Monday, November 05, 2007

climb every counting

I was hanging on to my dear life at least six meters above ground only using all fingers that I have but both of the thumbs. It had stopped raining. The wind was cool. But intimidating. My slippery right shoe try to hold on to a very narrow, jagged, protrusion. My left hand was getting sore. "I can't [hold on]!" I yelled to myself. There were shouting that I understood from down there, but I just couldn't really process them. "Let go of your left foot! Reach the one on your knee!" were only two of other yelling. It sounded a bit panicky. With the last "I can't!", this time it meant I could not reach it, I let go. And fell.

The failure, third time in a row, started to sink in as I was hanging there, six meters mid-air. On the way down, I started to see that damn slippery boulder that could cost me my life. When my feet was on the ground, the yelling voices turned to a softer tone encouraging, "That's OK. You'll make it next time. Yeah, wall climbing isn't as easy as it looks."

Damn right it isn't.

When I got to the climbing area, I had a difficulty approaching the wall with humility. First, I climbed the jambu tree in front of my house daily. I got to the highest branch. Second, I think I have a better-than-average upper body strength. I can do koundinyasana 2, sirsasana, bakasana, astavakrasana and parsva bakasana for a full five breath on a good day. Third, I had strong legs.

I didn't think that it was gonna be easy. I was just fully prepared.

On the first three levels, which I insisted that I tried to conquer these first to brush up my ego, I was doing fine. Despite having zero hours of sleeping on the night before, I got to the top. I was advised to take a break and learn how to do bouldering, moving horizontally using grips which comprises fifty percent of what climbing is all about, before move on to the most difficult one.

Bouldering helps me a lot to learn that most of the time you do have to do series of maneuvers like throwing your body to the sides or quickly change your leaning foot, or reaching for a grip. It was the first time that I realize that I had longer limbs than I want them to be and despite the countless yoga (and, psst don't tell anyone, but in-front-of-a-mirror dancing) sessions, it is still difficult to tell your body to get to a certain position.

This can not get to a certain position is the reason I fell.

"It's like dancing." one of the instructors said. "You have to take your time. Just follow the counting. There are times that you need to go fast there are times when you need to take things slowly." he continued. "You, take things too abruptly. Far too rushed. Just stay cool. Left hand up. Right hand up. Left foot up. Right foot up. Right hand up. Right foot up. And so on."

On the last try, I tried to emulate this take your time philosophy. And surprisingly, I got to higher grips than the previous attempts. However, this time, my forearms were spent, my fingers were aching, and I know that there will be a next time when I am much more prepared and will be back to conquer the level six wall anyway, so I let go.

In the end of the session, aching fingers and all, I thanked the instructors who invited me to come again and the only reply that I can think of was, "Of course!" I have a feeling it even came out an octave too high for I was too excited.

On the ride home, I told my climbing partner that I must have looked really awkward trying to utilize my legs the way I did the whole night. He begged to differ. Well before anyone sees any picture, he replied (and I'm not paraphrasing), "I think you looked cute as a button up there."

Just those words made me determined to climb again.

Wanna try?

Panjat Dinding Pondok Indah Mal
Mal Pondok Indah 1
Jalan Arteri Pondok Indah
South Jakarta


mellyana said...

you and your physical activities. tsk tsk tsk. i am tempted! shite. no way, it will be the most embarrassing moment for moi.

Bie said...

mel, the level 1 wall is designed for 5 year-olds and above. So don't fret. As long as you can climb a ladder, have no phobia of height, you can conquer it.

(at least that's what the instructor told me. Hehhehee..)