Last night I did my first lead on real rock. Craig and I went to Pivot Point Tuesday night and practiced mock leading a few climbs that we felt pretty comfortable on. Despite my crazy fears lately, it really felt right to me. Somehow I have worked through them and we decided we were both ready to lead.
So last night we headed back up to Upper Pivot with leading on the agenda. And I did it. It was very empowering. I have stood at the top of many ice leads with that feeling of accomplishment that you get from working through your fears and really pushing at the edges of your comfort zone, but this was different.
When I started climbing ice, I jumped right into leading. There aren't many areas where you can top rope ice and I wanted to be able to go out on my own, so I had to learn how to lead. Not to say that there wasn't any fear involved, but I jumped right in and never let the fear stir around in inside of me.
It's been different with rock. I started rock climbing after I started ice and it's really easy to just head to a crag and set up a top rope and play around. I declared myself a just-for-fun rock climber and didn't set any goals for myself in that area. I told myself I didn't want to lead rock.
But that wasn't true, that was just my way of not having to face my fears. I let them simmer for awhile and found other things to do in the summer like mountain biking and hiking. I knew this summer was going to be the year that I either start leading or stop rock climbing. Playing around in the crags is still fun, but I started to feel the pull of greater adventure.
But if I didn't learn how to lead, I couldn't go very far. So for the past few weeks, I have been thinking a lot about leading. I knew that when the time came to lead I would know, and just waited for it.
And the time came. It felt right and I just went for it. It was glorious!
I didn't get any photos, but I imagine it looked something like this...
...except I'm not that fit, and my hair doesn't flow like that, and it wasn't an overhanging 5.11b, it was more like a 5.8 with lots of bolts. But it's a start. And I just wanted to give you a visual. Hopefully someday that will be me.