Heading to Yosemite and I’m scared

Ever since I started (indoor) climbing back in 1995, there was always a huge poster of Yosemite in the main lobby of my old climbing gym. Never did I think I’d make it out there, let alone be living in the same state, years later.

Since moving to California it’s always been at the back of my mind, yet a year later I still haven’t ventured out. While Yosemite is less than a four hour drive away, I still don’t know many climbers around the area enough to ask them to come with me on a trip to Yosemite. This is where my old climbing partner comes into play. Lori and I have been climbing buddies since we first started climbing twenty years ago. Now if that doesn’t make me sound like an old fart I don’t know what does. And I still don’t really know what I’m talking about when it comes to climbing, let alone climbing outdoors. Sure I know how to top rope, lead climb, boulder or teach a person technique. But I’ve never been overly fond of learning how to set up anchors outside or trad climb with all the gear.

Why?

Because it freaks me the eff out.

I’m pretty sure I swore more in the couple of hours I was at Flatrock Festival this past summer than I did in my entire life, rappelling down a 40 foot ledge. I kept racing back up to do it again, because I feel like you grow from your fears and you should overcome them. Especially if you trust your belayer and backup (which happened to be Lori. Also scolding me from swearing around the little children). I can’t help it. I swear when I’m scared.

Lori will be coming down to California from Newfoundland next week, renting a car, picking me up, and we’re driving out to Yosemite. I might be sweatin’ from the pits already thinking about it.

Harnesses-at-Sports-BasemenOn Tuesday I picked up a new climbing harness (the Mammut Ophira 3 Slide— don’t ask me how to pronounce that O-word) because mine has since been retired (as it’s ancient for harnesses: 10 years old!). I hope to God that there isn’t such a thing as a lemon-harness. I’ve been using my husbands arc’teryx that I bought him in 2007 that he never wore. When I was in Newfoundland last summer, I was scolded by some new-to-me workers at the old climbing gym I frequented and was given a rental harness and told to pick up a new one when I headed back to California. I never did listen, because I primarily bouldered and once in a blue moon climbed on the top ropes. Apparently whether or not you use your harness, you should replace it every 5 years, for safety reasons as the webbing can deteriorate with time. Makes sense!

Gear-at-SportsBasementI had the grandest ol’ chat with this dude named Matt at my local Sports Basement about local climbing areas, what harnesses we had in the past, what he recommended and even chatting about our favourite climbing shoes. It was pretty awesome chatting with him, and I honestly don’t think they work on commission which is the best part. I was looking at picking up a new locking biner and a daisy chain, but I think we can rent those in Yosemite.

climbing-books-at-Sports-BaI wish I had a couple of more friends down in this area that I could go out and climb with, it’s hard being a little shy especially at the indoor rock climbing place I go to — I find people are usually in their own element and doing their own thing. There’s only so much “outgoing” one person can be!

So! Like I said, next week Lori and I are heading to Yosemite — I’m a bit scared because even after climbing all these years, I’m still afraid of heights (which I personally think is a good fear) and we’re doing a multi-pitch climb! Luckily, we’ve hired a guide to do it with us, but holy moses I’m freakin’ out. Exciting and scary!

Check back here tomorrow for Alfie’s weekly posts (I took him to the little town of Saratoga and we walked all around). But after that, come back in around St. Paddy’s Day and I’ll be back to regular blogging.

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43 Comments

  1. I have always wanted to go to Yosemite. I wouldn’t want to rock climb there or anywhere else, but it seems like a gorgeous place to visit.

  2. I have heard about it, but of course I have not been. I do want to try rock climbing in a place in VA Beach though. Maybe one day I could make it to Yosemite too. I am sure you are going to have a blast.

  3. I’ve never been to Yosemite and I am not a climber at all so I completely understand your fears, heights freak me out!! I am sure you will do great and I can’t wait to hear all about it!!
    Ricci recently posted..The Lion KingMy Profile

  4. I’ve actually wanted to get into climbing… Just saaaaying, but you probably don’t want to have a beginner partner. LOL :) You’re going to have an amazing time in Yosemite. It’s such a beautiful place.
    suki recently posted..February 2015 in PicturesMy Profile

    1. @suki: I’m not sure I’d discriminate against a beginner just due to the fact they’re new at climbing. There are people who’ve been climbing for just as long as I have (20 years) who I don’t trust belaying me, and then I’ve had beginners belay me who are amazing. Luckily, my friend and I have been climbing the same length of time, and we fully trust one another. We’re hiring a guide (who I assume will be safe – I mean, it’s a guide afterall not some random right? Lollllll)
      Nancy recently posted..Heading to Yosemite and I’m scaredMy Profile

  5. I think mountain climbing would be awesome if I wasn’t deathly afraid of heights. I can only imagine the beauty of seeing everything from up there. It’s really great too when you can have everything you need at your side.

  6. Climbing must be a fulfilling adventure for you. The security of the harness is really important for safety. What brand of climbing shoes do you wear and recommend? I’m also afraid of heights.

    1. @rochkirstin: Yes absolutely harnesses are super important. Not only that, they’re all made so differently. Some of them have a more comfortable fit, some don’t. The Mammut one I purchased this week has metal clips instead of plastic (which sketches me out).

      Climbing shoes is difficult for me to recommend. So many people like different fits for various reasons. I prefer a tighter, aggressive shoe that fits very snug around my entire foot (my toes are bent in the shoes as they’re 3.5 sizes smaller than my street shoe) and I like to have my heel secure in the heel cup part of the shoe. Some shoes allow air in and doesn’t feel secure when you’re doing a heel hook.

      But not everyone does heel hooks, and prefer a flatter, looser shoe right?

      The brands I have been using since i’ve been climbing is La Sportiva (the men’s lace up miura is my all time #1 favourite, but I wanted to try something new so I went to the women’s velcro katana’s, and they’re not as great for heel hooking, but they are a wicked good shoe).

      5.10 shoes have fantastic rubber too. You get friction on them like nothin’ else. So those are the two brands I’d go for if I were you! :)
      Nancy recently posted..Heading to Yosemite and I’m scaredMy Profile

  7. I would be scared too! ( of course, I have never rock climbed before). But I bet it will be beautiful and I am sure it will be one of those special memories you will always remember.

  8. Wooohoooo!!!! I’m excited for you!!! I’ve climbed outside a lot and it still scares me. My hands are sweating now. But its a great, thrilling kind of scared :)
    I’m so jealous of your trip. My job has eaten me alive but if I were free I’d be bribing you to let me come!
    Maybe this summer? Tuolumne Meadows? High Sierra granite is the reason I get up in the morning. Its so amazing.
    You’ll love Yosemite Valley. Do know, though, that the valley has really stiff climbing. The rock is all glacier polished and is like ICE. Don’t let it discourage you :) Enjoy it for what it is!

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