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bear by san

March 2017



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That was a long day. On my way out to run this morning, I cleverly locked myself out, which meant that instead of running, I got to wait for the guy from the management company to come let me in. So, you know, that wasn't exactly exercise.

Then I drove out to the wilds of southeastern Connecticut to have lunch with a friend I have known since fifth grade (intermittently) and then grabbed dinner in Middletown and met The Jeff and Alisa and Tanya for climbing. Good night tonight; I only climbed three walls, two of which I've climbed before, but one was a 5.9 and one was a 5.7-, and the third was a still unrated wall I tried back in September and could not do a thing with. And this time, with a great deal of screaming and smearing and grunting, I dragged and shoved myself up it.

It's a hard wall. It's only vertical and the holds are really good, but the route is freaking barren and all the moves are really big, and they all involve lots of reaching way off center, so I keep having to hold onto a bucket at chest level and smear my way up to it so I can reach past and grab the next hold, and it's, well--really strengthy and techniquey and, well, hard.

I'm pretty proud of myself.

I wanted to go do something easy to finish the night, but The Jeff and Alisa sent me home. I have, however, posted pictures of my climbing gear here, if anybody wants to see the torture devices.

Bloody well tired now.

No writing done today, and I think I might take tomorrow off also. I'm back to the lurking by the mousehole stage of storytelling, where I wait for the book to tell me how it ends.



Yay Middletown! Go Cardinals!
Is there any way to get into climbing except by having friends who are already into it and take you along? Your every post fills me with wistfulness.

(Besides, I'm curious to know how well (if at all) my moderate knack for spontaneous barefoot* climbing of incidental rocks translates into the official activity. At least I wouldn't have the inevitable moment 2/3 up some not-quite-vertical surface of looking down past my clinging feet and thinking, "Hm. This was dumb."

Also, is there a technical definition of 'smearing'? Because if not, I have a sneaking suspicion that 'smearing' may be most of how I go up things, when I go up.

(I need a smaller belly and ideally less weight to haul around, if I'm going to make a habit out of something of the sort, but I suppose the two might go together.)

* I can't climb without using my toes!
Find your local climbing club/gym/organization and sign up for a class?

As the owner of a certain amount of belly myself(I weigh over 16 stone) I feel your pain. :-P

This would be so much easier if I were 140 pounds.
I think....I think I was 140 pounds when I was...23?

The one good thing I can say about my weight is that I have not yo-yo'd.
*g* I was 155 when I was a middle-distance runner and a Freshman in high school, before I had the breasts and shoulders I have now. I'm a big girl.

You'll pack on a lot of muscle.
Oh, I never answered the question about smearing.

Smearing is basically using the friction between your (high-friction) rubber shoes and a flat but textures rock surface to lift yourself higher. The move I was having so much trouble on requires me to be on tiptoe on my right foot with my left foot at about hip level--too high for me to be able to just stand up on it--and my hands on a hold a little over my head. I'm going for a hold off to my left, which is about eight inches beyond where my fingertips end. *g*

There's a foothold off to the right, too high for me to get my foot on unless I can get higher.

So what I have to do is bounce on my right toes, pull with my hands, jump up as high as I can and basically just frog-kick (the smearing part: very hard on your shoes. *g*) myself higher up the wall with the right leg until I can reach that very high left hand hold and use it to pull me over the left foot. Once that's done, I can stand up on the left foot. ("Stand up on it.")

It's... er... challenging. A dyno--okay, technically a pop, as I still have one foot and one hand on the wall at all times, though at one point I just bailed on the high left foot and tried it as a dyno (a dyno is more or less a jump--one or no points of contact) and didn't have either the strength or the courage to make it work--followed by a smear and a big reach.

I'm actually starting to not completely suck at this. I really enjoy that.
Seconding what Bear said:

I didn't know anyone off-line (or even on this side of the Atlantic) who climbed, so I screwed my courage to the sticking place and signed up on my own for the induction course at a bouldering wall, was utterly terrible, fell wildly in love with it, and have been climbing for about four and a half months now.

At least I wouldn't have the inevitable moment 2/3 up some not-quite-vertical surface of looking down past my clinging feet and thinking, "Hm. This was dumb."

No, that's a pretty inextricable part of the climbing experience, IMHE *g*. It's just that you're attached to a rope or above a squishy mat when the realization hits.
Hey, where are you? Because I know a climber in Dublin....
London. And I'm starting to get to know people at the bouldering wall (friends' and family's bogglement at the idea of me climbing is only exceeded by their bogglement at the fact that I am regularly travelling on the Tube and talking to strangers -- but bouldering is full of geeks! My people!).

Just wanted to witness to the fact that it's not necessary to have climbing friends to start off with *g*.
It's true. And it's a true international sport, too--you can go ANYWHERE and find climbers.

My gym was overrun with random Russians last night. It was cool.
Snf. Climbing... Can't say I've ever done it organised, but I've been up my share of climbable structures in my days.

I really should make an effort of figuring out what continent I will be living on (it's... complicated...) so I can decide if actually committing to something like "join climbing gym" or "join martial arts class" is a sensible option.
I keep having to hold onto a bucket at chest level and smear my way up to it so I can reach past and grab the next hold, and it's, well--really strengthy and techniquey and, well, hard.

*cheers wildly*

I've mentioned several hundred times that I blame you for inspiring me to start climbing, right? Let me mention that one more time.

(And your muscles fill me with admiration and envy.)
And it sounds like you are enjoying it--and climbing better than I am. Truly the best sport ever. You can tell by how much it hurts. *g*

And it sounds like you are enjoying it

I am having ridiculous amounts of fun. Which is something of a shock to the system, given that I've spent a good quarter of a century avoiding any kind of sports-like activity.

Not to mention that it may be one of the single best things I've ever found for my mental health.

and climbing better than I am

Routes and boulder problems = apples and oranges, though (sagas and haiku?). And I do have the relative advantage of being a scrawny ectomorph to make up for my severe lack of muscle (I'm already stronger than I've ever been in my life before, and that's still pretty weak).

You can tell by how much it hurts. *g*

I had to quit a session a few weeks back because I ran out of skin on one hand *g*.
It really is amazingly good for your mental health. Hard effort, concrete results.

Kind of proof that our modern society is *designed* to make monkeys crazy. :-P

Yeah. I have a great deal of frustration that I am not a scrawny extomorph. *sigh* But you work with what you've got.

And there are some advantages to being a block of muscle and fat. For example, I did just go for a four-mile run in a t-shirt in 33-degree weather, and was a little too warm. :-P
It really is amazingly good for your mental health.

I wouldn't necessarily have thought that hanging by your fingertips from the top of a wall was good for severe anxiety issues, but apparently I was completely wrong! *g*
On technique of the other sort, briefly mentioned at the end of your post:

Do you outline your novels, or are you more of the organic school of writing? I'm trying to figure out what works best for me, so I'm seeing what other people do to get some ideas for things to try. (Mostly I've done the organic method, which works far better for short stories than long, for me anyway. Going back and fixing an organically-written-over-6-years novel-length work? No fun. Would like to avoid such in future.)
I don't believe in false dichotomies, is what, or that there are two "types" of writers.

I think there are techniques that any writer can use to construct a novel. Outlining is one, free-writing is another. And I also believe that if one technique isn't working, by all means, go try another one.

Also, what works can vary from book to book.
I didn't mean to imply a dichotomy. I'm not generally in favor of dichotomous anything, since gradations are more fun and generally more likely to be the case. Nice spectrum. Shiny.

I keep editing this paragraph and deleting it, because it's turning into a musing on the inner workings of my brain.

I can definitely see your last statement being true, and it makes a lot of sense, because it meshes with my experience. Which is somewhat biased, I'm sure.

"Do what works for you" seems to be a common refrain from pro writers. I guess I'll go with that ;)
One day, I'll get off my arse and start climbing - well equipped for it here in Bristol (England), with at least one climbing wall I'm aware of and the Avon gorge with sundry lunatics hanging off its sides most of the time.

My physical-exercise-time is mostly on two wheels now, which I love, but more upper body strength to balance out my thigh muscles would be good, and it'd be fun.

Finding (allowing myself) time is another question entirely.
I hear you on the time issue. But, you know. We decide what we're going to allocate resources to, I guess. And then either we do it or we don't.