Rock Climbing

April 14, 2009

By Elena Garcia

Garrett the badassIt all seemed so simple. A wall with handles, you climb up it, the end. Um no.

On Sunday, Garrett and I got a text from a few of our friends (Aaron and Gina) asking if we wanted to go Rock Climbing. Neither, Garrett or I, had ever been and we thought it would be great! Sounded like fun! So we agreed and decided to get ready for this newfound activity. Putting on the only athletic clothes we brought to China, Garrett and I headed across the street to the indoor rock climbing gym at the Shanghai Indoor Stadium. (Luckily, the place Gina and Aaron had decided on rock climbing at was located directly across the street from our apartment.)

After getting lost, and doing some searching Garrett and I found the place! Exciting?

Immediately, as we stared up at the towering walls and looked at the small Chinese men responsible for our gravitational awkwardness, a certain nervousness flowed through our bodies. Here I was looking at walls 50 feet high, counting on sometimes shotty Chinese craftsmanship and pretending the fear of heights I’ve battled my entire life was just an illusion. Needless to say Garrett and I rented our shoes, harnesses and materials and headed into the rock climbing gym.

The place was filled with Expats; a sense of relief covered us! One of the handles on one of the walls was missing, as in there was a giant hole in the wall and exposed wood from the break. A sense of fear took that sense of relief and beat it silly.

Garrett and I started by practicing in the “practice area” they have. This area is elevated about 2 feet off the ground by massive pads and cushions. They have it set up like caves, covered with rocks and odd objects you can use to practice climbing; they even have monkey bars!

Gina and Aaron had already gotten started and they were PRO! They had crazy cargo climbing pants on and spandex shirts; they even own their own shoes and wear chalk fanny packs! Garrett and I did not look so pro! Garrett had worn the only shorts he brought to China, an old T-shirt and his rented lime green climbing shoes! I wore makeup… basically I wasn’t planning on it being so athletic!

But excited to see Monkey Bars I put my fears and worries aside and began trying to climb something. Although I was a champion monkey bar climber in my hay day, my hay day has come and gone! No longer did I have my solid death grip that allowed me to swing like Vince Vaughn and my hands no longer had the calices, which allowed me to do twosies! I couldn’t even get high enough to get to the monkey bars! And the one time I did I managed to get up on them backwards! Trying to figure out how to turn around I looked down and scared myself enough to fall onto the mats and never want to climb back up. After that I was ready to be done!

Garrett on the other hand had already mastered the use of his long limbs on the jagged walls. He was climbing up like nothing, as if he was Charlotte and he was on his web! Whatever Spiderman, we’ll see how tough you are when China’s shotty craftsmanship makes the handle bar break off!!

So with his success and my fear we headed to the actual wall!! Like Godzilla, its massiveness stared down at us and we, we stared up at a height that only birds, planes and Superman should go!

I went first, thinking it best to get it over with (and that the less weight it carried before me the less likely it was to break into a million pieces while I was up there), I buckled my harness had the Chinese guy feel me up in order to get me “secured” and stepped onto the cushion that was suppose to break my fall! I climbed and climbed and it wasn’t so bad. Then I looked down. It was bad.

So I screamed “GET ME DOWN” and everyone said, “Just let go!” Obviously those people are idiots! If they thought for one second in time that I was going to depend on Steve Urkel down there to hold my weight, and Chinese architecture to keep me secure well then they WEREN’T THINKING!!

So I climbed down, rock-by-rock, step-by-step until FINALLY I was on solid ground!

Garrett on the other hand climbed up with Spiderman abilities and pretended to be intimidated… probably to make me feel better.

Garrett wants to go back, I do not… Luckily Gina and Aaron are pro so Garrett has someone to go with! Elena and Gina the badasses!!

1 Comment »

  1. Oh I never left a comment on this one. Who’s that sexual icon flexing his bicept in the first picture? He must have went all the way to the top (or at least half way)

    Comment by Garrett — September 25, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

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