"Women Who Climb Walls"
(Beautiful British Columbia, Spring,
Finalist, Western Magazine Awards
My shoes are pretty snazzy -- lime green and burgundy. First pair
of rock shoes I've ever crammed my feet into. I wear them without
socks, of course, so my bare toes will feel every wrinkle in the
rock, will get intimate with the granite. Like Cinderella with her
glass slippers, I am transformed in these rock shoes. No longer
a 44-year-old mother packing extra pounds, I am an agile monkey,
a vertical ballerina -- a rock climber.
Actually, I am one of five women taking an introductory rock climbing
course for women.
Bold with success, I tie in for the 5.9 climb. Nelson, who has
just completed it herself, sets up the belay. Slowly I rise up the
wall, my roving fingertips feeling for small holds, my heels pushing
down to maximize contact with the rock.... I am becoming attuned
to the possibilities for friction, balance, and prayer. "Go inside
yourself," Adams had said this morning, and finally, I am there.
I am focussed on the rock and my kinestheic response to it.
Suddenly my foot slips and I scrabble to regain my hold, exhaling
to keep down the surge of panic. I'm near the top but I'm stuck,
shaking with "sewing machine legs," starting to lose it. No longer
engrossed in the Zen of inner climbing, I'm now about six metres
up a rock wall and about to fall off. "Tension!" I call to Nelson.
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