Friday, February 01, 2008

Friday, 01 February 2008 - More indoor climbing adventures

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for more indoor climbing adventures.

Because the weather isn't cooperating with our outdoor climbing plans, S and I decide to visit the rock climbing gym this evening for a hard workout. We're pleased that our climbing partner, Mark, will join us. The three of us last climbed together on New Year's Eve, so we welcome this impromptu reunion.

And, so, for nearly three hours, we take turns climbing and belaying. First, we warm up on the easiest climb on the vertical wall before attempting more challenging routes on the overhung wall. It's an exhausting and exhilarating session. During the final minutes, S and Mark attempt one more boulder problem while I happily do laps along the easier traverse on the far wall.

After Mark leaves, S and I watch a teenager climb along the roof of the "cave." We've seen him twice before, climbing with his friends. Tonight, he climbs alone.

We introduce ourselves. His name is Thomas. He's the founder and president of his high school's climbing club. We tell him how impressed we are with his climbing. I ask him for tips on climbing a roof (I've not yet tried this), and he explains the basic technique. Thomas is modest, polite and thoughtful. He obviously enjoys talking about climbing and his climbing exploits.

That's what I like best about the sport: the camaraderie among climbers regardless of age, physical size, experience and ability. To my surprise, even "celebrity" climbers stop to chat, offer advice and pet T when we visit Red Rock Canyon.

In my mind, shared experience and common challenges bring climbers together. The rock, after all, does not discriminate. The route may be easy for some and hard for others. Still, to reach the top successfully, each climber must make every move.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


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