Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rockin' Rock Climbing

On Sunday in the Grampians, we all went rock climbing with a 3/4 day group lesson. I had only done it a few times before and never on real rocks...just in a gym or on a wall at a camp with my students. I was definitely not very good at it, and I was SO sore for a few days afterward. The hardest part was not using my arms to pull myself up; you're supposed to use your legs to push yourself up. It wasn't easy for me, but I did three climbs and conquered each one (though it took awhile!). It was pretty cool to be outside and enjoying the beautiful view from the top of a rock face you just climbed. Below are some pictures of each of us:

I'm pretending to know what I'm doing here.
Zack is almost to the top.

Todd was a natural.
Alena uses the corner to her benefit.

Emily's done this before-she was good!
It was interesting to note the differences between the (limited) climbing I'd done in the US versus how things work here in Australia. I'm used to the knots in the rope being triple checked and all sorts of verbal commands being required, such as "belay on," "belay off," "climbing," etc. Not the case here! The instructor double-checked our knots, and we did have back-up belayers, but we were pretty much on our own for most of the time. I never felt unsafe; it's just strange how lenient things are outside of the United States. I guess the fear of lawsuits isn't so high!

After we took some turns going up different routes on the rock, the instructor took us abseiling. It was scarier than I thought it would be, but once I got going, it was super fun. Basically you step off a cliff backward and "zip" down the edge of the rock. You let a rope slide through your gloved hand to determine the speed that you go down. I went a lot faster than I intended, but that made it exciting!

I'm having fun going fast!
Zack enjoyed the view on the way down.

Bring on the Tough Mudder race!
Rock climbing is something I probably never would have tried, but I'm glad I did. It was a great way to spend a day with friends in the Grampians!

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