Day 237: Dizzy new heights
On 31st July 2011 I fell down a mountain and broke my leg.
(I can’t remember whether I have mentioned this before but I did. )
The mountain was Helvellyn in the Lake District, the fall was about 5m downwards over rocks into a stream and the activity was scrambling.
Scrambling (for the uninitiated) being a cross between will walking and climbing, where you have to use both hands and feet to ascend and are generally easier climbs with not much actual vertical.
I am slightly lazy on the details, but I was avoiding the wet bit, incase I slipped, and I either, lost my footing, lost my hand hold or both at once and ended up falling/rolling down into that stream!
I had a broken leg, a few bruises, a cut head and had to be carried down the rest of a mountain on a stretcher. I mainly remember being cold, wet, not letting the paramedics cut my walking boot off because it was new and being really pleased that my camera wasn’t broken.
Why am I telling you this now?
Yes it is relevant…
No! I didn’t just want to tel my “I fell off a mountain” story because it is impressive and scary!
Ok…I’ll get to the point…
On Thursday, I went rock climbing for the first time since this event.
It was indoors, and I was on ropes so*technically* I knew I was safe as my husband was belaying on the rope at the bottom.
However…This was the first time I have climbed anything since I fell down.
3 years ago!
I knew I would be nervous…But I didn’t anticipate getting 1/3 of the way up the first wall, freezing completely and having to come back down.
I tried again, and the second time I was virtually in tears and shaking before I started, but this time I got 2/3 of the way up before I froze…that was progress!
I was entirely unprepared for this sort of fear, I have never experienced anything like this. I have never really had a fear like that!
We used to climb a lot, every week and we were pretty good at it and I remembered how much I used to enjoy it…I was determined to get back there by the end of the evening!
The next thing I did was go right back to the beginning, to the easiest climb in the place, and I made it all the way to the top.
And it was very easy. A lot like climbing a ladder…but I hadn’t actually been more than 5 steps up a ladder for 3 years…so that was also progress 😀
The next one I was about three moves from the top before I froze, and I worked out that it was the point where things got tricky and I was unsure of what to do when I thought there was a possibility that i might fall when I froze, so I let go. Just to prove that I wouldn’t die…and I didn’t so that was all ok.
On the last climb, something clicked…I realised that I could hold my bodyweight on my arms while I changed my feet round on a foothold, I managed to actually climb in the way I used to…
well…in the way I used to when we started…I am still very very out of practice…
But on the last climb, I didn’t freeze…I enjoyed myself and didn’t at any point think “I’d rather be running”
This was amazing progress!!
The other good thing about climbing is when you are not climbing, you are belaying (manning the rope) for the other person who is climbing…and that is pretty active too…especially when that person weighs more than you do…which my husband does. It was much easier when it was Jen…who weighs about the same as a metaphorical light thing…
(ok…my metaphor deserted me then…shhh)
All in all it was awesome…it was terrifying…then it was awesome and I am going to do it all again next week! I am prepared to have to face some fear again next week, but I am sure it will not be as much 😀
(I am also aware that climbing harnesses are not particularly flattering at the moment…but it is only a matter of time 😀 )
So day 237 emotionally complete 😀