Two Stories about Rock Solid Committment

Story #1: Support

This is the story of how Marc and I went from stalking each other over the Internet, to becoming rock climbing bff's overnight.  The tale begins when I sign up for to find a rock climbing buddy, because it's super hard to get friends to go rock climbing for some reason.  Then, a month later, I invest in a RONA Appreciation Day package deal for True North Climbing for $20 (just about the only way RONA has ever shown it's appreciation, so I clearly had to take advantage).  So off I searched True North Climbing on to see who was interested in going to this particular establishment.  Marc was down to go.  His previous partner left him to travel, but her loss was my gain. 


Marc looked the least like a pedophile, and most like someone I would hang out with outside of rock climbing, out of everyone else I had encountered on climbfind, so we set a date and for the next week pumped ourselves up for an evening of walls, rocks, and ascent.  Then the special day came, and even though we didn't follow through on our team uniform of green shorts and pink sports bras, we still rocked at rock climbing.  Well, Marc rocked more than I did.  Way more.  He flew up those walls and overhangs like a pro, and bouldered like a real man, as I belayed him in awe and utter and complete jealousy...but mostly just awe.

It didn't take very long to know that Marc and I would get along swimmingly.  He's going to


in April (after he goes to Australia) for his birthday...

Really, Marc? Really? 

Homeboy didn't even have to read my blog to make my heart flutter with the tiniest glimmer of a schoolgirl crush.  How dare he be so awesomely awesome in real life in addition to being so awesomely awesome at rock climbing.  It's just not fair.  But the good thing about Marc's awesomeness is that even though he is good at all these things, he is very humble, and was very supportive of me and my climbing faux-pas.

I haven't rock climbed in a while; I was a little rusty, but thankfully Marc was understanding and encouraging of my pseudo-failures - we are blaming it on not coordinating our outfits.  Usually, I am uncomfortable with being second best.  I constantly want to outdo myself and others, as per the permanent tournament going on within my psyche.  But I realized recently that sometimes its okay not being the best at something, because it makes you realize how much you still have to learn, and how much other people can teach you.  It's important to climb with someone who is there to be positive and encouraging, who will guide you, point out and emphasize your strengths, and help you conquer your weaknesses.  So I decided Marc will be the supportive climbing partner I always wanted, until he leaves me to go travel.


Story #2: Skill

During our adventure, we met two different climbers.  One I call Point Dexter, the other I call Russian Spiderman.  They are both incredible climbers with a lot of skills, but two completely different techniques.  Point Dexter has a plan; a rigid technique and route; his moves are calculative and are textbook proficient.  Russian Spiderman has only climbed for 4 months, but he looks like he's been doing it his entire life - and that is not an exaggeration.  He wore a sleeveless shirt and rolled up his jeans to his shins.  He looked unprepared, like he had just walked in from off the street, which he probably did.  Nonetheless, he climbed with style. 

It was like watching ballet on a rock wall.  These two guys showed us some cool new moves and techniques, but it didn't take very long to feel the tension grow between them, as they didn't really understand each others way of climbing.  They were both convinced that their way was better - Point Dexter praising himself for safety, and Russian Spiderman for walking on the wilder and more dangerous side.

The point of this story is to speak about the different ways we approach life's challenges and obstacles.  There are many different ways to climb, and one way is not necessarily better than the other, as long you both end up at the same place.  We are built differently, and therefore, climb differently.  We all climb the way we are supposed to, and if we practice long and hard enough, we get better at climbing in our own special way - however we choose to climb.

Today, every part of me is sore from working all the muscles I had neglected for so long.  I have it in me to be a great climber - a tried and true monkey.  I am humbled by being around such great climbers, and know I can only improve in the coming months.  I'm looking forward to learning and growing into the climber I know I can be.

Arianne TongComment