Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rock Climbing

I promise myself I will learn something new each year. For 2008, I've learned more than one new thing. Rock climbing is one of them.

My first experience with rock climbing came in the GISF 2008 Treasure Hunt. One of the challenges was rock climbing. Some of the hunters will remember the image below very well.

The challenge back then was to climb up and touch the flag the mid-way of the wall. I was the one who volunteered in my team to perform the “stunt”. I was scared at first but determined to reach the half-way mark. I did. I’m glad that I did. I almost fell at the last step to the flag. But I took a leap of faith to use my last burst of strength to reach the flag. Eventually our team finished fifth in GISF hunt.

This rock climbing facility is in SynarGym, located at Sooka Sentral, just a few steps away from KL Sentral. I happened to join this gym later in July this year, about 1 month after the hunt. I took the opportunity to learn rock climbing.

During my first few attempts to summit the top, I failed. It was the easiest trail among the rest. It was the same trail I took back in the GISF hunt. I know I can reach the top, not just half way. I stopped to watch the experts. I learned the right techniques. I realized I lack upper body strength. I worked on those. Finally I managed to scale to the top at my 4th climbing session. The feeling was… unbelievable. It felt good. This is easily 5-6m (about two-storey high) vertically and the view from the top was terrific.

Following my success to the top of the first trail, I proceed to try on the other trails. First few attempts failed. You can probably imagine why by looking at the photo below.

Some trails were designed to slant outward from the ground. This makes it harder to climb because you need more upper body strength to support your whole body weight.

I failed many more times here. I bruised the back my hand near the knuckle. The wall is made of glass fibre or some kind of resin, and the surface is as rough as sand paper to mimic the rock texture. One wrong move, and you could bleed from scratching the surface of the wall. The scars are still visible here.

Now I have scaled to the top of all the trails in the gym. It was a really satisfying feeling to say the least. Had I had the belief that I cannot reach the top, I would never have reached the top. I would probably stop half way or after a few failed attempts. But instead I believe I can make it to the top, I imagine the view from the top, I never gave up, I didn’t lower the par, I raised it from half-way to the top and from the easiest trail to the hardest. It is because I have this belief, I strive my best and improve my abilities. Eventually I got the results.

There were some other climbers around me that were better than me, some females included. I didn’t mind that, it was not them that I wish to challenge. It was the top. I know that if I can make it to the top, I can do it again and again and again. And I can challenge harder trails in the future, if given the opportunity.

I believe I can.

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