Beyond the comfort zone: Rock climbing at Los Olivos
I’ve been rock climbing a total of two times. My rock climbing technique can be described as something between a baby deer and a kid learning to cross the road - it’s often clumsy and hesitant, but getting better each time.
I’m lucky that somehow being a native English speaker affords me a valuable bartering commodity, and by living in Huaraz means I’m around mountain guides and climbers a lot. All have been patient with me, especially knowing my lack of experience, they’ve been eager to share their skills and knowledge. So, here we are, giving rock climbing a go!
My morning started by hiring my climbing shoes and meeting up with Carlos, my climbing teacher for the day. It took us about 15 minutes to walk to Los Olivos where we’d be climbing. He took me to my training rock face, the same one Guido had taken me to a few weeks before.
They all assure me that it’s ‘easy’, and I hope to be able to call it that as my confidence and skills improve. To be honest, I’d just like to tie the knots with confidence!
Carlos talked me through how to do a couple of knots we would use.
I feel like I need to invest in a bit of rope and practice between climbs, especially since I would probably only climb once a week. I watched him as he effortlessly made his way up the rock face, I swear these guys could do it with their eyes closed! Now, this is usually the time when my brain starts to question why anyone would enjoy climbing up a rock face, the same brain who didn’t understand why I would want to jump out of a plane either.
Here’s the thing, rock climbing is hard, and yet oddly enough that ‘hard’
is what makes it fun for me. Even on my training rock face, I find a different route each time. I’m proud that I climbed to the top twice, and
I was even brave enough to climb with my camera. Carlos used a couple of carabiners to create a makeshift holder.
There was a time when I found myself in an awkward angle between two rock walls. I could feel my legs begin to tire, but I was determined to get myself out of that little pickle! I reminded myself that I had a safety rope, so I may as well give it a go. I inched my feet higher, bit by bit, until I could feel the tension release from my quads and I could stand up.
After giving a more challenging rock face a go, I decided to call it a
day. Hopefully as my confidence builds, this would now be my training
rock face. Carlos asked me if I wanted to see Huaraz from the top of
Los Olivos, and of course I said yes. We ran into the land owners who
sat by the river eating ice cream. That’s something I love about Peru, more often than not, food comes to you! It was a hot day, and ice cream was delicious under the searing sun.
I was surprisingly a bit out of breath as we made our way to the top. That’s when Carlos joked that this was good training if I wanted to do Huayhuash before I left Peru. He was right, I needed to do a lot more training. Which brings me back to a conversation we had by the river earlier that day.
After sharing with him some context on how I made the decision to
come to Peru, he asked, “How do you get to that point, to make that life changing decision?” I replied simply, “When the fear of staying in the same place is greater than the fear of change, that’s when you take that leap of faith.” For a few seconds there was silence between us while he thought about it. Then he just nodded. And suddenly the wind swirled and whistled, and in that moment that’s how I know that this exactly where I should be.
fivefootronna is Ronna Grace Funtelar - a thirtyish storyteller, creative, writer and poet currently working and traveling in Peru. A woman with
a curious mind who lives for hiking mountains, outdoor adventures and eating pizza. She has a unique brand of optimism that is a combination
of her great enthusiasm for life and cups of coffee during the day.