Spring climbing at the RRG
Well I’d call my first rock climbing trip of the year a success. I recently spent 3 days in the RRG climbing with my kids, some friends, and of course, Stella, my truck – a must have for climbing at PMRP. It is the first time I have climbed outside since my accident and my first time back to Kentucky since last April, and I am happy to report, it is still an incredible place!
Before leaving I was sure to do some lead climbing in the gym. This was a good move for me, I think it helped with my confidence. I haven’t lead anything since July of last year, so practice is good. Turns out I kinda forgot all efficient clipping techniques, but now I have a new goal!
The weather was amazing. We had warm, sunny days, it even reached 85 on our last day which was delightful for this Michigan girl. Being outside and having contact with real rock again did so much good for my soul and for my kids’ souls too. My teen-aged daughter sometimes “forgets” her connection with nature; however, this trip fully reacquainted her with it.
For me the best part was not how hard I climbed (I didn’t really climb that hard) but how mentally present I climbed. For the first time while leading, I didn’t get nervous or sketched out when I was above my last bolt. It was really an exciting discovery. I noticed that I was solely focused on where the next move was and didn’t give a second thought to moving above my protection and finding really good placements before clipping. In the past, I would get nervous inside and want to just clip ASAP and would not necessarily be in the best position for doing this. This time I trusted that if I kept moving, there would be some good holds and I would find them, which I did.
I attribute some of this to the yoga I have practicing 5 days a week, lately. My breath work has become such a huge part of my climbing. I kept making sure I was breathing in and out, especially when at cruxes. I noticed my breath would get faster and faster, but continuous. After the crux on 27 Years of Climbing, my belayer yelled up to me to shake out and regulate my breathing before moving to the chains. This was great advice and allowed me to send this 5 star, super fun climb.
I guess the only drawback of this kind of focus was that on another climb I almost missed a clip because I was just breathing and climbing! Good thing I had an attentive belayer (thanks Darcy!).
Three days down there was more of teaser than anything. Ever since I’ve been home I just keep thinking about going back. Hopefully RRG, will we meet again soon.