I’m Grateful for Rock Climbing

Because I’m still alive, and I had fun.
personal stories

Friday January 26, 2024

personal stories

I participated in Boy Scouts growing up, and I got to go to High Adventure. This was a week where we’d go on an adventurous camping trip with a bunch of other teenagers. Things never went according to plan.

On one experience, I was repelling over a hang. After 30 feet repelling, I was then dangling over nothing. There was a double belay, one above and one below. This meant that either could help save me.

I was invited to let go of my first belay. Yes. Let go.

This meant I’d drop 150-200 feet in a free fall. The bottom belay would catch me.

I held the rope tightly in my hand as I looked off into the Appalachian mountains and the green trees dotting my surroundings. I looked ahead at the rock face, and up at the cliff hang. I held that rope for a second more before…drop.

And I fell, as planned! It was insane and it took all of half a second.

But then something unexpected happened: the first belay rope wrapped around my right leg. I turned upside down and instead of the belay stopping me, the burning of rope wrapped around my leg halted my descent. Didn’t feel good.

I’m grateful I didn’t die that day. That rope could have wrapped my neck. It’s possible I could have not stopped for some reason. It’s possible those guys who were my guides that day didn’t actually know what they were doing and it wasn’t as safe as they said.

That feeling of dropping was incredible though, as you never feel so heavy as when your hurtling towards the ground at gravitational constant acceleration.

I had many great experiences since then rock climbing, though I don’t go often. It’s just a cool thing to do. It’s cool people figured out how to do it and how to do it safely. I’m also grateful for high adventure - I learned a lot from those formative experiences.

This cartoon kinda gets it pretty much right. Excited. Let go. Terrified. Caught upside down.


Bryan lives somewhere at the intersection of faith, fatherhood, and futurism and writes about tech, books, Christianity, gratitude, and whatever’s on his mind. If you liked reading, perhaps you’ll also like subscribing: