® Benjamín Juárez


Climbing Challenge

I have ropes all around me and I am about to do a new thing that I have been planning for a good while. A decade or two? I never raised up so much money that I could figure to get into what I have considered an expensive sport such as climbing. Be it in the wild or in city indoor walls, perhaps this is not so unreachable after all? Anyhow, I am for enjoying this ride.

Is the mountain challenging me? It must be a flit of a imagination that I can figure that such an outstanding, pervasive and imposing entity could care to level with a element so small and forgettable that doesn't even amount to the strength of an ant. And yet I face the enormous wall of rock standing from below and feel how nonsensical and fun it can be to try and surmount upon the potential event of just walking and stepping through the crevices with feet, hands and mindless gut.

The security measures are already taken cared of, right? I hope so. The wall has insertions of cramps where the rope goes up and stands safe to my destiny some 50 feet above: or is it less, or more? Anyhow, I believe that this should suffice, along with my companion who secures the rope right next to me and remains below in the event of my fall.

I am uncertain where to step first, considering that as a first attempt I have been told to rely more on my legs than on my arms. As much as I fiddle with options I still am assertive in that I am intending to climb with the conviction that it is possible under these conditions: rocks, fitness level, mental preparedness, and emotional expectation and of course, companionship. I begin to step in one point of the rock flat points and then another and move in what I perceive to be a quick manner. Soon on I realize that the continual analysis and evaluation of the rock under my feet is unavoidable. It is not a matter of randomly looking down, which may cause vertigo, and I luckily didn't succumb to.

The calls from below are invaluable indications to follow a proper path, because with no path on the rock, you have no place to go: this meaning that if I would not to find where to place my feet and hands on each movement forwards and up, then I would simply stay at a stop with no other way to keep moving. The rock can offer a number of places where to move, but also places to stop as dead ends for a novice climber. This figuring out of the paths and places to rely on is intriguing and exciting as one resolves a puzzle with body parts and shifts of weight. Each step up may seem just as the previous because of distance, but also adds an increased separation to the floor and level of risk, determination and excitement. I go up and up and up, until I reach a brief peak in which I simply stand and breath. Yes, for an initial attempt I have been pushing much and did not take speed and effort into account, just rushed with emotion and seeking one step and grasp after another without considering energy saving and the distance to the top.

Getting half way above to the end I stop and breath. And listen, to the silence, to the wind, to the precise and necessary indications coming from below with a single ear, sided to the outside of the mountain in such a way to focus attention and hear clearly how, when and where to continue moving. With all of this I realize that I have gone past the point that the previous person and attempt went, and feel the freedom of moving through a tough patch. With the inertia of reaching the end I climb my last pushes up and happily touch the end of the road rope. And with little time past, I dialogue downwards and begin the descent. I should not even place my hands on the rock, with one foot at a time and a perpendicular body inclination against the mountain should do well enough. This does not come at first, but I have to hear the call: Just lay back, let your hips get lower at the height of your legs and grab the rope with your hands. Just Trust!! And so I do.

Once down, we decide that we would do another path, with the same top, but from a different point from below. The technique get more tricky but I've got a rough idea: When there is no obvious step, one could also seek for crevices in the rock and insert the foot diagonally. Also, when there is no other option, one could even attempt to step on the flat surface of the vertical rock while grasping well with the hands and a special movement of the hips outwards from the vertical to reduce the slipping. This happens several times in the second attempt to reach the peak, and the path is more challenging.

I get up to 70% of the path by my own, nobody helping me to move upwards by pushing or sustaining my weight. On a reach of strength and potency I realize that my next move is only possible if I put my hands at a lower point and I push my body upwards and the right hand is left behind and below in a slant movement up. This creates a quick and strenuous movement that cringes my upper body muscles so tight that I feel that they are about to explode. It is not out of fear or lack of interest that I believe that I cannot go on. It is simply that I picture myself later in the day or on the following day not being able to perform basic movements without pain. And I notify by hand gestures that I am good and happy but exhausted and request to be pulled down, which is happily denied. I could go on, I am told. And so I try and move some steps more with a sense of extreme effort, bodily stress and going further than imagined. This happens some three or four times, and I reach the top. In these last tries I did trust in the rope and the holder: I got catch in mid air, and this sustainment allowed me to reach more than I could have done with the strength that I found left. The last 5 steps are quite easy, less vertical and a huge accomplishment, even if aided by others help.

Once above, twice, I do not take the time to enjoy the view, had I realized that at the time, perhaps it was enough for me to reach above, and the social conventions of tourism would have simply pushed to congratulate and take down, with praises, but quickly and with little to no contemplation: that is for the professionals that have reached a peek and may have, or not, the spare time to appreciate the moment and place. Or could we all? I feel great anyhow.

Best sport day ever. Also hi above is snowboarding, but this one today went even further atop.