My First Rock-climbing
I want to try everything new, and I did in the past 8 months. I tried to learn swimming, and learned breath stroke. I tried to travel alone, and enjoyed travelling from east to west. I tried to taste food I don’t know, and fell in love with some. But there is one thing I didn’t do and have been planning to do for a long time.
Every time when I passed the Climbing Wall, I wondered what was inside. There is a sculpture outside, on which, there are some colorful handholds. Once or twice, I even saw someone climbing on it. It looked quite fun! When the weather was handholds on the rock: red, green, blue, orange, pink, purple, yellow…
There is another reason why rock-climbing is more attractive to me. Jack and Matt, two boys in my writing class, kept on writing something about rock-climbing. They wrote about their special love to rocks, their adventures and enjoyment in climbing, and even their nightmares about rock-climbing. While I was reading Jack’s paper, I started imagining climbing in the raw nature without rope or those colorful hand-holds; imagining them climbing on the snow-white mountain top, walking on the iced pathway, the gray rocks and rolling stones…
Today, when I checked my schedule and found I have all evening free (Usually, I prefer to go to some lectures and Whitman has very good lectures!) I thought maybe it’s the time for me to try this new thing! But I heard that rock-climbing requires two people to climb together, so I called Violeta, who was also interested in everything new. She was very excited and would like to go together. And she even told me that today was “Ladies’ Night”, which means it would not be so awkward to fall down and lie on your back in front of boys. It seemed she had been observing this sport for a while and was eager to go.
At 8pm, we two appeared at the Climbing Wall. The girl who worked at the front desk came up to help. When she learned that it was the first time for us to climb, she handed us two forms to fill.
The first page was “Assumption of Risk and Waiver of Liability for the Whitman College Climbing Center”. I even didn’t read and signed, but Violeta was very careful. She read them one by one and even exclaimed with horror “Oh my goodness!” She pointed to the line and read loudly “ I understand that the dangers and the risks of participation in the Program could include but is not limited to, death, serious neck or spinal injuries which may result in complete or partial paralysis or brain damage…”her eyes opened widely and she said again “Oh my God!” The painful expression emerged on her face, which seemed that she had already started imagining these horrible accidents happened to her. “Oh come on. Do not read it at all. The more you read, the less you want to try.” I told her in the tone of an experienced person. She frowned and kept on reading, silently. A few seconds later, she said with strong determination “Ok, I think I will stop reading it. You are right. Before I read it, I was excited and eagered to try. Now, I am very nervous and even want to give up.” “Oh no, you can’t give up even before you try!” I encourged her. Then she signed, biting her lower lip, frowned, again. I started laughing and said “To tell the truth, I even dare not to read it, because I know it will scare me. Usually, it will not happen.” She noded but still looked not relieved.
Then we turned to the second form, it was “Safety Policies and Rules” This time none of us read more than 2 seconds and signed.
“Ok, it seems you all have done?” The girl in the front desk smiled and took the paper we handed. “Oh, the Helmet Waiver” she pointed at a small piece in the middle of the first form, “you two both want helmets?” she asked. “Yes” we two answered in chorus. “En, it’s the first time you climb, so maybe you will be in this wall” She turned to look at a not high rock on her left side. “Oh, then maybe helmet is not needed!” I understood and said. Then we were set to watch a video about 8 minutes, which was mainly about the safety and skills of climbing.
Now we were ready to have a try. The rock looked not high but very steep. It was easy to find handholds but the problem was I couldn’t hold for seconds! It seemed I was too fat to climb. But Violeta is a slim girl, still it was impossible for her to either hold longer or move a step.
We tried on that wall about 30 minutes, and made no progress. Violeta sighed and had an idea “As we are here, maybe we should take pictures! At least we tried!.” So I rushed back to fetch my camera and we had a good time in posing in front of the wall and pretended climbing high. After I posted all photos several people asked me “Why didn’t you wear a helmet or a rope?” My reply was “It was above the ground 50 cm,haha!”
Seeing us struggling and almost on the verge of giving up, the girl worked in the front desk came up and showed us some skills in climbing. But we failed even after her instruction. Then another girl who was an expert in climbing (I saw her climbed to the top of the rock just now when I had nothing to do but stood and watched) gave us the suggestion to try another wall. Although that wall was high, it was not so steep.
I tried first. With the help of all those handholds, I can hold for a while, but moving was still not so easy. Before you move, you should find the best footholds and handholds, and try to keep your body paralyzed to the wall. I even twisted my body once, which made it hard to move or hold. I tried several times and can climb higher to the red line (the line for beginners). Violeta tried and she did a good job, too. At least, better than what we did just now.
As we were trying hard and enjoying ourselves, we saw people start leaving. “Oh, it’s almost 10pm.” I looked at my watch. “They close at 10. Maybe we should leave.”Voileta started to collect her things.
I really enjoyed this rock-climbing. Although I didn’t climb a lot and didn’t have deep reflection, it was a kind of enjoyment. The only pity was we didn’t start climbing the “right” wall early. If there is another chance, I would like to try it again. Maybe, I will fall in love with rock-climbing, as what I did to other stuffs.