I celebrated my birthday recently. This year I wanted to do something special since the last couple of years were spent (while pleasant) rather lethargically. The year 2011 has been good to me so far. It was fitting to fill it with even more adventures: Rock Climbing!
I have fond memories of climbing a small rock wall when I was vacationing in Curaçao with my family. I wanted to try climbing again but New Jersey has never struck me (or anyone) as a mountainous location. To my surprise, there is a rock climbing gym in Fairfield, NJ which isn't that far away from me!
By no stretch of the imagination am I an athletic person, so it was comforting to read reviews for this gym saying things like "My 8-year-old son loves this place!". If an 8-year-old can handle it, surely I can too! I learned a lot about climbing walls on that day! To my knowledge climbing was – Step 1: See rock. Step 2: Climb it. Step 3: Somehow get back down. Climbing is more complex than it looks. It pushes not only physical limits, but mental limits too. It takes a ton of concentration, stamina, and trust to be able to climb. We had an instructor briefly show us around. He covered things like "spotting" where you need another person to assist you to climb. The Spotter will point out a rock climbing path for you if you can't see it yourself or if you get stuck on the wall. Our instructor also mentioned that there were several ways to climb including belaying which is to climb with a harness and bouldering which is freestyle climbing (no harness). My party of three opted for bouldering.
My boyfriend climbing a path on the wall. Most of the hand and footholds are marked with colored tape to show you the best "path" to climb up. The colors also signify the range of difficulty in the path.
My friend Ping is strangely drawn to to the mystical large rock above him...
The rock gym calls this area "The Cave". It is appropriately named since they want to simulate climbing the roof of a cave.
You can't tell in the photo, but The Cave has a 45 degree angle slope. There are mattresses underneath to protect you if you fall. I took this photo from the top of the cave.
Ping is amazing! He told me that he used to take rock climbing lessons when he was a kid! I think its always cool to learn new things about your friends!
Ha! They're such clowns!
I call this the Pirate Ladder. You're only allowed to use your ARRRRRMS! Get it? Pirate?!! LOL!! That pun was courtesy of my pal seekatiedraw.
Ping is showing off! He's really good at this, it must be because he can breakdance too!
Although Ping makes this look easy... that little girl on the corner 50 feet off the ground is making us adults look bad! lol
This is me bouldering traversely, which simply means "climbing sideways". I don't get too far off the ground when I do this, but it sure is taking up all of my muscle power to stay up there. Also... I kind of regret wearing those socks!
My face is priceless here!
My boyfriend climbing over a gap and a ridge! Ha! I was kinda crushing on him big time here. Climbing requires strength and power. Its pretty manly! lol
Yay! My boyfriend again!
I would definitely love to go rock climbing again! It was such a fun way to spend an afternoon!
Afterwards (not pictured) I had a few other friends join me for some super delicious Tex Mex for super cheap! Thanks for coming to my party Jan, Ping, Brian, and Katie!! This was one of the best birthdays I ever had!
Oh yea! I also have to mention that for my birthday, I didn't want any gifts, just good company. But if anyone wanted to give any gifts I asked my guests to please donate to my charity of choice. Ping generously donated to the Red Cross to help aid the Japan Earthquake victims and also the World Wildlife Federation to protect the creatures that I love so much like... Red Pandas! Oh my goodness!! Thank you so much! Best birthday ever!!