Yay! I’ve finally started learning how to climb, and its super cool. So yeah, here’s whats been going on these past few weeks:

So I am now a certified belayer! Hurray! Yup, so without delay, merely two days after I wrote my last post, I took the belaying course that Base5 offers with my mentor, Jack Pickell, and a few days after that, I took the test and passed. The course was actually really fun, despite me being the youngest person there by about a decade. Everyone was really kind and encouraging to me, and, though I was rather uncertain when I arrived, by the end of it I was comfortable and relaxed. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I came to the course, as I’ve never really paid much attention to what the staff were doing when they’ve belayed me at birthday parties or field trips, but belaying is actually fairly simple once you get over the idea that someone else’s life is in your hands. Basically, using a belay device, you keep the rope fairly taut as the person climbs, and bring it to a stand still if the other person falls. Easier than I expected actually, but all the same, a lot of responsibility.

Being a certified belayer has its uses in our regular sessions too. Because I can now legally belay others, me and Jack can take turns climbing which works a lot better. Basically, he climbs the route first and shows me how it’s done while I belay him. Then he belays me as I try and copy him. It’s a pretty good system actually, but I don’t belay Jack on anything too difficult in case I drop him. Which would not be good. Plus I also get to practice my belaying more which is never a bad idea. (I still have a tendency to let out rope too fast when lowering someone, sending them almost into like a free fall before slowing down and kind of jerkily letting them down. It isn’t life threatening but is rather terrifying for the climber.) Anyway, learning how to climb is going really well. First of all, I’ve learned about the rating system, basically the difficulty level of the route. It goes from 5.0 to 5.15, but in the gym they have climbs from 5.5 which is a really easy, ramp like climb, to 5.11s. Right now I’m really comfortable with 5.7s, and can usually finish 5.8s but those have my hands stinging and my forearms tight afterwards.  I’ve had some small experience climbing in the past, but I’ve just kind of muscled my way to the top of the wall, not really using any technique or sticking to a certain route. Now however, Jack has me sticking to only one route on the wall. This isn’t quite as hard as I expected when I started limiting my holds, but all the same it is a bit of a bother to have to crane my neck around to attempt to see what colour tape is on this one really great foothold that I want to use. I also need to improve on my footwork, as at the moment I kind of pull myself up a lot rather than standing up smoothy like you see all the really good rock climbers doing. At the front of the gym is a really easy 5.5 climb that’s slanted about 80 degrees, that all the young climbers usually start out with. To improve my footwork, I climbed to the top of that one without using my hands. It was pretty challenging, and the nice deep hand holds seemed to mock me as the incline got steeper at the top, but I did it and it really helped me with my footwork. So that was good.

Beautiful mind questions.

How to be interesting… Well I’m really using that skill right now, and, as you can probably see from the wall of text above, I’m pretty interested in rock climbing. Hopefully you found this interesting as well and aren’t like, asleep right now because it was so boring. Anyway, talking with my mentor, I’m interested in learning and I’m pretty sure that comes across in our conversations. I ask plenty of questions, and clarification when I’m unsure of something, and make connections between techniques and such. So I think I got that skill pretty well covered.

Well, that’s all for now, I’ve learnt so much this past week, I can’t wait to learn more.