Nothing Rivals the Rock

November 22, 2009
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Most children and teens play sports. From hockey to soccer to gymnastics, parents shuffle kids. In place of those commonplace fitness activities, I rock climb.

Nothing can rival the adrenaline that pulses through my body, the stretch a route can give every muscle, or the combination of problem solving (to find what move to utilize to get to the next rock), creativity (I've done "heelhooks" -- hooked my heel on a hold higher than my head to balance and propel me upwards), and endurance (climbs can be anywhere from 20 to 100 feet) that you must have in order to be a successful climber.

A common misconception is that length determines difficulty or that its just like climbing a ladder. A 20 foot route can be far harder than an 85 footer, it depends on the rocks and terrain. And it certainly isn't like climbing a ladder -- you can't just walk up rocks, you have to scale them through a combination of technique, balance, and strength.

You might be thinking I'm insane for taking part in such a dangerous sport. Yes, it can be dangerous. When I rather stupidly tried climbing without a rope, I ended up falling, spiraling, and splitting my chin open when I landed on my face. But as long as you're smart (not like me), you'll be fine.

The best part about it? Lead climbing -- you carry the rope up with you, looping it to the wall as you go. The worst part is, if you fall, you F-A-L-L.

But that's fun for the inner adrenaline junky in all of us!

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