By Nona Oneill. Outdoor Gear. Published at Monday, April 30th, 2018 - 12:56:23 PM.
The bottom line is that if you want to safely climb rock climbing walls, choose an indoor rock climbing facility which will offer you plenty of opportunities to improve your skills while at the same time not put you under any undue risk as would be the case if you were to go outdoors and try your luck.
There is a moment at the start of any climb when the mood shifts. The drive and the hike in can be casual and chatty, but then comes the time to get on the rock, and the climbing begins. We arranged the gear and my husband, David, started up the cliff to set the belay. After he reached the top and set the anchor, I clipped the rope to Masons harness, tied myself in a few feet below him, and we headed up. With my husbands belay carefully set within eyesight up the cliff and me a few feet below him, Mason started up. He hesitated, a little scared, and balked. For a moment, I wondered whether Masonmy shy and cautious little boywould have the courage to continue. But with some encouragement, he pushed through his fear and made his first move. Then anotherand anothergrowing more confident as he learned to scan the rock and find the best hand and footholds. Before I knew it, we were halfway up the cliff and I was hurrying to keep up with him. By the time he got to the crux move (the hardest move on the route), he had a smile on his face. We made the belay with hugs and delight. Mason couldnt have been happier. At the top of the cliff, we settled in to enjoy a picnic at the top of the world. It was a brilliant moment and the proud, ear-to-ear smile on my quiet boys face was unforgettable.
Since this first trip, we have gone climbing many timesboth at the indoor gym near us and back outdoors at the Gunksand Mason has enthusiastically embraced his newfound identity as a climber. When were out at the park near our home, Mason brings his little rope and gear and strategically plots the route to the top of whatever \"mountain\" he is climbing, no matter how big or small. And although that first trip started as a way to introduce our son to a sport we love, weve since seen the other benefits climbing has brought to him. Climbing has given Mason a newfound sense of confidencethe confidence that comes from overcoming your fearof the unknown, of failure, of taking risksand pushing yourself to try something new and then achieve. Its also given him a greater well of resilience that has spilled over into other areas of his lifeto work at things that are hard, to overcome small failures, and to relish in the challenge. For a shy little boy like Mason, these benefits have been unexpectedly meaningful and rewarding. At school, his teachers have seen him come out of his shell and become a more social and vocal member of his class. Although this is due to more than just climbing, I cant help but believe that the confidence hes gained through climbing has played a big part. As I think about our next outdoor adventurethis time traveling to Colorado, one of our favorite places in the worldI think about the proud smile of my son, standing next to my husband, on the top of the highest mountain in the world that day.
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