Before getting back into outdoor climbing, I went to an orientation session for the Climbing Center at the Student Recreational Facility at my school. I had only been bouldering once before, at a small community center in Naha, Okinawa. At the facility in Japan, the routes were labeled one through nine. At the end of the day, I was able to climb a few of the routes in the three to four range. It was an excellent workout.
Here in Connecticut, the routes are labeled one through sixteen plus. Our Climbing Center only goes up to nine. Just like in Japan, or so I thought. By the end of the day, I was still struggling with some of the ones. It is not that I am in any worse shape than I was a year ago, but that climbing here is on a completely different level.
The majority of the orientation focused on belaying (holding the rope for) another climber. I learned to tie the appropriate knots to stay locked onto the harness. I learned the correct arm motions to keep someone and myself safe as they are ascending or descending. I climbed and practiced falling and was caught my others in the orientation. It was more informative than I expected, but there is still a lot I need to learn if I am going to need to climb actual outdoor rocks.
I bought an grip exerciser in order to build hand strength. I also started following the amazing climber @sashadigiulian on Twitter. Some of the photos she posts are mind-boggling. It will take a while to get to a point where I could try anything close to what she does, but I will start with some of the twos at the Climbing Center.