Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Moments of Idiocy and Heroism

My "I-can't-believe-I-just-did-that face"

I took rock climbing up early this year, after trying out bouldering at the Bountiful Rec Center and surprising myself by being decent at it. Lucky for me, all of my guy friends here are really into it, so that gives me access to free equipment and people who are more secure than I am in remembering all the intricate knots. Saturday night Liz and Taylor wanted to get a little group together for pizza and rock climbing, so even though I was unbelievably sore from a strength workout I'd done that morning, I agreed to go (for the company if nothing else). I told everyone I was too sore to do anything, but I should have known myself better---the second everyone started hiking up to secure the ropes and then repel down, I just had to get in on the action. After all, it's not like repelling takes any muscle, right? Matt threw me the last harness and I hurried and strapped myself in and caught up with the rest of the group going up. My legs started burning after about 3 steps (probably from the "Plie Squat" move I'd done 15 times that morning, or maybe the "Dead Leg Lift"), but I persevered until I reached the top, where the boys were busy hooking in the ropes.

Confession: going down is my least favorite part of rock climbing. Thus, I'm not a huge fan of repelling in the first place. Once I'm in the process of actually going down, it's usually not too bad, but that initial leaning back, where you feel your weight just drop into someone else's hands...Anyway, I hadn't been repelling since St George in March, so I had to be reminded of some of the basics. I started fussing and whimpering like a 3-year-old when it came time to lean back, so Matt hooked me into a safety harness too to make me feel better about life. After the initial drop, I awkwardly started making my way down, letting the rope slide in short bursts as I pushed myself off of the rock. About halfway down, Taylor (who had already reached the bottom) told me to make my way to the right so I could avoid the ledge (and therefore avoid free-repelling, which is a little bit more challenging). My rope seemed to have a mind of its own, and I veered off to the left (with Taylor laughing below and saying "Other right! Other right!"). Second confession: I've always liked free repelling better anyway, so I wasn't disappointed. Because I wasn't having to push against the wall anymore, I allowed myself to sit up a little on the rope. As I began lowering myself with more speed, all of a sudden, I had a sickening realization: I had made the biggest rookie mistake of all---I had forgotten to tie my hair back, and it was now configured into a figure-8 knot right along with my rope. While I called out for help, my brain not-so-gently reminded me of the very first thing they'd told us in Repelling 101 (aka Youth Conference at Camp Williams when I was 14)---girls, tie your hair back, or you might not have much left when you're done. I tried not to panic. I've never been as attached to my hair as most girls, but I hadn't planned on chopping it all off until December, so I kinda wanted to stick with my original plan...plus I didn't think a pocketknife would create a cute look for me. Choppy was never my style.

As all this was running through my head (and some of it out of my mouth), Dean was swiftly making his way up the mountain to try and rescue me. Our original plan was to see if he could push me over to the side of the cliff so I could put my weight on a ledge and untangle my hair. Unfortunately, because I'd gone over that initial ledge, I wasn't quite close enough to grasp the side of the mountain too firmly. Dean grabbed my foot to twist me around so he could tell me Plan B (keep in mind, my head is pretty much glued at an awkward angle to the Caribbeaner just above my waist, so I couldn't exactly move my head to face anyone, thus making it necessary for Dean to do it for me). Plan B was that he was going to stand right below me on a ledge and try and lift me up so I could get some slack on my rope and get my hair out. Well, by this time, we'd put Matt as my belay because my arms had gotten too tired to hold up myself for much longer, which was nice for my muscles but bad for the rescue effort, as it didn't allow my rope to have any slack (because if Matt gave me any, I would just slip further down). After Plan B failed, Plan C commenced with Taylor repelling down and trying to pull me up while Dean pushed me up and I tried again to yank out my hair. Again, no success. I'd been suspened up in midair with my neck at a 45 degree angle for about 30 minutes by then, and I don't think I've ever felt like such an idiot in my whole life. Finally, we got the bright idea to harness me onto Taylor's rope and have him belay me up from the same ledge Dean was on, so we could get some slack in my rope and I could free myself. If that failed, we were probably going to have to chop it (we were tempted to chop it after Plan C failed, but we decided to give it another go). Taylor re-clipped himself to his rope below me and prepared to hoist me up while Dean pushed me up by my feet. On the count of 3, everyone pushed and pulled as I yanked, and victory came in the form of a chunk of my hair releasing itself safely into my hand. We all cheered, and I made sure to lean as far away from the rope as I could as I made my way down to the ground, where I hugged all my rescuers. Had all of my friends not been busy either trying directly to rescue me or acting as belays for my rescuers, we would have gotten a picture, because apparently it was pretty funny. But oh well. Maybe it's best that I don't have hard evidence of my idiocy.

After I got down, I swore I wouldn't go climbing now so I couldn't get myself in any more trouble, but after watching everyone else for about 45 minutes, I had to get in and try it for myself. And I'm glad I did. It was hard to feel like as much of a moron while I was throwing that mountain down with my killer rock climbing skills...or something like that. It was fun anyway.

The pictures are a little sketchy, because it was getting pretty dark, but I like 'em anyway.

A cute little butt shot of me leaping down like a frog after I'd conquered the climb.

Liz and Taylor in their matching cut-off hippie jeans.

Dean can barely touch his toes, but he somehow pulled off this.


Yay for belays (both above and below!)
(below) Me throwin' that thing down! Boo-yoy!

So, after all the drama, I've come to this conclusion: Thank goodness for my friends, who seem to always be there to save me in my moments of idiocy. It's good to know I'm surrounded by people who love me enough to not tease me (too much) about my lapses in judgment.

1 comment:

  1. Torrie!! I love that all your friends tried so hard to hepl you and that you didn't have to chop off your hair! I would say that I wish I could have helped you, but I think I probably would have caused more problems than help anyways, so it is probably better that I wasn't there. I guess I could have been the one taking pictures though.

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