Thursday, May 04, 2006

My First Attempt At Rock Climbing Didn't Get Off The Ground

On Saturday, I went back to UMD to checkout Maryland Day and see if I'm still the BMOC. I learned (quickly) that I'm not the BMOC (having been removed from the scene almost four years earlier), I learned that you need to arrive early if you want the best freebies at Maryland Day, and I also learned not to try one of the more difficult rock climbing walls for my first rock climb.

Angled walls that help gravity pull you down aren't a good way to start a climbing career. And no, that isn't me pictured. This guy climbed too high.

We started our time in CoPo by purchasing some clothes at the Comcast Center for the youngest Terp fans we know and made our way to the Outdoor Recreation Center for the climbing wall. I never used the wall while I attended, but I wish I did. After signing away any injury claims, I harnessed-up. Thank god for pre-made harnesses because the last one I wore was back in in high school that I made by tying rope knots to make a "Studebaker Seat". Let me tell you, that thing would ride up higher into my "alleys" than I knew was possible.

Celebrating UMD's 150th anniversary tasted great, but it would've helped if my opposable thumbs could grasp a fork.

Anyway, I had to decide on a wall. There were about 8 walls of varying difficulty and all of which went to the 55-foot (?) top. My partner in climb (PIC) (is this mic on?) suggested I try one of the harder ones because I "have some upper-body strength and it would be a good challenge". Though I had never climbed before, I (stupidly) agreed and was on my way. How bad could it be? I just watched two 10-year-olds fly up the wall and I'm sure the fact that the wall is angled away from my body won't be too much trouble.

It always makes me feel good to see kids 1/2 my age reach the top when I can't.

After I stepped off of the ground, I realized I was in trouble. The (un)funny thing about an angled wall like this is you have to keep yourself next to the wall instead of letting gravity assist as it naturally does. Suddenly the easy walls that beg you to lean on them as you climb and even the 90-degree perpendicular wall that asks for balance looked very appealing. Nevertheless, I made it about 1/4 of the way up, but couldn't get past the first angled wall (if you read into these words, it means I barely got off the ground). I was trying to use too much arms and not enough legs. Of course, it didn't help that I couldn't push off the little pegs anyway, but I wasn't going far.

I guess I really shouldn't complain about the wall after seeing this challenge.

My PIC flew up 3/4 of the 90-degree perpendicular wall while I was left to sulk because some 10-year-olds got three times as far as I did. On top of that, my fingers and forearms were sore (and still were on Tuesday). I would like to do more rock climbing, but I will start on the easier (not so vertical) walls with larger pegs and easier grips. The rest of Maryland Day was fine with the same booths as 3 years ago when I last went so it does lose its charm. Eating the world's largest strawberry shortcake sure hit the spot after the rock climb, but it was hard to hold a fork. It should be noted, to get the better freebies, like this year's IKEA bag and Business School beach ball, hit those areas right at the start. I have no regrets getting to climb with no wait, but free stuff is free stuff.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, you are right. Start with climbing where it ain't steep. The important thing with climbing is to enjoy it, and if you start trying routes that are to hard the fun just blow away.
If you want to get some inspiration, take a look at with thousands of pictures from different areas in Europe.
Keep on the rock climbing!