I climb. Rocks. Well, rock walls at gyms mostly. But I climb. I took a few years off after the birth of my second son, but I started back up a few months ago. Now that I’ve gotten my rhythm and some of my ability back, I’ve started to lead climb. You may have been to a climbing gym before (maybe not). Most of the ropes are connected to the ceiling in some way with one person on the back end (the belayer) and the other climbing. This is called top-roping. The rope is always above you and you focus solely on climbing. The belayer keeps the rope fairly tight so that, if you fall, it arrests your fall quickly.
Lead climbing is different. With lead climbing, you drag the rope behind you as you climb. You clip in quickdraws (a small length of very strong cord with a carabiner at each end) to hangers attached to the wall and clip your rope into the other carabiner on the draw. If you fall, the rope, now through the carabiner in the draw, is usually below you. This makes falls much more dangerous and, consequently, the climbs are much more stressful (plus harder since you have to stop and clip in the draw and the rope while hanging on to the wall). After the break you’ll see a video describing all of this. The point, however, is that climbing is like writing – just as much work and pain and sweat goes in, just as much fear and insecurity come out, and when you fall, it can be terrifying. But when you succeed, when you get to the top, it can be just as exhilarating. Continue reading Inspired by Terror