Monday, January 28, 2013

The Great 2013 Adventure Has Begun!

My best friend and I decided that we were going to do one new (slightly scary) thing per month. Groupon has come in very handy for this, so our first adventure we chose Rock Climbing! We got a super deal for a 3-hour Intro to Climbing class at the Boston Rock Gym, which includes gear and a two week membership.
So let's discuss how two people who are terrified of heights managed to climb 35 feet in the air, then have to blindly fall back and allow strangers (and later a machine) to safely lower them to the ground, shall we? There were nine of us in the class, and for the first climb, I was the 7th person to go. Every person that went up made my stomach tighten a little more. I finally volunteered because I think if one more person had gone before me, I would have been sick and chickened out. Everyone went up and down with no issue, stoic and silent, so there was no real reason to be nervous. But I HATE heights. This is the girl who was this close to needing to be pushed off the ledge when we went zip lining. So I get strapped in, and start climbing, just thinking about getting it done and having bragging rights (and maybe praying just a bit "God please don't let me die"). I was just past half way when I almost chickened out and stopped climbing, but then my pride and competitiveness got in the way. I didn't want to be the first one to chicken out! So I pushed myself all the way up and touched the top! I DID IT!! Once at the top, I made the mistake of looking down, which immediately prompted a "holy crap this is high!" from me, and giggles from my classmates.
(Sorry for the poor quality. It's in a gym, on my phone. Also, I need to teach my friend how to use an iPhone camera...)
Then the really scary part, leaning back, letting go of the wall, and trusting the little girl of an instructor to safely lower me to the ground. Took me a minute, but I did that too! By the time I unhooked, I was shaking and my heart was racing, but I climbed a 35 foot wall!!!

After we all made it up and back down, we learned knots and belaying basics. We were divided into groups to practice. I suddenly had to trust newbie climbers, not just strangers, with my life. So not what I expected! I'm not little. My partners were. At one point we had to "surprise fall", so our partners could learn to catch a falling climber. I did it (not from high...and they probably knew I was about to fall, since I sort of just stopped moving). At the wall nearby I watched my friend stop and say "okay, I'm gonna fall now...are you ready? Are you really ready?" After my "fall", I climbed back to the top, then they lowered me down. For some reason, the rope had moved slightly, so I couldn't reach the wall while I was being lowered, I was just dangling in mid air. In the midst of this, I hear the guy belaying me say, "oh! I came off the ground a little there!". In case you were wondering, that does not instill confidence in someone already pretty terrified of what she's doing! Once I was safely on the ground, the instructor then told us what to do if that happens.

After the class, we had free-climbing-time. Chrissy and I played with the auto-belays a bit. (We also attempted one of the difficult walls with like a 120 degree angle, but let's not talk about that one...or how I landed on my back...twice....) We did the wall below twice. You can't tell in the picture, but I really did go all the way to the top!
The first time around, I got to the top no problem, and then had a little panic attack. See, with a person belaying you, when you lean back, there's tension so you don't start falling immediately. With the auto belay, it acts like a seatbelt. With slow/normal movements, it moves with you. When you jump off the wall, it catches you. So rather than just leaning back, you kinda have to jump off the wall. It's absolutely and utterly terrifying. The whole time I'm trying to do it, my best friend is yelling at me, "Come on! You can do it! Just, leap of faith! Leap of faith! Just do it! I'm gonna have to tell our friends tomorrow that you didn't do it". Finally I did it (and I may have screamed a little...). Most terrifying thing I've ever done. Seriously. Then it was her turn. Hehe. She freaked out even more than I did! So, of course, I teased her back. Once she came back down, we took a water break to calm our nerves and gave it one more go. And both fell off the wall.

I don't know why I thought the jumping off the wall would be easier the second time. It wasn't. I got up there, and panicked again. I was about to let go (I was pretending I was Amy Pond trying to get back to Rory. Except, instead of blinking in front of a Weeping Angel, I had to jump off a cliff "All I have to do is jump, right? Just jump and I'll be with Rory?") when my foot slipped and I just fell off the wall. That was definitely enough for me for the day!

All in all, this was a terrifying, yet really fun, experience! We're already planning to go back! I'm so proud of us! We did something new, something scary, and didn't get injured! SUCESS!

Now, a bonus for my fellow geeks. My brother works at a Geek-Mecca type store, so he has a nice collection of stuff in his room. I particularly enjoy his Doctor Who collection. The other day, I went in and couldn't resist rearranging some of the figures to this:
He noticed the next day, and has left it that way. Today I went in and did this:
He already had them in this position, but I added the marks (and don't worry, they are washable. I tested first!) Now I wait for him to notice. Muahahaha! Of course, if he actually reads my blog, that may ruin it, but oh well! I think I have a new game :)

What kind of adventures do you have planned for this year? Any ideas that we should add to our list?

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