My friend and I have set ourselves a goal: we’re going to climb the 45 degree wall at our rock climbing center.
I call it the 45 degree wall, because at the halfway point, it juts out at 45 degrees, making it near impossible to climb. I’ve seen some experienced climbers falter at this point and fall down. Just watching them climb makes my palms sweat.
My friend, Chris, and I got the idea to climb the wall when we were on a plane ride to Japan. We sat there on our 8 hour flight watching Free Solo, a movie about a professional rock climber who scaled the El Capitan, a 900 meter vertical wall in the Yosemite National Park.
We couldn’t stop talking about it afterwards. The way he was able to find grips in the wall and cling to them with the tip of his fingers, it was like watching someone who had memorised a map of the wall in his mind.
Not that Chris and I are planning to climb free solo. No way. We’ll be strapped in our harnesses, with experienced staff around us. We just want to do it for the challenge and to gain confidence in ourselves.
Chris told me that he used to climb regularly with a friend of his back at university. He said that his friend started climbing when he got a lung transplant, and hasn’t stopped since. Now he climbs regularly, scaling these great big walls. It’s pretty inspiring.
I haven’t told Chris about my heartbreak last year. It’s not something I want to keep talking about. But a big part of climbing the 45 degree wall, is to distract myself from the pain.
Anyway, to make this goal happen, Chris and I will be meeting up regularly and training our upper bodies. So far, I can climb the kid’s wall, and do 1 lap of the monkey bars. That’s pretty much how strong my arms are.
Chris says that I’m lucky. I’m slim enough to easily gain muscles and pull my body up. He’s a bit bigger. He says he’s got chicken arms. Even his dad who used to body build has chicken arms, so it’ll be harder for him to pull his weight up the wall.
We are planning to climb to the top of the 45 degree wall by the end of May. Right now, I can’t even lift myself up the wall because the grips are too tiny.
I will try to keep this blog updated with my progress. I really want to achieve this goal. Imagine being able to climb Excalibur in the Netherlands! Anyway, I am thinking too far ahead.
I’ve learnt that if you are always chasing the thrill, you will never be disciplined enough to commit. So I’ve got to start small and practise consistently. Challenge accepted!