About a month or so ago, my friend, Fanny, invited me to take a lead climbing class with her at a climbing gym in Seattle. After Andy’s altitude sickness in Yosemite, I figured I might as well learn in case we ever get into a troubling situation.

“Sign me up!”

During my lead class, I learned how to clip properly, how to avoid common mistakes like z-clipping, and how to set up my anchors. I most importantly took some practice falls, where Fanny caught me.

Seattle Stone Garden Climbing

Stone Gardens’ Outdoor Wall

I have been climbing on and off since 2006. I have to admit that the early years were mainly top rope climbs in Pennsylvania and West Virginia when I could escape from school and work. Since moving to Seattle, I have more opportunities to climb (and a climbing partner close by). I joined a gym, which is hard to go to because of the crowds, but it is a good place to build endurance.

climbing gear

Climbing gear

I recently led my first sport route. It was a perfect route for me to lead because it was easy grade and not too high. I then lead another one beside it.

Exit_38 practice

Exit 38 – Snaffle Baffler (5.7)

This experience caused me to reflect on my outdoor adventures. . .

Even though I am still gaining endurance and technical capability, I am quickly gaining confidence. I have come to the conclusion that the more I get out and do, the better I am trusting my footing or my holds. Since I only hiked and climbed on occasion and in the summer months back East, I was not able to perfect my confidence and continue to strive.

“Practice makes perfect.”

I am quickly learning that my worse enemy is myself. Before, I was quick to tell myself I couldn’t do it; I was tired, etc. Now, I know I still have to try even if it takes me awhile to complete and get past my mental barriers.


Getting there!

How do you conquer your fears?

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