Yesterday I went to the Mazamas Climb Night at Club Sport, a high end gym in Tigard, Oregon that has a massive rock climbing wall. After multiple trips up to the slopes of Mt. Hood during the past month, it was time to go to a dry climbing related activity. It has been a long time since I set foot in a rock gym, perhaps the long drive south is a major reason. Anyway, after a sluggish day at work, I pushed myself to go and hang out with the rock jocks. After a couple of climbs, I was hanging by the end of that rope and resting, because my arms were tired.
There are times when on that rock wall that the fear kicks in, when I consider the gravity of what I'm doing. Then I remember that time when climbing up Sahalee Peak in the North Cascades. A fellow climber had observed how my hesitation when repelling down the summit block had complicated my descent. He told me that I had to learn to trust the system. It has been timeless advice. At the end of the climb, when I lean back and let my climbing partner lower me to the ground, the knot in my harness holds. Perhaps trust allows one to focus on the things that really matter, like the next foothold.