Rock Climbing | Planet Rock

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

I was searching for a good mountain/climbing quote to intro this post and they were all saying things that pointed the focus away from the difficulties of climbing a mountain and more toward celebrating the heights you have achieved. Then I clicked on the quote of the day and it was the above quote by the wise Eleanor Roosevelt.

It just really made me think about the times when life is busy and stressful and how we deal with it. My natural tendency is to recluse and isolate myself – after all, I know that as an introvert, I need separation to recharge my batteries. However, I also know that we need people in our lives. Friendships are key.

So, I venture out.

With friends.

This week we went rock climbing in Madison Heights, MI at Planet Rock.

I have never been officially rock climbing before (aside from cruises and summer camp). I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t even sure I would be able to do it. One of the things that has taken a back burner (while starting up SoapBox Games) has been my regular gym routine.

Let me start this by saying I had no idea how popular rock climbing is! The place was packed out!

We got the Starter Package, which included everything we needed (shoes, harness, belay device, chalk, training). It also included a pass to come back again within 30 days.

We paid for our package, signed the waiver and then we sat by the fire and waited for our lesson to begin.

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After about 15 minutes, someone came over and called everyone in our group, except Brian and me. They told us that we had to wait for the next class. This was a bit of a bummer because the class was about an hour, so we were separated from our group of friends for that long.

The class was great, though. They taught us about the equipment, how to tie knots, safety checks, belaying (holding the ropes) and climbing.

Then we practiced.

When we ‘passed’ the belaying test (where your teacher climbs/falls 3 times and you have to belay/catch them), we were able to find our friends and start climbing.

There are 2 types of climbing you can do – top rope and bouldering. Rope climbing is where you have a partner belaying you (they even have auto-belayers, so you don’t necessarily need a partner). Bouldering is where you are not roped in – you free climb (like a little monkey).

I stayed mostly with the auto-belay climbing. They were easy enough to be fun, but difficult enough to challenge me. If you fall, the auto-belayer lowers you slowly to the ground, so you don’t just fall. I felt like a graceful acrobat every time I was lowered. It was fun.

I also tried to boulder a few times. The walls are shorter and there are squishy mats to break your fall (if you fall). The first time I tried it, I forgot that I wasn’t tethered, so I had no fear. When I got close to the top and thought I couldn’t finish the climb, I was about to let go and fall. In a split-second, I realized that I would be free-falling, so I determined to finish the climb.

I did.

It was exhilarating!

At the end of the night, I tried a harder bouldering course – the pink one. I was determined to do it, but it was hard. I swung my leg up and over to the grip that was just outside of my reach. I got it.

Then, it happened.

I slipped.

The very last climb.

The skin on my palm ripped.

So I dropped.

Overall, I loved this place! The facility was very clean, the staff was extremely friendly and helpful and they made it easy and fun to learn.

Although I didn’t accomplish the pink bouldering course, it gives me a goal to achieve next time I return.