Love notes from wall climbing

Wall climbing must be the last activity you will relate to love. Rihanna was lucky enough to find love in a hopeless place, but.. Wall Climbing, really? Keeping it simple, trusting your partner, the art of letting go.. all these will be tied to your future new hobby, so hang on! Being big and leaning toward the heavy side of things, I did not know why I agreed to try out wall climbing.

Earlier, while me and my companion were on the way, she told me, “I will be the one belaying you.” At that point I did not know what belaying means; there is an iota of sexiness to the word, but thinking of her small, petite frame “belaying” me? Nope, no ma’am, I cannot risk my life. Contrary to what most people think, wall climbing is not a solitary activity. The belayer will be the climber’s partner as he/she plays an important role in the whole wall climbing experience.

Keep it simple ❤

The belayer will be the one to operate the (surprise! surprise!) belaying system. Although complicated to the wall-climbing-virgin ear, the belaying system operates like a simple machine (remember Grade 3, eh?). It all starts with the safety harness, which all climbers have to wear. A rope made specifically for climbing will be securely fastened to your harness. I was told that the rope is graded to withstand lots of pressure – if you do not weigh as heavy as a minivan, you are safe. This rope is looped at the top of the wall and back to the ground where it is connected to the belay device.

The belayer controls the rope of the climber using the belay device

The belayer controls the rope of the climber using the belay device

Try to think about your Grade 3 classes, remember the pulley? Yep, that is basically the belay set-up. Even if the belayer has a small, petite frame and the climber has a big and heavy frame, the former can still control the latter’s climb. Bottomline is that you do not have to worry about the set-up, it is safe! Trust me, I have gambled my weight life so you do not have to!

The rope is connected to the climber's harness and looped at the top of the wall and is fastened to the belay device on the ground

The rope is connected to the climber’s harness, looped at the top of the wall, and fastened to the belay device on the ground

Trust your partner ❤

Communication is key to building trust among partners, and yes, including the climber/belayer partnership. Remember these three words and you are good to go!

1) Climbing! Yes, you have to announce to the whole wide world that you are about to climb! Say it loud and proud! March on, soldier! Your partner, they belayer, will affirm by saying “climb on!” See, the whole world can learn a thing or two on courtesy from wall climbing.

I skipped the formal wall climbing lessons (YOLOOO), so I just immersed myself and took the leap. After about 15 feet above the ground, I wanted to go down, buy boxing gloves, find a mirror, and smack me in the face! How could have I forgotten that I was afraid of heights?! Anyway, I survived.

2) Tension! What’s love without tension?! LOOOL, kidding! When you start climbing and you want to rest for a tad bit, shout tension. The belayer will securely lock the rope using the belay device to keep you in place (yeah, just chilling up there yo!). This will stabilize your position, enabling you to climb the wall again without having to start from the bottom.

3) Lower! When you have reached the top or had enough already, ask the belayer to put you down safely by saying lower! Again, the belayer will affirm and say “lowering!” Honestly, I enjoyed rappeling down very much.

The art of letting go ❤

After exhausting all my powers trying (operative word: TRY) to climb the whole wall, being lowered was just.. heavenly. It was not easy at first, though. Letting go was difficult, you have to believe that the belayer will do his/her job, and trust that the belay device will not fail.

You first let go of your grip from the wall, then hold on to the rope connected to your harness using both your hands, and then sit on the harness. Yes, this may sound challenging, but you just literally have to sit. Put all your weight on your butt (the harness will hold you), while you raise your feet and place them flat against the wall. Widen your stance while you bend you knees (yep, just like taking a dump). This stance will ensure that you keep your balance as the belayer lowers you, and that only your feet touches the wall, keeping your knees and the other body parts protected.

Climb on!

If you wish to start your adventure, you can check the wall climbing establishments listed below.  The attendants in these establishments will happily guide and belay you on your first wall climb. And please do not worry if it is safe – just count how many times I mentioned the words safe and secure!

Basekamp – They are located at the cinema level of Market! Market! mall in Fort Bonifacio
Power Up Wall Climbing Gym – This is located inside R.O.X. in Bonifacio High Street

Killing time before you head home during coding nights? Wall climb. Waiting for your partner to finish work and you do not want to sit in the office couch staring blankly at the ceiling? Wall climb. One of those extra-espresso-shot mornings and you need an extra-pick-me-up for lunch? Wall climb. For a weekend warrior who wishes to squeeze in some skirmishes during weeknights, I kid you not, this is a terrific activity for you!

Looking back, I finally figured out why I agreed to wall climb in the first place. Nope, it is not because the belayer’s cute. For you to fully appreciate love, or wall climbing (and any other activity, for that matter), you just have to take a chance on it!

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