I had my first outdoor rock climbing experience a few days ago! I’ve climbed hundreds of walls in the gym, done bouldering in the gym, bouldering outside, and now, finally, a taste of outdoor sport climbing.
I started climbing last year and since then, I’ve fallen in love with it. There’s just something about it that’s hard to come across any other way. It’s a physically demanding, mentally testing, and exhilarating sport.
And personally, it allows me to enter a flow state almost immediately because of how much focus is required.
Even though you’re tied in and it’s no big deal if you fall, being on a wall simulating myself holding on for dear life still triggers a level of presence that I normally don’t have.
The day of the climb
My friend Taylor and I wanted to scope out some local climbing spots for potential top rope or sport climbing. So without too precise of a plan, we started on our adventure.
The first spot we looked at was called Dinosaur Rock. It’s just outside of Carson City, NV.
I forgot to get any pictures of it, but it’s a pretty cool formation with a few top rope chains which allow for around 5-10 routes and it’s in a very accessible area. The main downside I see for this spot is that some of the routes seem pretty exposed to the sun and it can get dangerously toasty out there.
After Dinosaur Rock, we headed to our second stop of the day, an area nestled between Spooner Lake and Lake Tahoe called Spooner Crag. The main rock is a gem with about a dozen routes on it plus a few additional boulders in the surrounding area.
After a quick tour, we decided that we should give it a go. We didn’t exactly plan to climb that day, but we had a gear and everything, so figured why not. Taylor, having a bit of outdoor climbing experience already, took the lead and we just kind of went for it.
When it was my turn, I remember standing at the base of the rock after tying in and just freezing up for a few seconds. It’s so funny to me because I was so pumped to try it and then once I was standing there it was like whoa, is this really happening? But after a brief pause, I got started and it felt great.
Being out there and doing it was great, but man it was difficult. Similar to the differences between indoor and outdoor bouldering, I clearly have a lot of learning to do about outdoor climbing before I can approach either skill or confidence levels that I’ve gotten to indoors.
So here I am on the wall!
I’d love to say that after this picture was taken, I continued to scale all the way up the wall and stood atop it in all my glory.
But unfortunately, I did not. I tried for a little while to figure out how to get up to the next bolt, but I wasn’t able to.
In all, we each did two routes that day. It may not sound like much, but it was an amazing day.
My first outdoor climb is a milestone. It’s the first of many to come and I can’t wait to go on more climbing adventures.
For anyone who has never considered rock climbing, maybe you should! Climbing is becoming more and more popular with new gyms popping up all of the time, although COVID-19 has slowed that for now.
One of my goals during the pandemic was to continue trying new things. I can safely say that I’ve done that and some.
I’ve tried a lot of new things with my blog. I tried outdoor bouldering the first time and now outdoor climbing. I’ve done a dozen new hikes, running trails, mountain biked, camped, and have been building new skills.
I’m really grateful for my life, the beautiful place that I get to call home, and for my amazing friends and family.
What made this all possible me trying new things, but I don’t know if I could have done it without the people around me.
For years I struggled with depression and anxiety. But also at that time I wasn’t very active and I didn’t have many hobbies. It’s been my experience that those are related.
Making a commitment to myself to try new things and aim to be 1% better every day has been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.
I’ve been more active, felt better, and done more in the last year than I have the in 5 years before that combined.
Thanks for reading! Have you tried anything new recently? If so, what was it? Leave a comment below!
Or maybe there’s something new that you’ve been thinking about trying? If so, this is your sign from the universe! Do it!
To read more about my rock climbing journey, I have another post where I go more in depth. Read that here: ‘The Best Way To Live’.
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Until next time,