Naturally, one of the first things I've done in New Zealand was find a gym. So the following is a very cheesy story about what happened when I first climbed here.
This past summer, I made good progress climbing, moving from climbing at a difficulty of about 5.8 (pretty easy) to 5.10a (intermediate). (The climbing scale goes: 5.5-5.9 then 5.10a, 5.10b, 5.10c, 5.10d then on to 5.11a.) I was able to work with a great trainer from Kites (s/o Brady!) to really increase my strength and build upon all of the training I did with my great first trainer (s/o Paul!)
I was pleased with the progress I had made, but I felt like I wasn't pushing myself as much as I could. Maybe I could climb harder than I was allowing myself...?
|On a climb in Colorado!|
I looked around at different routes and saw the lowest number was about a 15. To warm up, I climbed a 17 and 19. Neither felt too bad. So I asked my kids which route I should climb and they pointed at a 22.
Sure... why not?
So I started climbing. And I fell. And I climbed and fell again. I wondered if this was too difficult for me. I used just about every bit of strength I had, fell a lot, gained a few beautiful bruises, shed several layers of skin from my fingers, but finally, I made it.
That one 35ft climb took it all out of me. I knew it was the hardest climb I had done, but I still didn't know exactly what that would convert to in the US. So I looked it up, and it was a 5.11a. That's four levels of difficulty higher than I'd ever done before. I was shocked. I figured I could get somewhere around a 5.10c.
I will say that rating climbs is highly subjective, so it was probably on the easier side of a 5.11, but I don't let that take away from what I did.
Now, my point in sharing this wasn't to talk about my rock climbing achievements but just to show what you can do if you don't get in your own way. Pushing myself, growing, and achieving new things is why I travel. I want to become a better person all around, and that comes from taking risks and doing things I never thought I could do. And this experience just shows me that I am my biggest limitation.