Last weekend I bouldered outside! It was very humbling. Two days before we drove to Smith Rock I sent my first V4 at the gym. At Smith I couldn’t manage to send anything. Not a V0. Turns out real rocks are scary. I couldn’t bring myself to climb very high. I tried to practice falling/jumping onto the crash pad. During one such jump my body went “no no no no” and my hand or foot or something got “stuck” on the rock and screwed up my fall entirely, such that I landed more or less on top of my poor spotter’s bent knee. I sat on the ground hyperventilating for a while, and then I climbed back up so I could jump again, somewhat more gracefully.
Bouldering is scary at the gym, too. My favorite wall is the shortest one without a top-out. That’s the one the V4 was on. Topping out—getting all the way over the top of the wall—makes my leg shake uncontrollably. I know that when that happens I’m supposed to put weight on it. To trust, I guess, that the part of me that appears weakest is in fact strong. How’s that for a metaphor?
I keep climbing because it’s fucking terrifying. As far as fears go, it’s easy to confront. I chalk up and put my hands back on the wall.
Anyway, the sunsets at Smith Rock were spectacular. Next time we’ll bring a rope.
Bonus: here’s me immediately after that V4—