Rock climbing is unlike any other sport I've ever tried. It's not fast. It's not heart-pumping gonna make you sweat. Instead, it's a strategic journey in which the climber maps his/her path up a puzzle that runs perpendicular to the ground. Each body movement needs to be measured and precise. And yes, most of the work seems to be done by your fingers and your forearms. Of course, a seasoned climber might disagree with me; however, on my last trip up and down the climbing wall it was my fingers that I kept cursing for slipping or being too weak to hold me until I had positioned my body.
|A range of hand/foot holds to get up the wall|
On a climbing wall you choose your route. As you can see best by the coloured tape at my feet, I was on an easier 5.8 pink route (I think they go up to around 5.15 at the gym I was at). Some of the holds were fantastic - big, rounded, and easy to hold onto. Others were like over-sized thumbtacks that didn't do much for me except help me balance out before making my next move. The other photo on the page shows there are a lot of different types of holds that climbing walls use. The bigger ones make climbing easier because there's more to step on or hold. As climbs increase in difficulty, the holds get smaller and/or more awkward.
Although it's not fast-paced, as I moved to tougher climbs I did find myself sweating. And my poor little fingers couldn't always keep me on the wall. I actually turned down hand chalk, which is used to get a better grip on awkward holds. Oh the arrogance of the naive! Next week, there will be chalk. And yes, I've been pumping iron with my fingers (well... punching keys while typing words. It's gotta help).