Have you ever spent a good chunk of your holiday weekend clinging to the bare rock of a 4000+ foot mountain, exposed and terrified?
I did on Saturday! We climbed Grace Peak in the Adirondacks by taking the Great Slide route.
This is a route I swore up and down I would never attempt, because it was too overwhelming looking and sounding. I had stood at the bottom of it last year, crying, and did not climb it.
Take a look:
This a picture of what is called a slide (where a land slide has stripped the plants and earth from a mountain, leaving the rock exposed), a semi-popular way to climb mountains in my area. This picture is taken from about the middle of the slide, looking up towards the summit. My route followed that bare rock all the way up.
I climb a lot of mountains, but I don't CLIMB them, I hike them and sometimes have to do rock scrambles. Any true climbing is limited to 10-15 feet max.
This was way out of my comfort zone.
Why did I do it?
Because it scared me. Because, when faced with the chance to climb it last year, I chickened out. Because it was hard.
And oh, it was hard for me. The exposure! I hate feeling so totally exposed when the slope is that high. I like feeling protected by the trees (so if I slip and fall, I won't fall more than a few feet). There could be NO slipping here, or else I could get really hurt (and see how it is wet in places!).
The scariest moments, by far, were the moments when I had to traverse sideways and vertically along a crack, only my toes balanced on a rock, my fingers shoved in the cracks, hips pressed close to the mountain, and nothing below me except 100 feet of near vertical rock.
The pictures cannot fully show you how crazy this is! My heart rate was HIGH the entire time from adrenaline. At one point, while clinging to a part that jutted out that I had to scoot around (meaning I was hanging off the mountain, with only my own strength to keep me on), I was trying to reach up and grab a rock and some scrub to pull myself up, and I found that my leg was trembling beyond my control. I had to stand in that spot, deep breathing and getting control of myself before I could make a move.
The summit was the least scary part of the climb, because the cracks in the mountain were SO deep, they shielded me on all sides and I felt safe.
The summit was TRULY gorgeous. The day was perfect - warm but not hot, clear, stunning skies and views. AND - we had the summit to ourselves! So lucky on a busy holiday weekend.
We went down a different way - down a protected, treed-in herd path. Safe back at camp, we got to ENJOY camp. It was a great site, with our own waterfalls, swimming holes, and quiet space:
I did something I swore last year I never would - something I thought I could NOT do, something that was too scary.
And here I am! Alive, more alive than before I did it, and enthralled. :) My body was stronger, more balanced, more capable than I could imagine. I am learning to put more and more trust in myself through the years, which leads me to accomplished bigger and better things.
Challenge yourself, you might surprise yourself!
Hope everyone's weekend was great. We took today, Monday, to fix up the house, pull up the last carpet, organize, clean, and get ready for our week (so much gorgeous food in the house - roast chicken, beets, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, tons of spinach, the usual!).