I remember passing by a huge indoor climbing wall at a sports centre in Cambridge. I thought to myself- that’s crazy. Climbing is so hard. How on earth people do that?
I don’t even know why I thought it was hard. I never ever tried it before. In any case, those high walls and ropes didn’t attract me at all. Instead, I was inspired to go rowing. Which turned out not so cruisy either. Well, everything is hard when you are a dutiful, out of shape business student really.
Years later I ended up in Thailand. I honestly can’t remember why I decided to try climbing. Must have been one of the rare inspiring travellers in South East Asia who planted the seed in my head. I just had to try something new.
I was horrible. I have no idea what grades we were climbing. All I know it was hot and I was sweaty. But the feeling after my embarrassing scrambles was nice and rewarding.
Then at some point in NZ I was working for the best boss ever. He turned out to be a rock climber and advised me to check out the Golden Bay. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to make it there. Not having my own car sucked. I didn’t think I would last long hitch-hiking. And the winter was coming.
A couple of months later I got hooked on the mountain film festival in Wanaka. I realised I’m not leaving this beautiful country any time soon. So I stuck throughout the winter. Ended up skiing New Zealand’s only ski-field located in a National Park. Even got rescued by a helicopter.
And all of the sudden it was summer. Except now I had a shit knee. But climbing was still on my mind. At least one more time. Let’s screw up the knee completely and go home, I thought.
So I reached the sweet shores of Golden Bay. Here I found a campground for climbers’. Where I met awesome people who were generous and patient enough to give a clumsy girl like me a go at this amazing sport. I can hardly hold my balance on planet Earth, but who needs that when you can over-grip a hold after hold?
I ended up staying there for 3 months. The best time of my life.
Climbing for me is still more of a mental struggle than anything else. There’s so much you can do physically if only it was easy to tame your mind. Gazillion thoughts rush through my head as I try to do the next move. You have to meditate and dispatch these useless thoughts. No one said it better than Lynn Hill- climbing is a form of a ‘moving meditation’.
So not only I’m getting physically stronger. I’m also training that mental ‘muscle’. Which, fingers crossed, transfers into my daily life as well.
And every time I climb, I know I get better. And I have the rest of my life to get better! Even my granny knee gets better.
And that is why folks, I don’t mind being a shitty climber. Although, I must admit- one day I hope I’ll be as badass as that mountain goat up there.
‘Difficulty is a state of mind.’ –Arno Ilgner