Today I cancelled my climbing-gym membership. It was a difficult decision since I enjoy climbing and it’s the only thing I
do used to do that gets me out of the house. But the sad fact remains that I could use 80 more dollars and 16 more hours each month in a more effective manner.
When I started, I bought just what I needed to boulder: shoes and chalk. I started on V-0 and V-1 like everyone else. All the little kids on the climbing team would laugh and laugh as I failed at everything. Eventually, I got stronger and more skillful. I learned how to smear, flag, heel-hook, toe-hook, dyno, deadpoint, and distribute my weight. Now I’m more of an intermediate climber. I can consistently send V-4, and my personal best was a top-out V-5.
But today was the last day. It’s fitting that I didn’t accomplish anything worth mentioning. I don’t know if it was an off day, or if the routes got more difficult, but things didn’t go brilliantly. I did a bit of work on a V-7 to no avail. I gave a dyno V-6 another few tries, but didn’t get any farther than I had before. I was able to land another fun dyno though. It was a V-9 that I had no business attempting, but the first move was a huge leap onto an overhang. I hit the mat several times before I got it.
I’ve learned a few things other than how to boulder from my time at EarthTreks. I learned to not judge people on their appearance as much. We know we shouldn’t, but we all do, and to be fair, initial judgements can be valid. But now, I’ve seen little girls kill a V-8, stocky guys send a sloper V-5, and old men gracefully finish some tricky V-6s.
The regulars don’t evaluate someone until they see them climb because you don’t know until you know.
Also, at least with bouldering, people will work on a problem as a group. Everyone will give it a try and help each other out to finish it. I’ve climbed with some people every week for months and still don’t know their names, but I know they’re good at crimps or slopers, and aren’t into dynos. I’ve met some cool people who I might never see again. I’ve met some jerks who I wouldn’t mind never seeing again.
All things considered, I don’t think I’ve been in better physical condition than I am right now. I’ll be sorry to see this Adonis-like figure slip away.
I’m glad I had the opportunity to climb (almost) every week for the last 13 months. I’ve come a long way in that time. Hopefully someday I’ll be able to get back to it.