My life began!
Okay .. 1984 is when my life began. But I feel like I really didn't start living until I found climbing. The world of rock climbing has opened up new doors for me. The desire to explore and push myself to limits and emotions I had never experienced before.
My first climbing experience was with my brother, who is an avid climber himself. He took me out to some rocks local to where I live and set up a top rope for me. I was initially intimidated, but knew the desire to keep doing it was there.
In July 2016 I began asking friends of mine that knew how to climb to teach me. I had seen all of the gear before and knew there was a lot to learn. When my friends agreed to teach me about climbing I admitted it wasn't just for me, but also for my son Keegan. As a mother, exploring with a little one can feel limiting at times. I knew climbing was something safe that we could do together. I quickly purchased him his own climbing harness and helmet along with my own.
Over the summer of 2016 I took advantage of every opportunity to head out on trips to learn more about climbing. From tying my figure eight, I excelled quickly into creating anchors, cleaning climbs and eventually leading. Keegan immediately took interest in bouldering and decided he didn't want much to do with the ropes and harness. It's important to me that he does things his own way and never feels pressured, so when he expressed the slightest interest it was a joyful moment. I began to realize my attempt to expand our outdoor adventures was working!
By the end of the summer the weather started to take a turn and climbing locally in the mountains was no longer an option (unless you like frozen fingers). My friends now had their sights on Joshua Tree.. the desert. A place I wasn't too fond of. After all, I moved to the mountains for snow and my plans were to snowboard all season.
- or not ?
For the first time in the last ten years I felt a change of interest. The cool and calm of the winter was no longer calling to me. And before I knew it, I was in the middle of the desert being introduced to the world of Trad climbing (Trad or Traditional climbing is when you place your own gear in the rocks). When I laid my eyes on trad gear for the first time, I saw mesmerizing jewelry. The curiosity was there for sure. Joshua Tree soon became my winter destination as my friends and I headed down the mountain weekly. Nights spent with headlamps on in the warm weather, during the winter.. my obsession with snowboarding was fading.
Needless to say, I managed to keep my tan for the first time through the New Year - new feeling. And after dead toenails, massive bruises, big falls, sweat and tears I love climbing more than I thought I would.
It is now February 2018. Winter never seemed to show up. The lake water is quite low and somehow I keep having the sensation that Thanksgiving is coming. Yellow leaves still lay on the ground, some confused flowers are in bloom. In the past I would have been sad about the warm winter. Right now I couldn't be any more grateful for my new found love of climbing.
The point is: Don't let anything stop you from doing the healthy activities you know you would love to do. There is always time - there is always a way. The best moment to get started is right now.
Suggestions for those looking to get into climbing: Ask your friends! If you don't know anyone that climbs, join a local indoor climbing gym to meet others who have knowledge of climbing gear and etiquette. The climbing community is full of amazing people and you will make some great friends. www.MountainProject.com has a Partner Finder for those who already have some experience as well.