It was a mid week, quick decision, after an invite came my way to go out west and meet a small group for an outdoor climb and fun in the sun! I thought, hey, why not! I can leave work at 3, get my 7.5 hours in, they cant meet till 5 anyways, so that gives me time to drive out and get to the spot. That is exactly what I did! It felt so nice to be done with the work day and drive out to Banff, especially after working long days during busy season for the last two months and feeling like I had no life. Doing more than just work ALL day, SO NICE!
I drove out, windows down, music blaring and enjoyed the alone time. I met my friend at his place, hopped over to his car and then we headed out to sunshine slabs to meet the rest of the group. We were meeting up with two other girls I’d not met before. One girl had only climbed outdoors once, so this made me feel a bit better as we were both new to it. The other girl and our guy friend had much more experience than us.
When we got there, there were a few other groups there and we just popped down and watched people for a bit. My friend started explaining how it worked, setting up the routes, leading, cleaning, etc, etc. So much lingo I have to learn! I was nervous already and quite content to just observe and learn all evening!
The two women had shown up and we did our introductions and got to it! The two experienced people started setting up our first route. I loved watching them move so carefully but simply up the rock. I feel like when I climb – it just looks like a painful – pony tail flying – struggle! ha-ha! After they set up the route, the other girl tied in and was off. She was very inspiring, her second time outdoors, said she hadn’t climbed in years but had no fear. She seemed quite confident in her abilities and the rest of ours and just focused on her climb. There was a part in the rock where it was split, you had to make your way over the crack and the rock above you came out over top a little more. She crushed it though and kept on going. After her, I gave it a shot. Why was I so nervous though? So – so nervous!
My first time outdoor climbing, (go ahead all you climbers, be prepared to laugh at this newb):
- I was SO nervous, it was windy and wind freaks me out, something I am working on though!
- I don’t get intimidated in climbing gyms, but for some reason I was very intimidated by the other groups out there, I didn’t fit in, and I thought it was VERY obvious.
- Dam, rocks are sharp! ha – I need to learn to not go knees in first… the whole “sharp” thing.. still freaks me out.. I can’t explain it
- Rock feels niiiiiiiiiice. . (not on the knees, buuuut you know) call me a hippy – dam I love the out doors, hugging the rock, feeling every indent and crack, brings me back to climbing anything and everything as a kid! This is amazing!
- Falling outdoors seems like it will be so much worse than indoors and that scares me a lot.
- I hope nothing comes out of this crack that my hand is in and bites me….
And that’s a few of the things that went through my head on my first few moves of my first climb outdoors!
I didn’t make it over the gap in the rock and let fear get the best of me. It still felt awesome though. After that route, we headed to another route that two other guys had set up and they switched with us. Apparently the girls we were with knew them so – that was nice! The more the merrier and I LOVE meeting people.
This next route looked kind of impossible for me to accomplish. From where I stood – it looked flat, no holds, intimidating. The first girl goes (the experienced one) and nail it. The second girl goes, (no fear girl) and she also crushes it, she had a good slide at the top but she got it! She was determined. Then they ask me if I want to go. Not thinking I would make it very far, and especially not over the corner part, where there is a bit of overhang over top of me. I did though! I love corners, and I love the cracks, and I made it. What I do like about outdoor – there are no color coded holds that you’re stuck on, you can use what ever along that route.
I took a second to look down and couldn’t believe it, I was doing this. The people I was with were SO encouraging and kind. It gave me the boost I needed. As I got closer to the top, that was were it seemed to be – just flat. How was I supposed to get to the top? I had to move over to the right a bit more but that seemed nearly impossible because it was so flat. It was amazing though, how my toes found places to go and my hands managed to hold on. I made it over to the right and ended up on the corner and, basically hugged it, straddled it, what ever had to be done. The right side around that corner had a great hand hold and that was all I needed. I made it!!!
What a rush I had, such a rush! So happy, such a great feeling of the struggle and – overcoming the self doubt I had – the people who I’d never met before were so encouraging and coached me through it, giving me the boost of confidence I needed. They could tell I was nervous and didn’t push me at all. After that, I was done! I was beyond happy and I was shaking ha! I didn’t want to push it anymore that night. I ended up watching everyone climb the rest of the evening and belayed a few times and that was great for me!
Eventually, the wind picked up, and it was getting dark with a large rain cloud coming our way. We started to pack up, and they explained cleaning the route as we got everything together. That was that!
We all headed to Canmore for a bite to eat and a beer. The two guys who we switched routes with, ended up joining us as well! It was a great night, great experience and great people!
Till the next time!