Did anyone else suspect I was clambering for a closer there? Rock solid guess.

Let’s make this quick. I’ve gotta be somewhere by 6 and this is one of the central obstacles I have to o’erleap. In immediate retrospect I guess my time holds no relevance for you. Also why is this entirely voluntary thing I participate in considered an obstacle? Where do I need to be by 6? Just how many cups of warm, alcoholic cider has Leon imbibed by 4.30pm? The answer to all of these questions is time will tell. A cop out? Maybe, but as I’m the one calling the shots here that’s for me to decide and you to suffer through. Perhaps I’m just reflexively reciprocating my current state. Yesterday I woke up to crossfit (which is now a verb, apparently) then closed out my afternoon going rock climbing. My body is a big knot of pain and tight muscles and I’m treating it by trying to ignore the symptoms. My only consolation is that as bad as I feel today, tomorrow will be worse. Exercising is basically akin to the film The Day After Tomorrow, because that’s when disaster strikes. You finish doing physical activity, endorphins take control and you feel like Leo on the prow of the Titanic. Then the day after the day after, the iceberg strikes and you’re paralysed with pain. The only solution is to keep working out, stop that lactic acid from building up and set yourself up for the inevitable crash. So exercise is basically just a healthier version of alcoholism.

I wouldn’t go so far as to imply addiction, but I’m buying into this idea of rock climbing with some conviction. I’m not buy my own gear serious, but as an incrementally more evolved simian I’m loving this notion of clambering up sheer or inclined surfaces for the sake of it. While my modus operandi at present seems to be bolstering my ability with brute strength over talent, the puzzle solving notion of finding the most efficient routes and establishing how best to navigate these small moulded lumps of cement intrigues me. I get fascinated by watching other climbers, seeing them contort their bodies in ways I wouldn’t conceive of. People going for seemingly unintuitive grasps that alter their stance to better facilitate future steps.

It’s a whole new world opening in front of me. I learned yesterday that “undergripping” a rock is sometimes a thing that puts you into better range for accessible hand holds. Almost immediately I found a use for the technique that I would’ve been screwed without. The challenge this presents is enthralling. As always I find myself wanting to run before I can walk, attempting things beyond my level. I’m literally and metaphorically reaching for something beyond my grasp, but getting closer the more I push myself. Bouldering seems to be an entirely different game that only aids rather than detracts from skill learning. If there was any puzzle solving required in climbing, bouldering is entirely puzzle solving and technique. It’s skill and tact rather than brute strength, which throws me right out. It’s been a while since I’ve found something in which the challenge heightens the appeal, but it certainly does. I want to tick off those boxes, say I can do it. A mix of personal satisfaction and validation. It makes me feel better to know I have a base level of competence within an activity. If I can attain that, I can leave with a smile.

I certainly grinned from ear to ear passing the entry level safety test. As I remarked last time, I think the whole idea of making someone take a safety course so they can perform basic actions safety is a money grubbing crock of stool sample. Can you put on your harness? Can you tie this knot? Can you show us how you’d pull on this rope or give slack? Well, could you just show me how to do it so I know? It’d take 10 minutes. Nope, instead you’ll need to do a $35 multiple hour course. Fuck those guys. Incensed after last time and their lack of trust towards my belaying skills, I went on Youtube and looked up some tutorials. Within 10 minutes I’d learned everything I needed to know. I signed their waiver and told ’em I’d climbed a ton of times (true, albeit most of those were years ago), then took their little safety test and passed fine. You know what? I was competent and safe. We climbed and belayed without incident, with all procedures followed. The knots were all secure and nobody was close to being hurt. Here, take my middle finger. You might need it to dislodge your head from your arse.

But yeah, if there are obstacles I need to o’erleap, I’m happy for them to be rocks on a sheer wall.


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