This video shows one of my classmates attempting a “dyno”–that’s short for “dynamic movement.” A dyno is essentially jumping to grab a hold that’s otherwise beyond your reach. There are a few things that this poor quality video doesn’t quite get across:
1) The angle of the wall is such that every move, for relative n00bs like us, is a battle against gravity.
2) The hold we’re trying to reach looks close to climber from the ground, but looks UNREACHABLY far away from the climber’s perspective.
3) The climber in this film is a handsome grad student from Barcelona and is a nice human with a beautiful Spanish accent. If he’s single, you should consider him a “catch.”
I made the same attempt a few minutes earlier. I climbed up so that I was where you can see him in this video, and thought, “this is fucking impossible. If I can only overrule my instinct, I’ll just jump and see how close I get.”
I made the same attempt, and I fucking nailed it.
It took me three tries. The hardest part was convincing myself to let go of the wall, to leap up and behind me, and to trust both my belayer (the same dude from Barcelona) and my ability to grab the hold just below the lip of the overhang. The first time I touched air. The second time I swiped it. The third time I caught it, hung, and pulled myself back onto the wall. My grunt of exertion and surprise was probably heard across the rec center.
This was after an hour of climbing where I felt completely off. I was surprised at how weak and sucky I was tonight. In retrospect, I think it had a lot to do with the fact that my substitute instructor, who was belaying me during that time, was paying more attention to chatting up fellow climbers. Nice guy, friendly guy, but the trust I have for the classmates who have been belaying me for the past couple of months is almost tangible.
I trusted them enough to take that leap of faith, when they were belaying me under the overhang.
I deserve the beer I’m drinking right now. I worked hard today moving projects forward, taking care of the kiddos, jumping off rock walls. I was witness to inspiring acts of generosity from friends and from strangers. If I can complete my final draft of my zombie story and get a bit of reading in before bedtime, this will be a ***perfect*** day.
Geeez. I love you all. I love life.
Maybe you’ve wondered about my new passion. I know that it’s a question I’d like to explore myself. Climbing has become increasingly important to me in the past half year or so, and sometimes I feel a little alone in my passion for the activity. I wonder sometimes if climbing doesn’t seem (to others, looking in) frivolous, or over-zealous in the light of my other priorities (like writing).
I think I’m falling in love. Corny, I know, but I don’t know quite how else to describe it. Climbing has awakened a passion in me. It makes me feel alive, makes me want to be the best person I can be, physically and mentally and spiritually. I want the whole-body physique capable of fighting gravity for hours, the will to push through my personal limits, and the tranquility of mind that quiets fear: of heights, of death, of failure.
Today I looked at a bouldering problem, and, judging by my recent attempts, thought that there was no way I could make it, but thought I’d give it a shot. Soon, I was suspended with my back parallel to the floor about five feet up in the air, grasping a couple of sketchy holds with quivering arms while I applied recently acquired technique and physical force to push through the crux and over the lip of the overhang. This was while being fatigued from climbing hard for the previous hour.
Which is to say that I’m learning new things about who I am. I’m this nearly middle-aged man who can’t walk without pain, and, yet, courtesy of climbing, I’m continually surprising myself. I’m growing stronger (I can do sets of pull-ups now! I could barely do two a few months ago). I’m learning that I can push past my perceived limits. And I’m finally coming to understand the preciousness of life, that we can be shut down at any time, and that we should take risks, and live fully in the here and now.
In the abstract, I think that *that’s* why rock climbing.