Rock Climbing Term 1

by rachel

Hola whoever reads this thing~

So one semester of Rock Climbing has passed and it’s really been one of the best ExE modules I’ve done. Honestly I’m not that great at it but I’m decent I guess and I really do try! Over the course of this term I’ve tried lanes C,D,E and F. The various lanes range in difficulty, with A  being the easiest and F the hardest. The only lane I’ve completed is C and about 3/4 of E.

I’m not particularly scared of heights so that’s good I guess, one less thing to get over! I used to do rope courses and high element adventure stuff quite a lot so that helped but there were still plenty of things to get over, mostly physical endurance.

Rock climbing requires a lot of strength, especially when you do not have the best technique (i.e. me haha). At various points in time during the course, I found myself having to strain my arms in order to hold on to the wall or hoist myself up to the next section. This is actually something the teachers advise us against, encouraging us to use our legs to step up instead so that’s something I’m working on, trying to utilise the stronger muscles in my body in order to compensate for the weaker ones.

After climbing for awhile/ multiple walls, your arms also start to tense up with lactic acid, making it harder to sustain the climb. I found this to be especially true with lane E due to the large overhang. But as the lesson passed, we begin to pick up new skills such as finding resting points to shake out your arms in order to reduce the lactic acid build up so that you are able to continue climbing the rest of the wall.

At the same time, rock climbing isn’t just a physical sport but also a mental sport in that it requires a lot of mental strength to keep climbing and trying even when it seems like there are no handholds or footholds in reach and also the mental agility required to plan out the various routes to take, whether you’re preparing on the ground or up on the wall.

When I was on lane C, the first 8 panels or so of the wall were relatively easy to climb, especially since prior to climbing lane C I’d tried lanes D & E. However, closer to the last 2 panels, it started to get slightly trickier due to a small protruding portion of the wall. At some point I was so tempted to just tell Joshua my belayer to let me down because I was so lazy to even try. But looking down and seeing how far I’d come already and listening to my team mates cheering on I decided to continue trying and I eventually made it!

Which brings us to my next point – how important teamwork and communication is for rock climbing. Although for the most part of rock climbing it might seem pretty lonely as you are up there on the wall by yourself, it’s actually really a team spot because you would never be able to rock climb without the help of your belaying team! And communication is also highly important!! This happened two times when both Veda and I belayed Joshua on separate occasions – when he’s ready to come down, he says “let go” which seems like a request to slack the rope and so both times, Veda and I released part of our ropes only to realise his “let go” meant he was letting go. Yep. Luckily, both of us managed to lock the ropes in time and because we also happened to be anchoring each other, managed to keep the other grounded. And from that lesson on we made sure to check what exactly “let go” meant for different people. Heh.

As we continue on to the next term, I hope to keep picking up new skills in rock climbing and maybe do a bit of research on the ways to get past various obstacles in the course!

Till term 2~