Brian and I took the opportunity to go on a guided climb at Garden of the Gods. I've done some indoor climbing, but it had been many years. Brian had never been rocking climbing before. So early in the morning we met up with our guide and started our adventure. We learned how to properly tie ourselves into the climbing gear, how to belay for the climber, to double and triple check our work before heading up the rock face. We each climbed up different parts of a massive rock four times, with each climb being a little longer, steeper, a little more challenging.
Keeping up with the climber when belaying was one of the most difficult parts for me. As the one belaying, you are the safety net should the climber lose his/her footing and fall. Your arms and hands have to move quickly. (Read aching arms and rope burned hands.) Your eyes cannot leave the climber; in a sense, you almost have to anticipate their next move and be constantly ready for it.
On the flip side, as the climber, there's the issue of complete trust you have to have in your partner. After the first climb up to the top, it was time to come down. No stairs, no ladder, just a rope and the rock face. And about 75 feet down to the bottom! I had to stand up and back over the ledge onto the rock. A taut rope provides a sense of security, and in reality was the only thing that kept me from falling all the way down. I had to ask myself if I really trusted Brian to keep me safe?
At one point during one of the climbs, I was on a sheer portion of the rock face, still quite a way from the top. There were few hand and footholds and I honestly felt stuck. I didn't know how to proceed. I yelled my thoughts down to Brian and our guide, Lee, "What do I do? I'm stuck!" Lee's answer to me was, "Just keep climbing. The way will open up." And it did. I put one hand out, stretched my foot up, and slowly found the way. One hand/foot hold at a time, I made it to my destination.
It's interesting how that response, to just keep climbing, has stuck with me. It seems like that's good advice for life, as well. Just keep climbing. The way will open up.
Lisa (above) & Brian (below)
The view from above (I'm belaying for Brian)...Beginner climb, maybe. Easy? Not a chance.