lead whip

i’ve been bouldering off and on and off and on again for several years and i’ve been sport climbing in the gym sportadically during those years, but never had the desire to lead.  (click here for an explanation of lead climbing)  it’s probably half due to the fact that my heart was in bouldering rather than sport climbing, but also because the higher i get the more heady i become.  i start imagining equipment breaking or my belayer not paying attention.  i imagine the fall from 50 feet and how much time that is to think about how much the impact’s going to hurt.

well here it seems my only options for climbing partners happen to be very very talented and very serious about their climbing.  it’s still fun, but there’s a new sort of sincerity to it that i never experienced in nashville.  not because it didn’t exist (i climbed with some super impressive folks there. super impressive), but probably because i didn’t feel the need to adopt it in order to stake my claim in the climbing community.  i could be a casual climber and still be part of the crew.  here, that’s not an option.  you get into it and learn fast, or you’re not going to have climbing partners.  period.

so two weeks ago i decided, “what the hell…let’s do it…” and after a 3 minute explanation on quickdraws and clipping in, i hopped on the wall with the rope dangling below me.  i cleared my mind and never gave it a second thought.  it was exhilarating, to say the least. (the next time i went to the gym i found out that was completely against the rules and that i was supposed to have been tested before i started in on anything like that.  oops.  welp…i’m certified now!)

i’ve slowly been working my way up, getting used to clipping in, learning how to belay another lead climber and getting comfortable with when to push for the next clip and when to take up the slack and rest for a second first.

until today…

…when (like an idiot) i decided to pull up rope for the next quickdraw knowing that i couldn’t last on my left hold.  i fell almost 15 feet before the rope caught.

somehow i still never got into my head.  i wasn’t scared.  i was void of thought.  i was only thinking about how my body would be oriented once the rope caught.  but when the rope did catch, corey piped up, “never.  ever. EVER do that.  if you think you might fall, do not pull up rope for the next clip.  just suck it up and tell me to take in the rope so you can rest.”


at least now i know, right?  and at least now I know that A) i’m learning to trust my belayer (at least certain belayers)  and B) there’s one more stupid mistake i won’t be making again.

i’m glad i made it while it was correctable; i make a lot of mistakes that aren’t.

next step: learning how to control my head really lead climbing: out of doors.  i’ll let you know how that goes.


1 Response to “lead whip”

  1. 1 MommaDeb March 20, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    You enjoy teaching me more and more how to put you in His hands, don’t you?

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Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.
-Kahlil Gibran

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