After pulling out my dusty gear bag and brushing off my shoes, I took advantage of my early morning workout and spent yesterday evening at the local climbing gym. I always feel nervous going someplace I'm not familiar with, and the rock gym is one of them. In my two years in KC I've only been there once. I was worried my shoes may not fit right or I wouldn't be able to complete the most basic route or it just wouldn't feel the same as it did when I was in college.
Somethings you don't forget, like how to tie a figure eight knot or how tight your shoes should be. But I had forgotten how much I love climbing. The bouldering area was fairly empty, so I took my time familiarizing myself with the routes and trying to gently awaken the seldom-used muscles in my arms and shoulders. After an hour of fairly continuous climbing, I stepped back to enjoy my surroundings.
My heart was pounding, veins pulsing, and sweat was slowly building on the back of my neck. This is what I love - the thrill of finishing a hard route, the adrenaline of almost, almost falling off the wall, the indie music in the background that mixes with the smell of chalk and salt, the gentle "puff" when you sink back into the thick crash pads. The skilled climbers are mesmerizing, as they move fluidly through an overhang route, gracefully and politely defying the forces of gravity. I see beauty in strength, and strength in the human form.
There is something I love about the fatigue, as well. I can't explain it, it is an exhaustion combined with adrenaline that produces an overwhelming feeling of content. I like to climb until my hands, arms, shoulders, and core have nothing left to give. When the tingling fingertips and twitching muscles can take no more, I head home. Happy, and wondering what kept me away for so long.
4 days ago