13
Mar
13

Hitting the Wall AKA Learning to Climb

Climbing has always been a sport (art form) that has intrigued me. There are various reasons that until recently I hadn’t tried it – intimidation, bad shoulders, location and so on. Thankfully, a couple of weeks ago, a friend informed me that Grand Rapids Hiking Meetup group was heading to the local climbing gym, Inside Moves, all experience levels welcome. I instantly signed up for the Meetup group and RSVP’d – YES!!!

After a night of learning the basics of belaying, bouldering, climbing and knot tying we spent the evening navigating routes and socializing. Not only did I meet some really nice people, I realized that I would be able to climb and the intimidation was all in my head. The next day, I picked out some basic gear and anxiously awaited its arrival. Weather and work (Ok, I’ll admit – very sore muscles) kept me from trying again until this past Thursday night.

Since I had already been to one of the local gyms, I thought it would be interesting to see what another had to offer. Unfortunately, their bouldering wall had all the holds removed for an upcoming competition. All day, the one thing I could think about was how anxious I was to get back in the climbing gym so I headed back to Inside Moves. One of my big concerns was getting in an experienced climber’s way but while paying for a day pass I was assured that being an absolute beginner was not a problem.

I donned my shiny new (very tight) climbing shoes and made my way over to the bouldering walls. Apparently I not only didn’t know I was doing, but I looked like I didn’t know I was doing because after a few minutes of struggling, an older gentleman came over and started chatting with me and giving me tips (beta as I would come to find out). Joe told me he started climbing 12 years ago at 75 years old looked like he was going strong and would be for quite some time! It just goes to show, you’re never too old to try something new!

Over and over, with the help of Joe and another kind woman who had been climbing for 2 years, I attempted to less-than-skillfully muscle my way up the various routes/problems.  At last, I was able to complete one of the easiest problems…I was elated! After working on that same problem until I ripped the skin off of four of my fingers, I tried a few other problems before packing up my shoes, thanking everybody and heading home with a big grin on my face. The following day, I had a hard time tying my own shoes, but that didn’t matter I was hooked!

Easing the pain of my skinned fingers with a Big Sky Trout Slayer

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5 Responses to “Hitting the Wall AKA Learning to Climb”


  1. March 15, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Great post! I live in the Grand Rapids area and was recently introduced to climbing and this gym not too long ago. Great to hear that you got hooked on climbing as quickly as I did!!!

    • March 16, 2013 at 6:35 am

      Thanks for stopping by! There are some very nice people at Inside Moves, I’m considering getting a punch card there (though it’s on the other end of town). I went to Higher Ground last night with the same GR Hiking Group and it was another terrific time, my hands don’t hurt as much and I didn’t rip skin off 🙂

  2. March 25, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Very nice read and welcome to the world of climbing 🙂 Also pretty new to it as my wife and I climbed for a year. Problem is the gyms are very far from where we live.

    Happy climbing and keep us up to date with your progression.

    • March 28, 2013 at 8:33 am

      Thanks for reading! Climbing seems to be a great balance of mental and physical strength. I’m really happy I finally tried it (and now I’m at the gym on a semi-regular basis). I’m looking forward to some outside climbing this summer. How is the outdoor climbing in your part of South Africa?

      • April 3, 2013 at 12:42 am

        Haven’t climbed for quite a long time as the gym is quite far from where we live 😦

        Never been climbing outside but what I’ve heard is that there are some awesome spots to climb.


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