So yeah, I’ve been climbing for a year and a half now and my initial introduction to rock climbing was approximately 15 years ago. It started when I went with my campfire group to a local outdoor sporting goods store so that we could all take a beginner’s top rope course before an upcoming trip to Enchanted Rock. The class took place on one of those big, goofy portable walls with the rock-like textured protrusions and large juggy holds. Not exactly challenging but still intimidating enough to a kid with bad social anxiety and a relatively strong fear of heights. Everyone had trouble with a lack of instruction and uncomfortable harnesses but even so, among the 15-some odd kids to take the class, I was one of only two that couldn’t top out on what was said to be the easiest route. Now, I wasn’t at all athletic back then but I also wasn’t completely out of shape so failing to climb that wall was highly embarrassing and caused me to not only skip the trip to Enchanted Rock but also not want to take part in any sort of climbing for a good long while..
Fast forward to January of last year and I had a good bit of experience challenging myself through a myriad of hobbies. Most notably of which was skating. Taking risks and falling in front of people really wasn’t a concern anymore and I felt just about as natural throwing myself at a handrail to do a grind as I was to simply climb up a tree. I’ve always loved skating and it had basically become my life but the scene became one that bred a certain level of exclusion so I decided to try and find something new. After engaging in a mini-marathon of various classes last year, I eventually decided to try indoor bouldering on a rainy day and was hooked. Instantly. After about two weeks I had already purchased my own shoes, chalk bag, gym membership and was climbing at least 4 times a week and having an absolute blast every time.
This eventually transitioned into taking proper indoor rope classes and eventually outdoor lead climbing which was an exhilarating game changer. I was (and still am) amazed at how inviting and supportive the climbing community can be and how helping one another to overcome the mutual challenge of just climbing an object can result in practically instant friendships. I never experienced anything quite like that in the skating world and it definitely resonated with me in a strong way.
It’s tough to say exactly how climbing has changed my life as I’ve only been doing this for a little over a year, but its definitely given me some amazing friends, a better sense of self awareness and more appreciation for the outdoors to say the least. Also, that fear of heights has more or less become a thing of the past too which is pretty nice, haha.
My inspiration in climbing comes from a ton of different people. The aggregate of which being mostly my friends but I also draw a lot of motivation from different vloggers/film makers that document their own projects, struggles, triumphs and everything in between. There’s a large realm of relatability in all those videos and that’s something that I’m now striving to create as well as it still seems to be a somewhat untapped outlet for climbing despite the huge rise in popularity.
Anyways, that’s about it!
It's funny how liberating it felt to become hopelessly hooked on something that had been so humiliating years ago simply because of an awkward introduction.
I now just wish I had started sooner!!
My name is Raven Riley and I am a Climber.