My necklace, and some thoughts about existence

I wear a necklace with a leather string, and two silver hangers. A carabiner, and a flower.
The carabiner represents, what climbing means in my life.
Courage. The courage to go, and meet your limits, see your fear, and leave it behind you.
The courage to reach higher, further, to go to the top, to find my dreams.
I think that there is no freedom without courage.

The flower represents the lotus of a Buddha mind. Harmony, the inner self, peace.
Like a japanese sakura – the cherished cherry blossom – it lives so shortly, and beautifully, and then vanishes and dies.
It reminds me, that life has to be lived beautifully.

Sometimes I feel alone. Busy among friends and family, surrounded by laughter and people, and still alone.
I have chosen to abandon husband, and cosiness of married life, to be true to myself.
For so many years, I havent found anyone to share my life with. I keep walking, higher and higher.
Sometimes I think, will there still be love for me in this life? Or have I spent my quota?

I am alone, fighting my way towards my own mountain, whether physical, or in my mind.
The day will come where I die. That day comes to everyone, and we will all be alone on that day, facing the mystery of existence.
So, I comfort myself, thinking, that aloneneness is a good thing to practice.

We should not only live with courage and beauty, but finish our journey on earth in the same way.

High up a multipitch route, where I feel, that I belong.

Me and my necklace, high up a multipitch route, in Montserrat, Spain. Where I feel, that I belong.

Learning the craft of tradclimbing

Image

Trad climbing course on Kullaberg, Sweden. Stefan Jacobsen, my instructor, gives a running commentary, while I try not to freak.

I have been climbing for about 1 year now.

It is a passionate love story, between me and the rocks. When I started, I was dreaming of high, snow clad mountains.

(I still have this dream!)

But in the meanwhile, I have discovered the beauty of meeting yourself, your fears, your physical limit on lines in crags much shorter thatn 5000 m. How clean the mind becomes when you let the body guide you, purely concentrated on surviving, getting the next hold, finding the balance,  breathing.

The first step, the  very beginning – climbing plastic holds in my local gym at OSKK was pretty scary. I was worried to fall down the 20 cm, that my partner would forget to hold the rope. Somehow I learned to trust my partner, discovered that you dont learn to climb harder without pushing to the limit and taking these falls.

The second step, getting outside, doing sport climbing routes on real rocks. They felt much more hard and sharp than the plastic holds in the gym. I was scared, 3 meters up, under the sky, confused how to translate my knowledge of holding pink and blue grips into this ocean of grey stone.  Again I discovered, that to climb harder, to meet yourself at your limit, to get this transcendental experience of yourself alone in the world on the rock, climbing up, up, up – you have to fail, and fail,  take a lot of falls. You have to trust your partner, the rope, the shiny bolts in the wall. The coctail is a magical drug, enchanting, providing sore fingers and silly, instant happiness.

I just took the third step.

Tradclimbing.

Meeting the rock, virgin as it is, without any man made enhancements to assure protection and safe falls. Bringing your own gear, placing it meticulously, judging the probability it will stay there in case of a fall. Freaking out whe you go too high above the last placement, and cant find a good spot for the next piece of gear. Breathing slowly, calming down your beating heart.

On the beginners course, an instructor was hanging on a rope next to me all the time.

Own gear, is own responsibility.

Its up to me myself to ensure I come down alive, and healthy.

The first climbing trip to the crag, after graduating the beginners class was an empowering and scary experience. Leading a route without an instructor next to me, alone, seperated by a 20 m vertical wall from the rest of humanity, I discovered I was discussing with my guarding angel.

– Come on, help me out here. Will this hold?

And the sun breaks trough, shines on a hold, I finish leading the route.

Bubbling happiness, silly happiness, still so many things to learn.

Full of gratitude to teachers, belayers, climbing friends and guarding angels.