport. There is something so amazing to me about being able to climb up a forty foot wall, muscles straining, and not even realize that I am exercising. It is this combination of fun, challenge, and fear that keeps me coming back for more even when my brain politely reminds me that hanging from a rope dangerously high off the ground is not for the faint of heart.
But, while I had known a lot of my fellow indoor climbers climbed outside every so often, I was wary to join in.
For one, I had no idea how to climb outside, and I didn’t know how comfortable I was sticking my hand into crevices possibly full of spiders, nests, and cobwebs. Plus, I haven’t really been in the woods since I was a kid. Running trails does not equate to stomping through the forest with a bag of gear, bugs, and the summer sun.
However, in the spirit of leaving my comfort zone, I decided to join in for a bit of outdoor rock climbing fun on Sunday in Birdsboro, PA and quickly discovered, I liked being outside.
It is humbling to stand on the ground, look at a seemingly flat rock face, and realize that you are going to attempt to jam your fingers and feet into any available cracks and pull your body up the face of a cliff. I was surprised to discover that rock, real solid chunks of Earth, feels a lot more sturdy than the walls of plaster that I am used to leaning against. Also, I learned I am not so afraid of spiders, ants, and other bugs when I am concentrating on not plummeting several feet towards the ground.
I was also humbled to experience the trust and camaraderie that comes when a bunch of climbers travel to crush some outdoor climbs. Despite the extra dangers of climbing outdoors, I felt very safe with the group of experienced climbers that I spent the day with and appreciated all of their patience, encouragement, and advice. It is this strong sense of community and encouragement that continues to draw me back to climbing time and time again.
Overall, climbing outdoors was a lot more fun and challenging than I expected. I was nervous to try something new, especially when I still find climbing indoors a challenge all on its own, but as it turns out I made the right decision to trust my climbing partners and take a risk on the great outdoors. I guess I am not as big of a nature wimp as I anticipated.