Climbing entered my life four years ago but not as you think – I became a climbing widow.
But who wouldn’t love more time to themselves? Lazy Sunday’s sat in front of the TV or housework with no-one under your feet. Getting home from work and cooking for one, having the duvet to yourself at bedtime, , listening to a topic where you have no idea what any of it means, those self-conversations where you are always right, asking questions out loud with no-one to answer ….. ok so it’s not that great.
So on the days when the ‘boys’ went outside to climb, I picked up my book and joined them – wrapped up against the cold or with sun lotion in hand, I’d sit and watch and read. Let’s be honest here girls, in the summer its ‘abtastic’! Sat watching as all these men around you get pumped on the wall and then strip off in the heat – was that really heatstroke I had?
Then there was Dartmoor, in the cold. Arriving in the mist, a group of men and a shivering woman. Think Gorilla’s in the Mist meets King Kong (Don’t ask me to choose which was Kong). Apparently, that day it was 22 degrees back home. That day I left ALL extremities on the moors.
It was on only a slightly warmer day that I decided to tie myself to a rope and put my life in the hands of nearly a stranger. At a grade four the climb was simple enough for me to go up in my walking shoes (Ok I admit there may have been a little hoicking at one point – at least I was trying!)
But the exhilaration upon reaching the top. My fingers were numb and my cheeks flushed but boy it was exciting – I had actually achieved something. After all those years of waiting and watching I’d finally decided TO HELL WITH MY BEAUTIFUL FINGERNAILS!
My transition to climber (I use the term loosely) was rapid. My first pair of shoes bought within a week and they weren’t for the faint hearted, a tight downturned shoe that were obviously pink. The Katana – even the name was cool! (I was excited and eager what can I say!?) Then came the chalk bag and harness, I was ready to rock and roll (pun intended).
Within a month I was taught to belay and I was out with the big boys. Feeling rock on my fingers, elbows, knees, shins…….
I was no longer the climbing widow, I was the climbing wife!
(with more bruises than a dropped apple)