Some people only learn from instructors, some people only learn from more experienced mentors, some do a mix of both. Right now I am enjoying a mix of both, and took the first of two days in the lead climbing course at my local climbing gym. Well actually not my most local gym, the one i climb in weeknights, this one is a bit further away so its still a bit more novel which is nice. The courses are always a bit funny, doing things you can be scared of with people belaying you know are just learning how to belay, but i guess that’s another good part about getting over fear of things! In the first course it was pretty straight forward, we took everything that the instructor said as gospel, which must feel pretty nice for them. This one was a bit interesting. We had explored things on our own, we had experience from different places and different teachers, we questioned more, and we picked over each other too, looking, questioning, pointing out. It was fun!
Always a mixed bag of people, for some reason I was expecting more women. We were two; she showed up late, put her harness on halfway inside out, and made jokes about how easy some of the routes looked. Let’s just say we are not going to be best friends. The rest were dudes, mostly middle aged, a lot with kids, all married, some boulders with pretty ripped arms, some bikers with absolutely no turn out, just a whole mixed bag. I got along just fine with everyone and we all learned a lot and tried a lot. We practiced falling and catching falls, with me they were all heavier and that was good experience. We practiced clipping expresses and the safety’s at the top which almost seem to require three hands sometimes. So far I don’t think i have learned many concrete things that I hadn’t picked up along the way, but I did get some specific pointers which have helped correct some complacent moments which were on the way to becoming sloppy belaying without quite reaching that far.
Next week we do technique in the boulder room, which is good! I need some tips :-D, some tips on turning lead rope climbs into top rope climbs for the second, and just more practice, so hopefully any kinks in my system will get worked out then!