What do a handful of intrepid Seniors do on a wet and rainy February day? We plan an outing to the Toronto Climbing Academy to learn the ropes about wall climbing.
After the all important liability waivers were signed, we were taught how to put on our harnesses, and secure our climbing ropes.
We practiced proper belaying techniques to *spot* each other while climbing, and then we were finally allowed to try the auto belaying system – relying entirely on the equipment, rather than each other.
With sweaty hands and shaking limbs, we challenged the wall and ourselves. It turned out that the hardest lesson we had to learn was actually letting go of the wall so the belay system could gently drop us back to the ground.
The key word there is ‘gently’. Let’s just say my first couple of trips down the wall were less than graceful. I was grateful for the soft cushiony flooring.
Each of us at some point clung to the wall, unable to let go. One person in our group had to eventually climb back down because she simply couldn’t trust that the belay system would catch her.
With the gym virtually empty except for our small group, we were able to climb as often as we wanted, trying sections with different degrees of difficulty. We laughed, we gasped, we cheered one another – until we simply couldn’t climb anymore.
My hands and forearms ached from the death grip I had on each wall hold.
Would I do it again? You bet I would!