BY AMANDA BEALS
Chris O’Connel, owner and aficionado of the Boston Rock Gym contacted me a few weeks back. O’Connel is a dedicated and kindly reader of my almost daily epistle and wondered if rock climbing was on my agenda during my year of “elite fitness.” HELL YA! I replied.
As many of you may know, I work in social media consulting. I cut out the PR agency out of a media campaign and take it straight to the web. I create a digital strategy to capture the the trends of the media as it has almost fully jumped ship from newspapers and radio to cloud computing, mobile devices and social networking.
Anyway, I’m on board at the Boston Rock Gym and in turn I get to train and write about my experiences as a novice ( oh so novice) climber who still has more junk in the trunk than she should and a bosom that keeps her from actually getting flush against the wall. I wonder if my Zaftig figure is akin to a bulldog swimming? Are we both destined to drop like a boulder in water? Time will tell.
What I do know is the following:
I humbly bow before the young athletes that do climb, boulder and forge new, breathtaking death defying routes for the immortal to chance their luck.
I say this with out pretense and with complete humility.
I had the pleasure of attending the Reel Rock Film Festival at The Regent in Arlington last Thursday night.
Two words from the Film Festival: Alex Honnold. (PLEASE WATCH VIDEO)
I will plainly admit: I have no words to describe Honnold as a climber. The 23 year-old, featured in Nat Geo’s new series, First Ascent, becomes the first person to free solo Half Dome’s NW face. And, for those not in the climbing community, this means the kid climbed a sheer, flat rock without ropes. Honnold climbed with pluck, a quiet mind and graceful gait.
The California Geological Survey about Half Dome in 1865 stated: “It is a crest of granite… perfectly inaccessible, being probably the only one of the prominent points about the Yosemite which never has been, and never will be, trodden my human foot.” Well, it got trodden, people by a veritable Spiderman.
As I watched this episode of Honnold’s ascent, I felt dizzy, nauseous and quite honestly not believing my eyes. I sought information. How does a person train for such a climb? What is Honnold’s diet? Does Honnold have water with him? How the hell is this being filmed? The only facts I received that were even tangentially related to Honnold were that he reads Dostoyevsky, he possibly has never been kissed, lives in a van and arguably has the empty mind and quiet soul of the Buddha (sans body fat) seeking enlightenment not under a tree but in his embrace of the rock.