Defeating The Wall

A few weeks back, Lor and I discovered indoor rock climbing as an aspiration. We asked questions, grabbed flyers, and made plans for our eventual return. We even started specific training programs, so that we would be ready for the challenge when the time came.

So, of course, when the opportunity came to tackle rock climbing without training or preparation, we threw ourselves right in.

There Stands The Wall

Hinkle Family Fun Center, here in Albuquerque, is a family-themed activities parks. Miniature golf? Yup, they’ve got it. Ticket-dispensing video arcade? Yeah, that too. Bumper cars? Laser Tag? Paintball? Yup, all of the above.

So, how about a 32-foot climbing wall?

Turns out they have one of those as well. While purchasing our tickets for our visit yesterday, our nephew was completely focused on the possibilities of Laser Tag. Lor and I, however, could not take our eyes off The Wall.

“We totally have to climb that,” I whispered to her as we went off to drive the go-karts.

“Oh, absolutely.” she agreed.

All day long, we kept orbiting around The Wall as we ran ourselves ragged trying all the other activities. Finally, mid-afternoon, when the excitement of the park had begun to pale for even our nephew, the time had come. The three of us walked up the hill and placed ourselves in line for The Wall.

Looking Up

Have you ever had the opportunity to look straight up 32 feet?

If not, go find your nearest 3-story building. Stand right up next to it, then envision yourself climbing it. That is exactly what we were about to do.

I appointed myself as the official photographer for the adventure and sent Lor and our nephew to head up first. Lor, normally fearless, was subdued.

“I don’t think I can do this.” she whispered to me as we moved to the front of the line.

I patted her on the back and told her she would be fine. She steeled herself and walked through the gate to meet her destiny.

The attendant who helped her get in the harness made a joke that the cable “had only broken twice.” This was probably not helpful to Lor’s state of mind.

But, she did it anyway:

See what I mean about 32 feet being a lot taller up close?

To Dream The Impossible Dream

At last, the intrepid pair had returned to the ground, and it was my turn to tackle The Wall. Our nephew graciously agreed to ascend it with me so that some stranger wouldn’t have to listen to me whimpering.

The initial ascent wasn’t bad, as these things go. It was an interesting exercise in trying to figure out where to place the feet in order to get the maximum lift to the next set of hand holds.

After repeating this process a few times, with my nose stuck about 6 inches away from the surface in front of me, I made the mistake of looking down. I gulped in terror and looked off to the side instead. My nephew had climbed 3/4 of the way up while I was barely halfway.

However, if there is one thing I possess, it is stubbornness. I flattened myself against the wall and resolved to never look down again. Then I resumed my ascent.

A few minutes later, I had arrived:

I just noticed my nephew and I are dressed like “twinsies”.

Winded, but triumphant, I reached a trembling hand forward and slapped the button at the top of the wall.

Nothing happened.

After my descent, I was informed that the buzzer is broken. Talk about a letdown.

The After-Action Report

So, having tackled this wall, what does this mean for our eventual visit to the 45+ foot walls at Stone Age?

Our plans have not changed. Though we were both winded and terrified, it was a good fear – kind of like a roller coaster. I can also report that today I am sore in all the places I have been emphasizing with my new workout routine. Hands, forearms, lats and quads are all feeling like I climbed a wall yesterday. I am apparently on the right track at the gym.

A year ago I still weighed 285 pounds, and would not have been allowed near The Wall.

Just sayin’.

Sore But Triumphant,


Leave a Reply