Sunday, October 7, 2012

Rock climbing to the top

It’s wonderful to learn a new skill because you discover an entire culture and community around that activity. In Houston I tackled rowing- I loved our Sunday 6AM practices out on the calming water. Learning something new uses your brain in a totally different way- it’s amazing to discover new ways of thinking, new ways of solving problems.

Such as rock climbing.

Our gym has an indoor rock climbing wall. So I decided to learn how to rock climb. I’ve never done it before except on a cruise where all the six-year-olds were doing it. It’s amazing to watch people climb because they look like graceful apes.

2012-09-17 16.32.00

I completed my class this week- I am now belay certified! This means a climber’s life rests in my hands.

Yesterday chatting with another student in the class, I admitted: “I’m embarrassed at how bad I am.” She agreed, “I haven’t been this bad ay anything in a long time.” It’s refreshing to suck at something so awfully. And so frustrating.

2012-09-21 17.58.46

There is one section where the rock slopes downward. This is the spot. By the time I make it here my forearms are killing me and the chalk has sweated off my hands. This is where I stop. It’s close enough to the top to make it tantalizing when I give up and slide down.

It was a long day. I didn’t do well on my Histology exam which meant ditching vacation plans with a certain Dallas girlfriend. In class we were learning how to repel, and we needed someone to take the rope up to the top.

I volunteered. I was having my Mulan inspired moment.

And somehow I made it to the top. I glided over that tricky down-sloping section this time. Then I was stuck at an arm’s distance from the top. I looked down (whoa fourth floor) and glanced up at the top carabiner. My arms were dying but I was so close. And even if I fell, I had the rope-friction-belayer to catch me.

One breath in, One breath out. I stepped a foot on a higher hold. Then I pushed myself up- thought I would fall- but didn’t. I made it to the top. (Then repelled down off my rope which was really fun!)

I think there’s some life analogies in there somewhere but I’m just going to enjoy this moment. After not doing so hot on Histology, this is my greatest accomplishment this week.

What’s been the shining moment for you this week?


  1. I wish my attitude was as good as yours when I was in school! Great post!

    1. Thank you- it's really hard sometimes but I've been trying to be more positive. I keep reminding myself that I'm so fortunate to be here, especially now that interview season has started at Penn! :)


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