My first outdoor climbing experience!

On my way to Regina, I stopped for a day in Thunder Bay, where I stayed with a friend from the orchestra. Hoping to get some exercise on my one day not spent sitting in a car, I went to the local climbing gym., Boulder Bear. 

This is Boulder.

This is Boulder.

Climbing gyms are great because the eccentric demographic of people who enjoy climbing mountains (and, although this wasn't the case in any of the climbing gyms I've been to in Southern Ontario, indoor climbing in Thunder Bay really is regarded mostly as a training regimen at best, or at worst a pale imitation of outdoor climbing) also tend to be game for pretty much any type of physical activity that presents itself. Thus, climbing gyms tend to have weight rooms as well as odds and ends of any other pieces of athletic equipment they can get their hands on. (In this case, they had just installed a trampoline, although the lack of safety net meant nobody was allowed to use it sans harness and extra fee.)

I did a quick leg workout and some bouldering, and then the owner of the gym mistook me for someone else and greeted me enthusiastically. Once we had sorted out that we didn't in fact know each other, he invited me on an outdoor climb that some of the gym members were going on that evening anyway. I'd never been outdoor climbing before, and had actually previousy assumed that you had to be able to lead climb to do it, which I can't, but he assured me that they would be setting up toprope courses.

The bouldering courses were WAY harder, per grade, than the equivalents at my gym in Kitchener.

The bouldering courses were WAY harder, per grade, than the equivalents at my gym in Kitchener.

Here are the pictures from Silver Harbour, about 20 minutes outside of Thunder Bay. I'm looking back on them fondly since the enjoying-the-outdoors season is quickly drawing to a close here, and there are no indoor (or, obviously, outdoor) climbing walls in Regina (other than a crossfit gym that costs $170 a month, has a seasonal bouldering wall, and advertises with a big picture of a banana-back handstand on its outside wall... no thanks!!) IIRC, I managed all four of the courses that the more experienced climbers set up for the topropers in the group, although my phone ran out of battery after the first one.

"Uh, how am I supposed to get up there exactly??"

"Uh, how am I supposed to get up there exactly??"

Getting going

Getting going

The kind of gripping I had to do felt super different from in the gym., although I'm not sure in exactly what way.

The kind of gripping I had to do felt super different from in the gym., although I'm not sure in exactly what way.

At this point, I was informed that my only hope was to shove my leg as far into the crack as it would go.

At this point, I was informed that my only hope was to shove my leg as far into the crack as it would go.

Crushin' it, bro.

Crushin' it, bro.

Yay, this whole rope idea actually works!

Yay, this whole rope idea actually works!