Wednesday, October 06, 2010

women of wonder: my first mission - rock climbing.

As part of the WonderBra Woman of Wonder project, I am getting sent on a bunch of missions that are going to help me "rediscover my wonder". My first mission? Learn how to rock climb! It didn't seem so scary when I first found out about it last week. But once we were actually about to get started I was a little (lot) freaked out (as you can see from the picture of me and my friend Jenn who I invited to join me). I invited Jenn because she has been a really positive part of my life for the past 12 years. She is very laid back, but always knows what's going on, so I knew she would make sure not to kill me. She also let me witness the birth of her 3rd child, so I figured I owed her (wink).
We were lucky enough to score a private lesson with one of the owners - the fabulous Maria of Climber's Rock in Burlington.  I was relieved we had a female instructor and that it would just be me and Jenn, without anyone else around to witness me likely making a fool of myself.
Climber's Rock is an incredible facility.  There seemed to be a range of skill levels (beginners like us right on up to climbers who compete nationally).  It was a little intimidating at first, but the overall vibe is  very relaxed and friendly.  Also, there were a lot of muscular men walking around without their shirts on, so I wasn't complaining.  We were given some special shoes to wear (they fit really, really snug).  Those little dainty ones on the left are Jenn's (size 7??).  I think if I get into rock climbing more seriously I'll buy my own shoes.
We spent the majority of our lesson learning about safety, how to put on our harnesses, how to tie all sorts of fancy knots that don't slip (important!), and how to not die.  As you can see the harnesses are super flattering on curvy women and grab you in all the right places.  That's a joke.
After making us tie and untie ourselves for what seemed like forever, Maria finally let us practice climbing and belaying.  Belaying was harder to learn than the climbing because you have to figure out how to make the ropes act like a pulley system and you have to not mess it up or you will drop your partner on her head.  Well, not really, but as Maria put it, if you screw up, "someone's having a bad day". I'm happy to report that both Jenn and I remained intact throughout the lesson.  If you don't believe me, I have video to prove it:

Rock climbing was very different than I thought it would be. It's one heck of a workout but it's very relaxing. During our lesson I was completely focussed on what Maria was teaching us. I didn't think about my kids, or work, or anything else that has been stressing me out. The climbers are also a tight knit group who are welcoming, supportive and friendly. I was worried that I'd feel out of place but everyone is there to have a good time. There didn't seem to be any competition between climbers either, which I liked. It makes sense, because you are really just challenging yourself, and it certainly isn't a race to the top. My favourite part about it was something I never even thought about though, and that is the communication that happens between you and your climbing partner. You have to be in sync, be supportive, and there is also room for a lot of laughs and fun. My kind of exercise.

I will definitely go back for more climbing, hopefully with Jenn (she didn't kill me, so you know, she's a good person to keep around). Shout outs to Maria, Jenn, and of course, WonderBra for making this all a reality. It really wouldn't have happened without you!

Check out to see what the other Women of Wonder are up to!


  1. Amazing job Kat! So proud of you!

  2. Great job! Looks so fun! Would you do it again?

  3. thanks Lulu! :-) Let's go rock climbing next time you make it across the pond!

    @Jennifer - absolutely!!

  4. So glad that you got to try this Kat. I have down climbing off-and-on over the years. I went consistently when I was living in Australia and even owned my own shoes at one time. Not recently though. I would love to get back into it. So if you ever need a partner, keep me in mind.

  5. I TOTALLY LOVE rock climbing. I used to do it when Khaled was littler - you know who would love this? My son! I am so going again (but umm after I give birth of course).

  6. Maria told me that if I ever wanted to bring Max in early, before they open, she would make it happen. That would be one helluva play date, eh?