17. Free climb something that scares me

I’ve been looking for a new hobby ever since I stopped playing hockey. I tried bouldering at the indoor climbing gym in Lund and found exactly what I wanted.

After climbing indoors for about three months, I finally got the opportunity to climb outdoors with some friends. They invited me along for a bouldering trip to Kjugekull, a hiking park outside of Kristianstad with an abundance of massive, glacially deposited boulders with routes of varying difficulties.

I was excited to give it the old college try and accomplish my old goal of free climbing something that scares me. I had heard from friends how different outdoor climbing would be from climbing in a gym, but I think it’s something I had to experience to fully appreciate.

First, the problems require a much more methodical approach. Instead of making dynamic moves for brightly colored holds, I had to look carefully for usable holds and make balanced movements instead of relying on strength.

Second, footwork is so much more important. This wasn’t easy for me once I got 10-12 feet above the ground. I found myself being tentative with my foot placement at first, but quickly found that trust in my feet even on small holds was imperative.

Thirdly, and most importantly, it’s just scarier! I’m already not great with heights, and no matter how many crash pads and spotters I had, my subconscious still knew that there were rocks below me, and falling would not be fun. As I got 3/4 of the way up my first route, I realized that my options were either to finish or break a bone. Needless to say, I chose the former option. The adrenaline rush powered me over the top in a way that my friend described as “graceful like a sea lion.” My heart was pounding and my legs felt like rubber… so I went back down and did it again!

I managed to complete 4 or 5 of the easier routes we found in the guidebook (which still definitely scared me), and escaped the day with zero broken bones. It was also a fun day in the park with some great people! 9/10

-Timmy

 

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