Something on my 25 before 26 list was to join a climbing gym and have a consistent exercise routine. I'm pretty bad at exercising, as I have no motivation to do stuff like run for 30 minutes, or sit in a machine and work out for however long. I'm pretty good if I'm in a class as I'm so competitive that I like to try to be the best in the class, but I haven't done exercise classes since I did Pilates in college. And in college I had the motivation to get an A in the class, which also worked pretty well for me. Since then I haven't been able to find something active I enjoyed doing which didn't feel like working out for no reason, until I started climbing! I need goals in order to work out. Goals which are tangible, not like, "oh man, I could only do 20 reps of that before, now I can do 30 reps!" I guess that might be tangible for some people, but for me it's not. What I love about climbing is that there's a literal goal every time you get on the wall. Get to the top. Finish the route. It's awesome. Finishing a route you've been working on is the best feeling ever.
Another thing which is super helpful for me is seeing change in a really concrete way. In climbing, routes are graded at different difficulties. So a V4 is harder than a V2, for instance (those are bouldering grades... there are lots of different systems for grading routes, but I won't get into that). I remember when I first started climbing back in January I could barely do V0's. Both Dan and I vividly remember struggling on a particular pair of V0+ routes, and now I can do V2's and V3's pretty consistently and have almost finished some V4's! I love being able to see myself getting better in a way that, for me, is super tangible.
Another awesome thing about climbing is that, while you can definitely just climb indoors at a gym, there's the opportunity to climb outdoors on real rock! These photos are from a couple weeks ago when we took a little trip down to Spire Rock, which is a man-made climbing area at a park in Spanaway. We don't have a rope yet, but once we do we'll be able to go out and climb at real rocks! I love a sport which involves nature. Riding horses was awesome, being able to be out in nature, and riding a living creature with whom you had a relationship. I've had a hard time finding something to fill the void of riding, and while I don't think anything will completely match the feeling I had when riding, I'm really looking forward to climbing outdoors and being in nature.
Now I wish everyone would start climbing, haha! Of course, I hate when people say stuff like, "Oh I could never _____," so whenever I hear people say that about climbing I want to encourage them even more! I even got my mom to try it out when she was down here in Tacoma back in January. It's so low-impact (especially if you're top-rope climbing), and with the different grades, you can start on super easy routes and go from there! Dan & I do mostly bouldering, which is climbing on routes which don't go very high, so you don't have to wear a harness. I didn't have a harness for about two months, so we started off just bouldering and I've really enjoyed it. Now that I have a harness we've started to do more top-rope climbing, but we still primarily work on bouldering routes. Bouldering is nice because there's very little equipment involved, so it's good if you want to go and just try out climbing. Plus, pretty much every gym will make you pass a "belay test" for you to top-rope climb, so if you want to go to a climbing gym and just try it out, you'll probably have to boulder. I think bouldering is super fun though, so go try it out!
photos of me by Dan