The world of climbing is a funny place, as I learned on our recent visit to Klättercentret ("The Climbing Center") in Telefonplan, an area in south Stockholm. From kids as young as 3 to 85-year-olds, people of all kinds climb. For some, it's an occasional afternoon activity; for others, it's an everyday routine. Climbing clothes, harness, sand to keep hands dry (a constant issue for me), headphones. And go for it. Up and up and sometimes upside-down. For the exercise, for the fun, for the thrill.
Maija, Sanna, Nina & I - totally blending in, didn't look like newbies at all, right?
I have a tiny fear of heights, for instance, in jumping off high places into water (an activity that I've surprisingly had a fair number of go-at's). I stand atop the perch for a long time. So long in fact that any by-standers have bet their lives I'll back down. And then I finally jump. With a terrified look on my face, I take the plunge. And I haven't regretted it yet.
see Katie climb
But with climbing, you don't even notice the height until you're pretty far up. You just concentrate on getting to the top the best way possible, and then look down with a slight panic. But it's a good panic, if that makes sense.
You can get up pretty easily using all the pegs, or the hard way by choosing a color. Each color in an area is a course or route to the top, and can be one of many levels with 10 being the most difficult. I made it up a 6A - not bad for a beginner.
I loved the climbing - even if my muscles didn't. It's truly a full-body work-out, every muscle clenched in pushing you upward and onward. I hope to go back to Klättercentret soon - and next time I'll conquer a 6B.