Sunday, 30 September 2012

An Air of Adventure

Since being back on mainland Australia we have explored the Great Ocean Rd, stayed at a beautiful beach in the Great Otaways National Park.  It has all been very beautiful, but our eyes were set on getting to Mount Arapalies. I don't think we were going to be settled anywhere until got there. So, with a service stop at a cheap little caravan park with free washing machines, we set off a few days early for Mount Arapalies.

You drive through the great expanse of the Wimmera Plains. They are completely flat, broken up into squares of green wheat and brilliant yellow canola. Rising out of the flat in front of you is a mammoth rock mountain, like an enormous beetle sitting on the horizon.

This is a size comparison.
When the correct way up you
should be able to see 4 climbers on the  'pipe'
2nd in from the right :)
The camp ground is right at the foot of the cliffs. The camp is littered with tiny 'extreme' tents and I'm surprised just how many people are here. As I said before, we have come accustom to not having many others at our campsites so this is quite a change! As you are so close to the cliffs, you can hear climbers on the rocks. You can sit at camp with a cup of tea and watch them like tiny ants working their way up a 130m cliff face. It's quite spectacular.

Most of the campers are sleek bodied, muscled, risk takers. I find myself envying their toned bodies and their ability to physically and mentally push them selves to the extreme. There are just as many women here as men which is great and really inspiring.  I thought that most people would have been uni age through to late 20's but there is such an age range. Ollie and Tilly are by far the youngest :) but there are families with older kids and even an old grey couple who climb with the best of them.

The whole campsite seems to follow the same routine. Everyone wakes early, not a lot of noise until the rattle of the racks begins. Climbing gear has a very distinct rattle. Then after a little discussion about who's rack is the best, they start the pilgrimage to the cliffs. Climb all morning, back to camp for lunch and off to the cliffs for an afternoon climb. At dusk climbers come out of the wood work and the campsite fills with jovial discussions and reminiscent recounts on the days adventures. Most are early to bed as they have both physically an mentally challenged them selves through out the day.

I am in great awe of rock climbers. It is something I would like to be a lot better at. As I said before, the whole process of climbing is a physical challenge, testing their bodies to their limit. I go to the gym for an hour and shake my booty and feel good about it, but these guys put physical demands and stress on their bodies all day and then go back the next day to do it all again. Climbers challenge themselves, but they also do it in the throws of nature, beautiful locations. They need to be really trusting, they are allowing another person to be in charge of their safety/life.

Having my other half as a rock climber, it is something I have always wanted to put time into getting good at. Being able to climb as a couple is very convenient. In all previous attempts, my fear of my own physicality got in the way of me getting very far at all. It was hard, it hurt and I didn't really believe I could do it, so I didn't.

I think rock climbing is half the mental will and determination to do it.

Before we begun this holiday I made the decision to give it a really good go. Over the past 12 months I have learnt to push my body to do hard things. I have got a lot fitter and am more aware about how my body works and it's abilities. I have realised that I am stronger than I think I am.

Ollie's confidence and ability to climb has sky rocketed. We are having to put limits on what is okay to climb un-roped. Nath and Ollie are adoring climbing together. So when I heard Tilly say to me quietly "When I get bigger maybe I can be a boy and be a rock climber like Daddy and Ollie". It was the clincher that I needed. Tilly needed to see that girls can be climbers to. That girls can physically and mentally push them selves to the limit to. Not just boys.

So in being amongst all of these climbers, what better time get to it and challenge myself...

Nath and I agreed that we would start with baby steps. Do some easy ones to build my confidence. We did and I got to the top!!!! Twice!!! I didn't feel scared at all, in fact I trusted my ability to do it and I did it. Nath choose well. I trust him completely and this makes the whole process easier. I know he loves me and he isn't going to let me fall.

I think through my climbing today I have realized that trust is the biggest mental  challenge I needed to overcome. Trust in my ability, my safety, trust in Nath, in the rope, in the shoes gripping and in the fact that the world isn't out to get me, rip me of the rock and throw me down.

I still have a whole lot of practice to do and need to gain a lot more confidence but I'm getting there and hopefully after the next week of practice I can feel empowered to take more physical challenges, and then I can rock it with all these extreme cool people and not feel like such an imposter :)

1 comment:

  1. Reading this post you have brought tears of joy and love and happiness and pride to me - my heart blossoms with your words and your true nature of wisdom Sophia you are true to your name xoxox mummxoxox