Sports | Rock Climbing Memoirs

In the past two months, my friends and I have been going rock climbing every Saturday. However, we felt that it wasn't enough, so starting this week, we decided to add an extra session during the week. When we go climbing on Saturdays, our bodies have to readjust to the rock wall each time, which can be exhausting. By increasing the frequency, we hope to shorten the process of readjustment. Yesterday (this Tuesday), we made plans to go climbing.

After work, we ordered takeout and had it delivered to the rock climbing gym. Then, we took the subway from Chaoyangmen to Pingleyuan, transferring at Jintai Road. We went to the second floor of the gym to have a meal. My friend also finished work at Guomao and joined me. We warmed up together and started climbing at 7pm. We started with a 5.8+ route and a 5.7 route to warm up, and then moved on to a 5.10 route. My climbing buddy, Songying, has more skill and courage than me. She climbed a 5.10 route in orange color smoothly. I was still working on the unfinished 5.10 route in yellow color.

In Songying's words, I have always stayed in my comfort zone when climbing, refusing to attempt dynos, refusing to take risks of falling, and refusing to push myself. I have set low expectations for myself, just maintaining a certain level of physical activity. But yesterday was the first time I experienced the fulfillment of breaking through my own limits. Previously, I climbed a 5.10 route in yellow color but fell at a point that required a bit of dynamic movement and force. This time, my goal was to progress a little further than last time, so I gathered my courage and reached out. I made it. As I continued climbing, I reached a thin handhold in front of my chest. I had to hold onto it with effort while dynamically reaching for the large surface above. Unfortunately, I couldn't hold on and fell. However, overall, I had reached halfway through the 5.10 route. It was a breakthrough compared to my previous attempt, and I was still very happy. I hope to be even braver next time and hold onto the large surface.

Encouraged by Songying, I also attempted the orange 5.10 route that she had just finished. I only made it halfway and struggled with transitioning my body's center of gravity during a lateral move. It was time-consuming and exhausting, and I eventually fell. But I still made some progress. In the past, when I encountered difficult points, I quickly let go and gave up. But yesterday, while climbing the orange route, I kept telling myself to hold on a little longer, to try a bit more before letting go. In those few seconds, I felt that I had made a breakthrough. It was about delaying the decision to give up when facing challenges. Finally, I managed to transition my body's center of gravity during the lateral move, but I was too exhausted to continue. I felt that I could make a further breakthrough next time.

In Tommy Caldwell's book "The Push: A Climber's Journey of Endurance, Risk, and Going Beyond Limits," he writes about his experience: "When attempting difficult pitches, I noticed that my mind would act before my body. If even the slightest doubt arose in my mind, I would hesitate. Almost simultaneously, my feet would slip, and my core would start to relax. To maintain my position, I would grip the rock holds with excessive force, wearing away the precious skin on my fingertips. To an observer, it all happened in an instant, almost imperceptible—until that tiny lapse in concentration pulled me off the wall, leaving me dangling in mid-air..."

After top-roping for a while, my friend and I moved on to bouldering. There was a pink V2 route that I couldn't complete last time. It required a mantle start, followed by grabbing a difficult hold with the right hand, switching the left foot with the right foot, and stepping out to the right with the right foot. Last time, I struggled with the foot switch, as it was difficult to maintain balance with an unstable handhold and a body position in an arch. Songying didn't want me to give up easily. She had more confidence in me than I had in myself. I kept trying, trying, and trying... and finally, I did it! It felt great!

I happily high-fived Songying and couldn't help but wiggle my body on the crash pad. My first thought was, "I've never experienced this feeling before. How did I manage to keep coming back to rock climbing?" It was like someone who had never experienced an orgasm before, yet still had the determination to keep going. My second thought was that the trick is to relax a little more. Previously, because I didn't trust the handholds and didn't trust that my hands could hold on firmly, my body would instinctively tense up, making it difficult to maintain balance. Maybe after trying so many times and falling so many times, relaxing my hands actually helped me find better balance and agility. It felt amazing!

This V2 route may be a small achievement for experienced climbers, but for me, it was a unique experience and a practical joy. My expectation for my climbing journey is not to send difficult routes, but to persevere a little longer when facing challenges, to have a stronger mindset, and to delay giving up. When I fail at bouldering, I will try again, and again, and again...!

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