You want me to climb that rock?

Alex Neighbors

I recently went bouldering with with a couple friends. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into as I hopped in the truck with an extra pair of climbing shoes they let me borrow.

Heading East, it was about an hour and half drive before we arrive to Rumbling Bald. I couldn’t help but look at the Rocky Broad River the whole time along Route 64/74. The river wasn’t running but if a flood came, the whitewater would be insane.

Back to rocks. After hiking into our first location we put on shoes, set up crash pads and went no where but up. Well both guys did. I just gladly watched, took pictures and asked questions in amazement. I have seen people boulder indoors, but never outside on a “real” rock.

When I tried I didn’t get very far. The holds were so small and/or so far apart. Mind you, it was my first time. After a few attempts, it was obvious to me that when you begin climbing every motion is swift. Before beginning climbing, study the rock, see where the best line is, what holds to grab, foot placement. There’s a lot to this sport. And no ropes.

I came to the conclusion, that had I been a good 20 lbs. lighter with fierce upper body strength, I would have been a beast on the boulder field. This doesn’t mean I’m done with climbing rocks. I’ll definitely go again. This time I’ll come with a whole new mindset; a respect for those who get to the top successfully. 

Alex blew me away with his climbing ability. He has been doing this for years. Getting up a rock seems to pose no threat when hoisting his body vertically.

Shoot. My forearms hurt for days and days after this adventure. Alex acted as though he does this in his sleep. We both went over to a rock for me to climb and he was so encouraging! Just climbing around on the rock and not really going anywhere was about the extent of my ability. And Alex just smiled and gave me a high-five every time I fell. It was a good day.

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