I was back climbing today. It’s going slowly as I am a) unfit and b) actually quite unfit because I haven’t been doing any of the stuff that normally makes me not unfit and c) lacking in upper body strength.
A few months ago, the physio who was looking at other related problems called “bockety knee” or, more technically, “strength deficit in knee” asked if I suffered from vertigo. The answer to that question is, actually, yes.
He was somewhat surprised that I’d go climbing then. I did say that “I want to climb and in that case, I’m not letting a little detail called vertigo get in my way”. So I traipsed off to Edinburgh, learned how to belay and came back and spent three months forgetting how to belay and working out whether it was financially viable to join Westwood Gym to go climbing seeing as there isn’t really anywhere else that I can get into easily within easy reach of home and work. I’m all for the easy life, me, and I’m allergic to cross town traffic during the rush hour. About 4 weeks ago I started climbing again. It was hard.
No, seriously. Hard. The walls in Westwood – the easiest two anyway – are harder than the ones in Edinburgh, but the ones in Edinburgh sloped slightly in such a way as the wall supported your weight. The ones in Westwood are vertical. The first day I was in there, the end result was not pretty. For the first time that I can ever remember, I very nearly fainted when I got down after getting something like 5meters up the wall. This was euphemistically described as “has height issues”. Yeah right. Height issues and Wuss issues, thanks. I’m not afraid to admit it.
In the meantime, don’t ask me how I managed it, I discovered ice climbing. I mean, I discovered it existed. Not that I tried it and discovered I loved it. Bad and all as the weather is in Dublin right now, it’s not cold enough to freeze the waterfall in Powerscourt.
I’ve decided I’d like to try it, however.
It looks roughly like this:
yep. Let’s not discuss the random sanity check, okay. I have discovered that there are indoor ice climbing walls in London, Manchester and some part of Scotland not right next to an abandoned airfield servived by a low cost airline. It has struck me, however, that I should probably be a better climber before I try to scale up a frozen waterfall, or, in fact, a fake frozen waterfall.
So, I’m back climbing, watching 8 year old kids scale up the walls faster than me, with the objective of building up the upper body strength between here and Christmas.
Today wasn’t bad. Today, I got higher than I have gotten so far, without someone yelling at me that I could do something or other. And I didn’t faint. I know that both times that I scaled up that far today, I missed a foothold and – irritatingly, they were two different footholds. I guess the plus point is that I’d learned from the first mistake and on the second time up made the foothold I missed the first time, then promptly missed the next one. Bah.
On the plus point I got higher today than I did on Tuesday. And on the really plus point, I did better the second time than I did the first time – usually I do worse on the second run because I’m tired. But I still didn’t reach the top. Three dudes who claim they’ve never climbed before managed it of course. And the pesky 8 year old child. That’s the hard part.
I reckon with how things are going at the moment though I may well get to the top this week and with that achievement I’ll be good to work a bit harder on the next route that floored me last week. I also got reminded how to belay as well which is no bad thing.
So today, a better day than Tuesday, more or less.
If you do watch the video above, the second music track (from about 2.30 in) is a song called GBA by a dude called Xavier Rudd. I’d never heard of him before today but man, that track rocks.