My older son is in town. He is currently living and working in Seattle and since he moved there he has taken up bouldering. This is like rock climbing but without ropes or other equipment and in his case, he only does this at a gym. This makes me happy because the floors are deeply padded and I don't need to worry about him breaking his neck falling off a rock somewhere. Last year during a trip to Seattle he talked me into trying it. As a kid, I was always clambering up a rock or tree somewhere although I never had any climbing experience and when climbing walls became popular I thought it would be fun to try. I never got the chance so I was willing to give bouldering a try. What I discovered was that it is hard. No surprise there perhaps but no matter how deep the padding on the floor it proved quite difficult for me to get over the fear of falling even on the easy routes. At the place in Seattle the very easiest routes (which are marked by colored plastic hand holds) are not that much harder than climbing a ladder. Sadly, I found it hard to go much farther than that. It is very hard on my arms and upper body which are not all that strong and my hand grip is not the best either. I have since been twice more with hardly any more skill or less fear. Most recently I went here in Chicago. That was two days ago and even typing hurts! I still have not overcome my fear of falling whatsoever. It makes me think how rarely we deal with actual fear of harm (as opposed to stress, fear of failure, performance anxiety, etc which are more common in modern life). I feel quite chicken but am also proud of myself for trying. At 53, being daring comes harder.
My son took the pictures and his hands were shaky from fatigue or hunger so one of them came out pretty blurred but I wanted the living proof I did this.