Monday, December 28, 2009


We went to a climbing gym yesterday.  No pictures, sorry.  I asked for some, but the truth is that the camera phones are a bit to navigate and our camera has been missing for several months.  Anyway.

So last week a coworker had invited Baboo to go to the climbing gym and he accepted, as something new he'd never tried, and WAS I JEALOUS?  I was.

I had been intruigued by this ever since I saw the guys trooping past the the new house on the trails with big pads strapped to their backs.  For months I watched them, finally settling on the hypothesis that they were headed for some high spot in the mountains to meditate, and maybe do yoga. Never quite satisfied with that answer, since it was about 99% guy trooping by with their big giant pads, so finally I hopped the back wall and shouted to them my curiousity, and they told me they were going bouldering.

You ever do something and say to yourself, "I could do that?"  Not because you're one of those "can-do" kind of people, but because you have this distant memory of yourself climbing trees until your mother, peering upwards through the branches, demands you to come down...NOW...before you kill yourself?

Oh, I was fearless I was.  I was constantly climbing up to very high places and my favorite thing in the world was to be higher than all the neighborhood houses and then sit and wait until my mother came looking for me, and then wait until she was right underneath, and then give a shout.  The look of panic on her face was what I was after--me, the tomboy who ONLY wore boy clothes and thought girls in Alabama in the 1970s were stupid.  I mean, they did stupid things and played stupid games.  Boys had all the fun.  Girls played with dolls, and talked about boys they wanted to marry.  Gaa.  Me and my friends, all boys, would place the Barbie that one of my relatives was foolish enough to gift me in great peril, and then take turns rescuing her.  She remains buried in my back yard somewhere.  I forget where.  I buried her and we were supposed to dig her up, but then I forgot.  Probably busy climbing another tree, or something.  I was reminded sharply of my tomboy roots while watching christmas movies this past week.  My parents gave me a steel-tipped bow-and-arrow set for Christmas one year; can you imagine?  What were they thinking?

Anyway.  So, of course, all that was 35 years ago, I was nine, and I weighed all of about 50 pounds.  Yesterday was a completely different experience, and as I clung to the wall oddly worried about falling--despite the harness--I thought to myself, "Less ass is needed here, and more forearm and finger strength."

Baboo and Sweetface shouted encouragement and suggestions from below.  We all took turns managing each other's rope-and-pully system.  Before climbing, a staff member had given us all the tour and a brief tutorial on how to manage the belay system.  I eyed the pully suspiciously--way, way up there--and imagined a cartoon-like scenerio where Baboo came flying straight down while I was lifted off my feet toward the ceiling.

But reality was way cooler, all the technology worked, and besides, the floor has about a half foot of padding on it, anyway.  We wandered about, testing this wall and that, some leaning forward, some leaning backwards and some going overhead (where gravity and mass inevitably prevailed, at least for me).

Of course, I. Am. Lazy.  But remember, I am also Stubborn.  I will be back.  I felt like I was nine again, and half expected to hear my mom yelling at me to GET DOWN FROM THERE RIGHT NOW, MISTY JANE--I AM NOT KIDDING!  It was a blast, and I plan to file down my nails and go again.

If you go: forget about fingernails.  Do buy some chalk.  wear comfy clothes; girls tended to be more in yoga pants and t-shirts.  Boys wore all sorts of stuff.  Be prepared to be a bit humbled.  But if you're like me, with the echo of childhood ringing in your ears, be prepared to wonder when you get to come back again.



  1. That sounds the Best Fun Ever!

  2. Anonymous1:57 PM

    Rock on!

  3. That sounds scary-fun. I bet it's a good upper body workout too. :-)

  4. Oooo, I relate, Paul Dupre and I strapped Barbie (or was it GI Joe?) to about 6 bottle rockets to see what happened (not pretty). The rock climbing can be ssooo addicting! Have fun!

  5. Anonymous10:27 AM

    rock wall climbing is absolutely fabulous....sooooo much fun. LOVE the buried barbie story.....that's awesome!

  6. Climbing is one of my favorite things to do. I love getting up on the mountain and thinking about the skill it takes to be where I am at and how few people have been in that same spot.

    It is a cool sport.

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  8. Hey climber girl! I'm glad you had fun. You're "cartoon-like scenario" can happen--I'm a little gal, and if I climb with someone over 160 lbs, on a steep (overhanging "backwards")route I brace myself a certain way so I won't get sucked up into the first bolt if they take a hard fall--or fly up out of control if top-roping. When you're belaying Baboo you might want to use the floor anchors to attach yourself so you won't fly up. T and I would be happy to join you guys sometime. Lots of fun, and yes, forearm muscles!!

  9. That sounds great! I'm terrified of heights - but sometimes I go and spend ten minutes watching the rock climbing peeps at the local indoor place, I think it's awesome!

  10. Any chance that we can get an update on your Vibram five fingers? I got the book Born to Run (about the Tarahumara) for Christmas, and I have to say that I'm fascinated by the possibilities. If you have a chance to tell us how they are working out, I'd appreciate it!

    Happy New Year.


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