What do the three items mentioned in the title of this post have in common? Not a lot - in fact, nothing at all, besides the fact that I've used or been involved with all of them this year!
Its the start of a long weekend and I'd normally be on a road trip of sorts by now, except, it's been raining cats and dogs all over California (golden/ sunshine state you say?) this whole week and I have tons of errands piled up from a crazy few months of work and school.
It occurred to me, during a conversation today, that it's been a while since I wrote anything here. I thought I'd work on a set of New Year resolutions like I did a couple years ago , but unfortunately, I haven't figured them out yet! So, I figure I'll get back to blogging, by blogging about a few of the things that have caused me to not blog as much - how's that for ironic?!
I'll start by writing about Bouldering in this post and try and address the other two in subsequent posts -
I've known about rock climbing as a sport for a few years now - but, my reaction to it was always "why would anyone in the right mind want to climb a wall?". I finally tried it about a year ago and as it turns out, it is actually a LOT of fun!
There are a bunch of types or forms of rock climbing out there - there's Traditional (or "trad") climbing, Sport Climbing, Top Roping and Ice Climbing. But the way I see it, there's Bouldering and then there's all the other climbing! :-)
So what makes Bouldering so special (to me)?
For starters, it is more minimalistic than the other forms of climbing. In theory, you need no gear except your own limbs. More realistically, you'll need some decent climbing shoes, some chalk and a crash pad to arrest your fall, and that's it (no major ropes, carabiners, harness or pulleys that other forms of climbing demand).
Next, it's a lot more intense and athletic (in my opinion, at least) - if you don't believe me, walk into any climbing gym and compare the fitness level of the boulderers vs the "others"! What makes bouldering so intense is the simple fact that you are "own your own", so to speak. What I mean by that is, unlike other forms of climbing, where you have the liberty of stopping or taking rest at any point, bouldering does not give you the liberty of "letting go", midway.
Third, bouldering is all about problem solving. Yes, that's right - I said "problem solving". There are routes or problems that must be solved and what's interesting is that there are many ways to solve a given problem - some do it a lot more efficiently and gracefully than others. To me personally, bouldering is very contrasting to long distance running (one of my other passions). While long distance running allows you to "zone out" and reflect on various things (issues at work, life whatever), to be successful at bouldering, you must completely focus on the problem at hand (leave out any other problems in your life)!
Finally, while most people tend to associate bouldering (and rock climbing, in general) with raw strength, the truth is that, the sport is just as much about skill, technique, presence of mind and being able to plan moves in advance (a little bit like chess)!
So, that's my 2c on bouldering - I figured I'll spare you of the usual description of rock climbing and bouldering, since there are tons of websites and books on the subject, and instead give you my perspective on it! - hopefully, this has motivated you to "hit the wall" sometime!
oh, and here's what I got for coming in at #4 in the UCSD Boulderdash earlier this year! :) -