My ego has plenty to do with it. So does my desire to prove I can get to the top. But if I am honest, it is my ego that drives me up the climbing walls at CityROCK in Observatory.
The first wall at the climbing centre is not difficult. We follow the easy route and make it to the top without much hassle. For a moment I feel like a ‘real’ climber, but I make the mistake of turning to watch a real climber on a much more difficult route and realise just how easy my route was as he is forced to hang by his fingertips, before leaping to the next handhold. It’s gripping stuff.
The intro class at CityROCK offers a taste of the joys of climbing, but it’s the community at the centre of the facility that really illustrates the draw of the sport. The regulars live for it. Testing themselves with more challenging routes, spending hours climbing the walls, often to exhaustion. There is a great vibe at the centre and it draws visitors in quickly.
My time on the walls gave me a very small window into why climbers climb. Why they seek out higher, more technical routes to complete. It seems no sooner do they succeed, they look for more difficult challenges to overcome. They push themselves to the limit, irrespective of the dangers they face in doing so.
Before gearing up, I had never given much thought to mountain climbing as a serious pursuit. After an hour clambering up and down the walls at CityROCK, that has changed. I’m not about to be signing up for the next Everest expedition, but the bug has most definitely bitten.
Because when I scaled the climbing walls at CityROCK, the rush I got from following the route to the top, from solving the puzzle of where to place my hands and feet, to the physical exertion it took to get there, was far greater than I expected. It made me want to climb higher and more technical routes immediately.
It was addictive.
It’s obviously nowhere close to the extremes the hardcore climbers push themselves to and I can’t see myself tackling a mountain any time soon. But it was a brief taste and I think I am ready for more.