not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Rock Climbing Day 2

Rock Climbing Day 2:

After some fresh fruit, yogurt and muesli, i met Yong @ the Green Discovery office. We hopped into a TukTuk and drove several kilometers down the road. We hopped out, crossed the SKETCHIEST bamboo "bridge" and then walked a few kilometers more through a small village, sugar cane farms, and herds of cows. The backdrop-- huge, beautiful limestone cliffs. As we walked I was a little bit worried about my second day. My body was still pretty tired and I was a bit discouraged from my last climb of the day before-- only making it half way and slicing up my fingers. Today I had all of my fingers taped, and nearly all of my body was rubbed down with tiger balm. Thankfully we were in the SHADE today! My first two climbs were a level 4. The day before my first ever experience climbing was on a 5a, my second on a 6. So...this was good for me!! I made it up pretty quickly and then climbed it again from a different angle. Getting through this swiftly and successfully gave me the confidence that I needed. I did two climbs on a 5A and two climbs on a 5B. I didn't fall, I never needed to just hang and take a break, and I made it to the top of each one. And really- I wasn't scared at all. My biggest emotion was frustration...when I was stuck to the side of the wall with no idea where to grab next, or where to place my next step. This is purely my ego-- not ever wanting to be a "beginner" hahaha. After 6 climbs we finally took a LONG lunch break. My arms were fucking shot. My fingers hurt. And my whole body was shaking. I was stoked on lunch- as discussed and promised, Yong didn't make me a "tourist" lunch-- he brought LOCAL LAO food. On the menu was grilled catfish, fermented cabbage and spring onions (which had a VERY potent smell), cured buffalo skin (odd appearance and texture, decent taste- but not my cup of tea), sausage, sticky rice and jaew roasted tomatoe and chili dip. Oh yeah, some of those yummy spring-roll-esque things that I had at the morning market in Luang Prabang. We sat and enjoyed our lunch by a wall/cave that is level 7A...very difficult. Marcus from Switzerland, Mike from California and two guys from New Zealand were climbing this seemingly impossible scenario. Mike is great-- he lives in northern Cali and then works 6 months in yosemite. He is soft spoken, sweet and buff. He is an avid rock climber and the most advanced of the bunch. He did the lead climbing on this bit. Lead climbing means you climb without the safety of a rope and quick grabs. It's YOUR job to free climb and set up the quick grabs for the others To hook into. Marcus is the least advanced- but god bless him- he gave this difficult run a go...several times, with no success. The guys from New Zealand are pretty damn good climbers and though I didn't get their names, they were good guys as well. It was so relaxing and enjoyable to eat a delicious Lao spread in the company of such fine Human beings. One thing that I really like about climbing, which is different from surfing, is the lack of ego. Even when I was climbing the easy level 4, everyone cheered me on and offered me Advice or pointers ("try for that pinch by your left hand..."). After lunch I ran up the 5B again, and felt pretty beat. Yong suggested we try the 6A before heading home, and though my body cried no, my ego said yes. One more climb, 6A, don't quit now!! Well, half way up the very steep, very difficult wall my body told me to F-off. Completed exhausted and defeated I yelled to Yong, "you got me?!?!?!", and the second that he said yes I let go. I probably shouldve saved time and strength and called it quits before this wall, but I had to atleast Try. We packed up, trekked out, made it safely across the bamboo bridge and then the TukTuk dropped me at my bridge. I crossed the bridge then tossed my bag. Clothes and all I walked into the river and laid down. Goddamn, it felt amazing!! Going to have a mellow up for my 3rd and final day of rock climbing. I'll be learning how to LEAD CLIMB!! After talking to all the guys I think im going to invest in a harness and sneakers-- make this a full time hobby. I'm hooked. Terrified of heights?!?! Never.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so proud of you!!! how fun is that???? call when you can!! love you! Julisa