Finally! After 4 months, I finally have/made the time to go climbing again! Not only to climb, but learning to belay as well! Shaheen and Rashaad arranged a climb for me about a month back and I bailed out on them on the day due to family commitments. My daughter wanted to climb as well but alas, she can’t on Saturdays and rain was predicted for tomorrow (Sunday).
We are to meet at Silvermine Low Crag at 10am and finally! I can put my My Activity to use! I don’t have to pay the R50 entrance fee at the gate ^_^ When I saw Rashaad’s sweater, I burst out laughing and had to take a photo! Shaheen was to join us shortly as she went shopping at a climbing warehouse sale first 😛
Anyway, off we go and I of course cannot not take photos as we make our way to the Crag. We go past the area I am not familiar with and Neil leads a 17 climb with Rashaad belaying and I watch him and learn.
Shaheen arrives shortly thereafter and climbs the 17 with Rashaad belaying her. I am belaying as well, mimicking Rashaad’s moves 😀
Now they want me to climb the 17. I’m like, what?! Why?! Not even warm up on a 15 but go right onto a 17?! Shaheen is my belay and Rashaad and Neil go set up an 18. I am nervous. I even tell Shaheen as much. My first climb after 4 months is a 17.
With a big sigh, I climb. The onset of this climb is slightly awkward and I climb slow and deliberate. Not long after, I have to rest my arms already. This is a not an easy 17. It certainly ‘looked’ easier from the bottom with lots of finger and toe holds but it’s too smooth or too small to grip. I struggle some more. My legs are shaking and my forearms are sore! I don’t think I have the strength to finish this climb. Rashaad has gone up the 18 already and as he’s cleaning on his way down, he chats with me and tease me that I wear flea-market sunglasses but Salomon trail-running shoes. Well, I’m always losing my sunglasses but I’m not likely to lose my shoes.
My fingertips are sore already. I try to the left, I try to the right, back and forth, back and forth but it’s a no go from me. I even fell once or twice. I’m ready to go down but Shaheen encourages me still. Give it 2 more tries Fatima and if you can’t, then I will let you down.
Finally! I am over the most difficult pitch! I am not even relieved as I still have to go higher! Finally reach the top and look around a bit before repelling down.
Finally! On level ground and sit down. I don’t even have the strength to hug Shaheen! My arms are so sore! I can’t even straighten my fingers or make a fist as my fingers are that sore! I can’t even loosen my knot lol. Shahen kindly loosened it for me hehe.
As I’m getting water from my bag, I start sneezing! Loud, powerful sneezes! WTH?! Why am I sneezing like that?! I’m sure people down in Tokai Forest could hear me sneeze! Now that I’m thinking about it, it could be from some pollen of sorts that Sanparks was cleaning above the crags and the dust was floating about.
Shaheen climbs the 18 with Rashaad belaying her and me as second belay, mimicking his moves. Neil also departs us as he has places to go. Kareemah also calls as she’s lost and I take photos of Shaheen (before I helped belay) They wanted me to do the 18 as well and I was hells no! They said that I can’t only do one climb but I came to learn how to belay, that 1 climb was enough for me! Kareemah arrives and Shaheen departs us as she has places to go as well.
Rashaad wants to set up another climb BUT Kareemah can only top rope belay and I only just started so he walks about and we chat to the others. A veteran climber entertains us with some stories. Another lady starts sneezing as well haha. But not as bad as mine.
Kareemah climbs and I’m her belay! With Rashaad as second belay ^_^. I do what needs to be done and he corrects me when I hold the ropes wrong etc until I eventually got it! I can belay! I even got it right when Kareemah fell and swing about. Even upside down. How she did that, I don’t know. I was super excited though as I was belaying her and Rashaad said that he wasn’t doing anything as I was doing all the work! Yay me! Now I can be useful to other climbers as they sacrifice their climbs to belay me.
At 2pm, it was time for me to depart as I had places to go too. Can’t wait to have a ‘day’ of climbing without having to be places! I need to practice belaying until it becomes second nature. Hopefully sooner rather than later.
Thanks guys! As short as it was, it was pretty awesome!
Until my next mountain adventure, ciao for now and thank you for reading.
PS – wrote blog yesterday but only uploaded pics today