Climb On!

Allez Up is an indoor rock gym in Montreal, Canada and located a few miles from the city center. I was with friends, six adventurous members of Champlain College studying abroad in Montreal, and we were going climbing. We got off to a rocky start when the 9:30 bus mysteriously took a day off, and hailed a ride in a cab the few miles to the gym.

Arriving just on time the staff settled us in with our shoes and harnesses, and helped us (me) figure out how not to put our harness legs on backwards.

It had been a while since I had last been climbing and seeing the colorful rocks bolted into the tall white walls was exciting and a little intimidating.

Our guides for the day helped us tie in and took their positions at the bottom of the rope. It takes two to climb, one person climbing while the other one stays at the bottom holding the rope, which is looped through an anchor point at the top of the wall.

The instructors gave us the ready with “Climb on”, now all we had to do was climb the wall. Not quite so easy.

It was a challenge with lots of stretching and straining to reach holds almost out of reach. Our obstacles were big sloping rocks with nowhere to wrap your hands, or small grips that forced your fingers to pinch for dear life, or easiest of all big jugs that felt like ladder rungs.

Pushing ourselves up those walls took a lot of energy but it was all worth it when we got to the top and looked down on what we just climbed. On some walls we fell off and swung out like a pendulum and had to grab a rope to get dragged back to the wall; that almost made me dizzy.

After about an hour of climbing we were tired but happy from our time on the walls. Then for the last bit of our time the instructors brought us over to the bouldering section. Bouldering is done with no rope and only goes about a story high. Bouldering can also be harder. There are fewer paths to choose from, and it didn’t help that we were tired, and not attached to a rope.

We wound down when we got tired of bouldering while talking to each other about our experiences and listening to the instructors about climbing and how we could get more into it.

Soon it was over and we packed up pack up to go, tired but satisfied. It turned out we all had a lot of fun, and everyone enjoyed the trip. I know I did, and I can’t wait for the next time I get to look down from the top. Climb on!

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