I have so many vignettes to write about from this weekend, but I'm going to try and be good and just write one a day.
First and foremost - lesson learned. Always wear a helmet when belaying.
Four of us went rock climbing Saturday at a bolted place (so, can do lead climbing). Two really burly climbers and two of us that used to be burly and have to work our way back there (I was the only woman btw).
I was belaying one friend on a climb that our other friends had done (btw, one of whom is my husband/soon to be ex/and who I'll try to start calling friend) so it was via top rope. He was about a third of the way up when hell breaks loose. Well, not really hell, but a brick size chunk of rock.
All the rest happened in a split second. When you are belaying most of the time you're looking up at the climbing to see what's happening. When the rock came off, I barely registered something coming down. My first instinct - and those who might climb with me thus should feel safe - was to grab the rope with two hands and to put my head down. I also screamed - not a 'falling off the rock when climbing' type of scream, but a 'shit something scary is happening' scream. The rock bounced, glanced off my helmet, and bounced off my shoulder onto the ground. OW!
When people around the corner asked if I was ok I couldn't speak for a few seconds because my shoulder really hurt. But at least the person I was belaying could see I was basically ok, and he let them know. I eventually also echoed that. Note I never let go of the rope. But had I NOT been wearing a helmet, and was knocked unconscious from the rock, two people would have been hurt badly, me and the person I was belaying.
A little bit more background. We knew there was loose rock because of our friends who had climbed it. Hence the wearing of the helmet. But the thing is, you just never know when something's going to come off, even in a climb that's been done a million times. And I have to remember that lesson on the days when I don't feel like wearing a helmet.
So I have a memento from the day - a nice little gash and a nicely developing bruise. And a lesson.
Postscript: For the first time ever I used my new velcro'd shoes outside, and felt like a 'real' climber because I had to take them off before I even got to the ground they hurt my toes so much. Most hard core climbers have a pair of shoes that are really sensitive and very tight for best control on the rock. And these are my pair... I normally believe in no foot pain climbing, but damn, they did work well.
2nd Postscript: One of my friends put up a new route at this place. Figured out where to put the bolts, drilled them, etc. Both he and my ex-ish (technically he's still my husband) climbed it and thought it was hard. My friend climbed it clean, which allows him to name it. 1/4 of the way back we were trying to think of a name. Possibilities included: Grey Matter, Potential Energy, Stone Temple Muzak, Buckets Galore, Sisyphus, Platelets. (You want a name that's good, has meaning, will get people to climb it, etc.) No decision yet.