So my former boyfriend, Brent, was a huge climber (instructor), as most of you know, also a great ice climber. He gave me a book to read back in 2013 called "Into Thin Air", by John Krakauer: It was so terrifying! The movie: "Everest", with Josh Brolin (playing- of course- the severely *obnoxious and loud* Texan!), is based on the book. It's full of famous movie stars and my heart is already pounding! (Above comments made prior to watching the movie.)
"Everest" is based on a true story. The screenwriters and actors did a great service to the book and alpiners, it was not over-acted or over-dramatized; no exploitation or gratuitous BS like in so many other action movies. True to the story and an honor to the climbers who survived, those at base camps that assisted, and those that died.
No one quite understands why humans need to push themselves, but to me, it's about escaping the daily grind and coming to a place where your focus is so completely on a singular action, that there is nothing but the next move. Whether it's the next move on a wall or cliff while climbing, or being so absorbed in the sensations and sights 140 feet below the sea's surface; it's the focus required that takes every bit of mental and physical energy. There isn't a thought of danger or death; you are just absorbed completely in them moment. It's a gift to that focused, akin only to time in meditation, but harder to attain in meditation for sure.
I feel the same when I'm pushing myself on my bike, weaving through traffic: all of my senses are focused. My eyes on the road in front of my tire while simultaneously seeking out cars trying to target me, listening for cars I can't see, legs, lungs, and heart all pumping.
Is it a "thrill" to carry out dangerous activities like climbing, cycling, diving, flying a plane, surfing, hang gliding, etc.? Well, I would lie to say no-- of course it is. This is some of the attraction. That thrill concentrates focus so severely that it truly becomes a release from minutiae and, as the obnoxious Texan said in "Everest" when asked why he needs to summit mountains, it is truly an escape from the "dark cloud that follows" us.
This is why I do what many of you call "high risk" activities; I love the focus and the challenge, and yeah, it helps me temporarily escape the "dark cloud" that follows me.
This was the first time for me to climb this route on the wall. It is mainly an overhang wall, which means it is more difficult, and a higher level than I'm ready for (which is obvious in the video, don't laugh! I know I look ungainly and pathetic, but I'm getting stronger and learning!!!). The overhang means the wall leans outward toward you, so instead of climbing straight up vertically, you are actually climbing with your upper body leaning slightly backwards, so you are using much more of your core muscles, and for me, arms! In other words, hard as hell!!! I made it part of the way up before my arms gave out!
A new challenge! It was both fun and terribly difficult!
Pictures from the bottom up, lots of my bottom for sure, ha ha! Keep in mind, I am a beginner. I wanted to send these to Brent so he could critique my awful technique, wait til you see the viideo... ugh! So clumsy and amateur. But hey, I can climb 10 meters up into the air on walls that overhang toward me, sometimes with no footholds, so at least I'm trying! And it's so fun! I really love climbing!!! I'll get better over time!
Kelly and Este, my climbing partners; we are at our usual spot, climbing at the Chung Mu bridge Wall in Tongyeong!
Got a bit higher today! Learned to belay (didn't have to go to Seoul! ) and received more tips on technique. I see the road ahead as a long one: lots of improvement to be made, fears to conquered, focus improved, strength increased , and confidence built. But I can see it all happening and coming together. I see myself doing it and so the only possible outcome is that I achieve my goal...!!!
That's Kelly on top of the wall (my wonderful teacher! top, setting up for top-roping.
The second day of training in Seoul, at Gwanaksan. It was too much for me-- the heights that is. We climbed a really steep ridge, it took over an hour to get there, so my legs were wiped by the time we started climbing. I was a bit beyond my limit of fear and heights and really had a difficult time; busting out in tears twice and had to have a couple of people coach me up and talk to me so I didn't freak. Oh well, it's coming along slowly and surely. Each time I get a little higher. We went up two slabs that aren't even rated because they aren't close enough to vertical. It seems I'm less afraid to climb a vertical surface when attached to rope than I was to go up several thousand feet where one fall... ack! Anyway, I did it, and I'll do it again.
Started a 4 week climbing course sponsored by Climbing In Korea (Meetup) out of Seoul. It was a great day, I learned a lot, and met awesome peeps! All this, despite the fact the subway system in Seoul is hell on earth. :-)) (Love Seoul though!)