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My bucket list isn’t long at all but rock climbing has been on it for many years now. Outside of a small rock wall in my college gym, I had never had a taste of rock climbing, at least not until recently. Being taught how to rock climb from the pros at Rock Climb Montana was a great way to dip my toe into the sport. I’m left wondering when I’ll ever be this adventurous again.
Why I wanted to go rock climbing in Montana
Saying it’s been on my imaginary bucket list isn’t really a “why.” The truth is, I think I’m a pretty active and adventurous person, but living in a metropolitan city all of my life, I haven’t had the most access to the activities that you’d categorize under adventure.
Sure I can drive to the next state over for a hike or to go mountain biking, but that’s often times too much effort, especially since I no longer own a car.
So when I when I had the option to do something that, like I mentioned, I don’t know when I’ll have the opportunity to do again, I jumped on it. There are just some activities I think you must try when visiting Montana, and this is one of them.
How the day starts with Rock Climb Montana
We took the scenic drive to Kila Crag to begin our day.
Rock Climb Montana takes safety very seriously. So before you even step foot near a mountain, you need to get your gear on and make sure everything fits. The first thing I did was get sized for my climbing shoes. We properly stepped into and secured our harnesses and also made sure we had helmets that fit securely.
The helmet is the most important part because a rock could break off of the mountain at any time. I doubt you want to be the one trying to get your helmet on as one decides to break free.
In fact, as others were climbing, there were rocks that would fall whether it be from someone physically pulling them free or the weight of the ropes loosening them.
Being taught the basics
Our instructor for the day was Link and although I went into the activity knowing absolutely nothing about rock climbing, I like to think he did a good job at teaching a beginner the basics.
One of the most important lessons was the commands and calls that come both before you ascend and descend. There are even commands for letting your partner know that you need more or less tension on the ropes.
Although we learned how to actually tie the knot to secure us before starting the climb, I have to admit I can duplicate it and I may never learn. Just loop me into a carabiner and leave me be.
Going past your limits
I’m not going to lie. There was a point I wanted to reach on the wall, and when I reached it, I was satisfied.
However, Link would constantly push me to go just a little further each time. And when I got to that point, he, and the rest of the crew, would coax me to go even further.
During my last climb I got to a point where my legs started shaking uncontrollably, and I was simply tired of trying to find a hole to place my foot and hoist myself up. I know that Link would’ve let me stay there all day and wait until I was comfortable to continue. He even offered to let me “rest,” which is the worst because then it’s hard to pick up the momentum again.
My body was done and so was my mind. But I appreciated the gentle nudges and the guidance. I appreciated him letting me know when I was going on a more difficult route and pointing out an easier foot placement or letting me know that my legs should be doing most, if not all, of the work.
I seriously though rock climbing required herculean upper body strength but I can now thank my dad for these calves.
I don’t think I could have had a better experience as a first time climber. Now the next time I go rock climbing I’m determined to do better than I did during this first go round. And I think I did pretty damn good.