Not someone who would stay at home and rot, I joined race partner Stanley for rock-climbing at Camp 5, One Utama last Friday. I have always been intrigued about scaling walls and rock, although I am shit scared of heights. I live on the 17th floor and you will not find me lingering on the balcony for long.
I distinctly remember being absolutely quiet on my cable car ride in Langkawi. As the winds blew and the car rocked, my palms were completely soaked with sweat. To think that I would be naturally comfortable with heights with my 6-foot 1 inch frame. Hah. Life’s little surprises.
Strangely enough, the fear of heights did not prevail on my first ever attempt at rock-climbing. After signing up and collecting my harness and climbing shoes at the counter, Stanley gave me a brief on how to wear the harness before introducing me to the Boulder. A boulder is exactly what it is – a big, fat piece of rock, with a matted surface on the ground for safe landings. It’s a good place to start climbing, and to practise technique. I did a couple of tries, but not without some difficulty at first. Had to get use to getting a grip with my fingers, and also learning how to place my feet. And most importantly, to ‘step up’, as they called it.
Rock-climbing, is not about strength of your limbs, as I learned, it is all about technique. Hands are used primarily for balance, as your legs ‘step up’ to the next level.
Having succeeded in climbing the boulder several times, Stanley took me to the 10m lateral wall. He thought me how to secure the rope to my harness with proper knots, and showed me how belaying works. Stanley showed me basic safety procedures and I practiced tying the knots and securing the harness.
With some support, I went up. I got up three quarters of the way but my upper body and arms felt fatigued. Stan earlier thought me how I could ‘hang and relax’ with one arm and I used that to regain some strength. Stan urged me on, and I finally reached the apex.
I think I gave Stan a huge wedgie, as I came down, him supporting my rope. Hahah. I watched Stan as he did one climb, a quick one too. Experienced as he is, he told me it wasn’t the best of techniques he used, and somewhat cheated by using strength of his arms to pull himself up.
After resting for a couple of minutes, I went up again, this time smoother and quicker. My first ever climbing experience, and I was hooked from then on. I plan to come by every week and perhaps join as a member very soon. The adrenalin rush is addictive, and I like the fact that it is a huge challenge.
More climbing to come, folks!
Interested in indoor climbing? Visit Camp 5.
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