How I invited myself to an outing at Pilot Mountain and climbed outdoors on rock for the first (okay, second) time
My knees are skinned, my elbows are scraped, and my face is burned which means you know I had an incredible weekend!
We headed off to Pilot Mountain on Saturday to meet up with a crew of fellow climbers from Triangle Rock Club, organized by a woman named Sami. When one of the guys came to my house to carpool he asked me, "So how do you know Sami?"
"Oh," I said. "I don't. I just saw her posting about this outing in a group I'm in and I asked if I could join. I've wanted to climb outdoors for a while now!"
"So you've never climbed outdoors before, and you've never met anyone in the group before?" Luke mused. "That's ballsy."
I took me a minute to figure out why he'd called me ballsy, but then I realized it hadn't really sunk in that I was going to meet random strangers and do a very dangerous activity I've never done before, all while relying on said strangers.
Well, okay, if you put it that way then maybe it is ballsy.
Imagine your deepest, most agonizing fear, the one thing that makes you feel utterly alone and exposed and vulnerable to the world, the one thing that paralyzes you with its impossibility. Now make it a competition. In front of strangers. That was my situation.
Late Monday night before my friend Emily and I met up ridiculously early on Tuesday morning to climb, I psyched myself up for it. I wanted a breakthrough in my acrophobia and to feel like after a year of climbing I had somehow improved as a climber and had more control over my fear of heights, so to pump myself up for climbing the next morning I watched Youtube videos of climbers doing amazing things and read my "How to Rock Climb!" book and watched parkour videos and I was excited, so excited, to try something bold.
I did a poor job climbing this morning. I know now that I simply can't go two weeks without climbing and expect to maintain fitness. These are still baby muscles - arms, shoulders, and even fingers unused to the load of all my mass against gravity. It's not fair to my body to go so long without climbing.
Climbing means an intimate knowledge of gravity. My friend Emily S. and I started climbing at the Triangle Rock Club gym in Morrisville, and one bright and early morning before work in an empty gym we played around on the bouldering wall. Fun fact: bouldering is a pain. The guy working the gym desk told us the V0 bouldering routes are about equivalent to 5.8 or 5.9 top rope routes (Emily and I had been sticking to the super beginner friendly 5.5 to 5.7 routes). So the bouldering routes meant a lot of falling. A LOT. And that's hard when you're not used to falling.