50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year #32 – Go rock climbing

20160129_195222This is another thing that I have avoided because my brother is really good at it. He has been a rock climber for years, climbed mountains, and naturally gravitates to this kind of activity. I have next to no grip strength, never have, and I’m short and uncoordinated. I know my attitude toward this stopped me from having fun or joining other friends who enjoyed it so I knew it needed to be on this list.

I discovered that Jaydan Dick, Krista’s son (she was one of my Brides Maidens, ate bugs, etc. etc.). Jaydan is 14 and growing so fast we can almost see it happening. He’s currently 5’11 and built like a spider – long limbs and hardly any torso. I, on the other hand, am 5’4” and built more like a bumblebee – an improbable flyer. Jaydan had done it before and already knew he loved it. I was not so sure.

We made plans for Friday night, January 29th. This was after I had done my ice skating crazy thing in the afternoon – I was already kind of dead. Cliffside Climbing Gym is pretty much the only place in town to go and it’s excellent. It was packed with a birthday party and loads of university students but there was always lots of room to move around.

We took the little orientation session and then started on the easy walls – I would call them the bunny hill of climbing walls. When I called earlier they said runners would be OK for a first timer. I learned quickly that this wasn’t the case. Just save yourself some agony of you go and rent shoes there – it’s worth every penny of the $3.

Jaydan flew up and when it was my turn I crawled up slowly. Then I got to the top. Then I realized why I really hadn’t wanted to do this before. Just like with Trapeze School (or maybe not quite as dramatic), when you get to the top you have to let go and there is a brief moment where that sensation of falling appears. I practically threw up right there. That would have ended our night pretty quickly because Jaydan was right below me and you know I wouldn’t have missed that target.

We kept going up and down and I got better at letting go at the top. The nice thing about a climbing gym like that is you can go with someone who is much more advanced than you are. Each time you have to unhook everything to switch positions – one person climbing and one person at the bottom – so you can quickly go from a bunny wall (me) to a spider wall with overhangs (Jaydan).

Although my arms were absolutely dead at the end, I really enjoyed this and Jaydan and I had a lot of fun. We plan to keep going and now there are others who want to come with us so we can have some fun as a group. I may even get my own climbing shoes. I think when my brother reads that he’ll fall over in a dead faint. “Who is this person calling herself my sister?” Perhaps I should warn him ahead of time.

Why was this crazy?

Fear of falling. Fear of jumping. Fear of public humiliation. Fear of not immediately being good at something

Would I do it again?

Oh yeah! Gotta get me some shoes!

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50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year #30 – Climb a tree

As I described before in the rock climbing blog (coming), I’m not really built for climbing things. So, the thing that kids just spontaneously do and I have avoided like the plague seemed crazy enough to qualify for my year. I would climb a tree. Even when I was a kid I didn’t really climb a lot of trees.

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Since I’m also a geocacher, I thought I might has well kill two crazy things with one climb. Sometimes geocaches can be found in trees. The degree of difficult for the geocache itself is relatively low – you can often see it easily. The terrain difficulty, however, is another thing. For those who are geocachers this cache was SITC#6: VV Abies. I think SITC means Stuck In Tree Cache. The terrain difficulty on this one was 4/5.

I put it out to some geocaching friends who have helped in some of my crazy things – the Conair plane crash hike, motorcycle riding, etc. John, Yvonne, and Tracy all leapt at the chance to do it with me… or at least laugh at me while I did it.

“Let’s go watch Vesta get uncomfortable” is now a popular pastime for many of my friends.

We knew there was a tree climb cache in Valleyview, one near the Safeway in Sahali, and another in some trees on the hill above Costco. The Valleyview one seemed to have the less public humiliation attached to it, and it was probably the most accessible. Crazy thing – here we come!

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John brought a stepladder, which we didn’t really need because the bottom branches of this lovely tree were fairly low. Still, I used it (crazy… not stupid!). Tracy warned me about the sap, which I hadn’t considered… ew! John went up first and blazed a trail so I could see a good route to go up. I went next. Once I got up there I had to figure out how to hold on to the tree while unscrewing the lid to the cache and signing the log inside. This I hadn’t considered! At least I remembered to bring a pen. I if I hadn’t I’d have had to go down and come back up again.

Going up was OK. It wasn’t great, but I made it. Coming down was another matter. You know that piece of advice “don’t look down!” – well how the hell are you supposed to come down the tree without looking down??? I finally made it and after a few minutes at the bottom I stopped shaking. When I was up at the top an elderly woman walked by wondering what they are all looking at. Was a cat trapped in the tree? Was there some other wildlife? Was there an interesting bird? No, it was a 49-year-old woman built like a bumble bee clinging desperately to a branch about half way up a tree. When Yvonne told her what I was doing she thought it was great.

Why was this crazy?

Fear of falling, fear of public humiliation, lack of coordination or spider limbs… the usual!

Would I do it again?

As long as John brings the ladder!