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October 16, 2008 at 8:17 am

Climbing at Miramont North We’ve had two icky weekends in a row, and busy, busy weeks between them. Last weekend, D-Liz mentioned they were heading to the rock gym, and Mark and I considered climbing indoors for the first time in years. We ended up going along and getting a week of free membership at Miramont North to see if we could work indoor climbing into our schedules.

The gym is an interesting one, with a whole fitness center (ie cardio, weight-lifting, yoga classes, basketball courts, etc) and a giant, very nice rock wall on one side.

I think the week was successful. We didn’t horribly embarrass ourselves while climbing the overhanging jug-fests that cover the walls. Mark did fall off of a 5.7 towards the end of our second day, which was hilarious. Yesterday, I tried bouldering by myself in the afternoon, and I remembered the problems I have had with bouldering in the past.

I’ve always said I’m not good at bouldering, which is true. I’m not super strong, and that is immediately apparent when I boulder. Plus I’m afraid of falling, which isn’t the best when you don’t have a rope. Finally, though, I don’t know the “rules” for bouldering. There are certain conventions and etiquette that boulderers all seem to know, and I’m left feeling a little confused and out-of-sorts. For instance:

1. I understand that between problems you’re supposed to sit on the floor and stare intently at the wall. How long, exactly should you sit on the floor? How far away from your problem should you sit? I mean, should I camp out directly below it or can I sit back in the corner? Can I do something other than stare at the wall? Like read or do homework?

2. It seems to be ok to watch other boulderers when you’re in a group, but creepy if you’re the only one there. Why is that?

3. How do you keep iPod earbuds in your ears after jumping down from the top of the boulder?

4. How long should you keep trying a problem until you decide to give up and move on? I’m a big fan of the “Well, didn’t get it on my third try, let’s try something else…” school, but it seems like more serious boulderers will work much harder on finishing one specific sequence.

5. How long is a normal bouldering “session”? I was there for an hour yesterday and felt like I got a great workout. But there were people sitting around staring at the wall that were there when I got there and still there when I left. Maybe they’re meditating? Would I do better if I spent more time there? Am I getting any benefit from only an hour of bouldering or do I need to spend several hours in order to climb the awesome routes?

So, that’s my adventure for the week. I asked a girl at the gym some of these questions and she seemed upset at first that I had disrupted her staring at the wall (I guess that’s not polite) and then laughed at my suggestion that I could do homework between problems. Mark, also, has no clue about these things. I suppose I’ll just have to learn in time. Unless there are awesome boulderers out there who would like to let a n00b in on the secret?