Monday, November 20, 2006

On-the-Rocks!!


I have always felt like this; getting excited about something till the last moment, and when the final show-time begins, I am just too lazy to pursue the interest. It was like that when I decided to go for rock climbing, on the artificial rock face at Kanteerava stadium Bangalore.

Yesterday I had a talk with my trek-mate, Nidhi about going for rock climbing. She was more than enthralled to go for it. She has kept amazing me for last couple of treks, a great stamina, and persistence - all in one.

Sunday (19th Nov 2006)

I finally allowed myself to be pulled out of the blanket by around 830am; had a bath and was out of my house by 9.20am. I kept waiting for Nazeeb, another friend of mine; who failed to join me at the last moment. So I just got on my bike and started for the stadium.

I had some trouble finding the entrance gate. I could see this huge wall even from the main road. And by the time I was there, Nidhi was trying hard to clear a difficult section of the climb. She finally forfeited and said that she wants to come down. There are two options to do the same. The difficult way is to climb all the way back, and no courage required. The other option is to rely on the rope attached to your fasteners and let go of the grip to which you are holding. She was shouting that she just can’t let go of the grip. Finally, out of thin air, she gathered some courage and jumped down. When she landed and I asked what the climb was like, she told me to give it a try.

Kaushik and few others, from whom I realized that the group consisted of people with 3-6 years climbing experience, were doing real acrobatics: jumping and hanging on the next point, swinging and all maneuvers which reminded me of Mission Impossible movie.


Finally Nidhi and her friend, Abhishek came to me and gave me the fasteners and instructed me how to wear it. I some how managed it. But from Kaushik I realized that the left leg loop was worn on the right and so for the right leg. But he said it was fine. He gave me a strange kind of knot which I felt was strong enough to lift an elephant. The rope was approximately half an inch in diameter.


So finally my bell rang. It was time to climb. I moved towards the wall. The wall had all sorts of grips and supports. Basically looking like different shaped rock protrusion resembling hard plastic grips screwed into place. The basic structure of the wall is, it has a vertical phase, approximately 5-10 meters high. Let me call it the run-way. Then the wall start inclining towards you at an angle between 30-45 degrees, which I want to call the ascent, and that, I had a gut feeling, is going to take the breath out of me.


The climb started at a slow phase. Since I am so lean, with long hands and legs, and approximately 5-10kg underweight (a secret so well kept with the public); my hands could easily support my body weight. I completed the run-way. Now it was time to take off, start the actual ascent. I felt that the rock face suddenly started looking at me, just like a giant who just got woken up by my comic acts. The phase was really taking the breath out of me. One point I was trying to balance on my left hand and left leg. But just as I reached the next higher grip, my left leg also slipped. Soon I was hanging on my hands. That stunt at the height was a little too much for me to swallow. I could feel sweat drops running down my cheek. Finally, I managed to get back on balance and a few more feet up. Then suddenly at a point, I just started feeling that it is as high as it goes. My legs started trembling like anything. It was difficult to balance any more.

Now come the best part. I was thinking climbing was the toughest act. But seeing Nidhi's stunts to come down, I was having a bad feeling of jumping off. My hands refused to release the grip. I just couldn't ask my hands to leave it. Just like a man unwilling to give off a single penny; my hands just stopped taking commands from me.

Finally, I shut my eyes tight and left my legs and hands all off the grips, simultaneously. The rope was sag by a few feet. So the first few micro seconds of the fall was really a free fall. For the first time I was experiencing adrenaline pump, unlike I have never experienced. Just after that, it was almost like a moderate thrilling roller-coaster ride.


As soon as I was done with, Lekshmi from Kaushik's team started climbing. She went almost to the two-third height and she decided to let go. I didn’t see even a small glare of fear on her face. She had a smooth landing, better than an Indian Airlines flight, I can say.

Just before leaving, I decided to give the wall just another try. All I wanted was to make was to break my own record. This time I complete the full ascent section. Then there was again a small run-way till the next and tougher ascent section. Within blink of an eye I was climbing the second ascent section. Half way through, I felt that the next step where I have to place my right leg is too high for me, and where the left leg could be placed next is having very less grip. So the option open to me was obvious. I shouted at Koushik, I need to jump, and I am jumping. He was trying to inspire me to climb higher. But I just couldn't. Then again I was at the same point, just like an answerless question being shot at me multiple times, the leaving off phase was there. I could feel some one giving me a sarcastic, impish smile at my face. Yet again, out of some reservoir, I gained enough strength to just bounce off the wall. Koushik was shouting at me that it was safe and that I don’t have to close my eyes so tight or even hold so tight to the rope. Finally I too had a smooth landing.

Autobiographies and now-a-days blogs are very good places where you can pour in enough brag, until you stop having visitors. But I must say, the icing on the cake was the appreciation I got from Kaushik and Lekshmi. They told that I climbed good for a beginner, doing it at an above average level. That was just one point where I had an advantage of being light weight (counterweighed by the problems I face, just like finding a jean of my waste size out of a sale). So all gone well and good, I was floating in air of prestige.

Since Kaushik’s team was getting ready to leave, I had to force my self to bid a good bye for the time being and told the wall, in my mind - “wait till the next time I’m here for you!”.

1 comment:

Dawn....सेहर said...

Cool, activity and passion is a must :) I miss the real ones..!
Good to see the spirit...
BTW Thanks for visiting do come again
Cheers