Emilie, Student, Years Climbing: a bit less than a year.
With climbing, I could let go of some sort of control that I am otherwise not able to.
I always have moments where I'm completely disconnected from everything else in a climbing session: the only thing that matters is how to do the next move – not to reach the top anchor, not to climb any specific grade, but just how to best place that foot, how to grab that next hold or where to position my body.
My ability to find joy in those small things is also what I think is my strength as a climber: I am hard on myself, but I still find joy in simple, small things.
I enjoy long sports routes with an even difficulty (no major ”cruxes”). That is how I get the most intense climbing experience and also the most adrenaline – in such routes you have to stay focused all the time in order not to fall. For me that is almost meditation.
One experience I often think about is a long vertical route in Margalef in Spain that was slightly more difficult than I had predicted. I was at the edge of falling all the time, but I stayed calm the whole route and forgot to think about whether I was on belay or not. I just kept climbing, breathing and clipping and when I got to the top anchor, the sun was about to set and I sat down in my harness just looking at the beautiful mountains and I remember thinking something like ”no matter what happens in life, at least I have this”.
I started climbing in Denmark which is completely flat and basically has no outdoor rock climbing. All climbing happens on artificial walls. I recall sport climbing sessions on outdoor walls in the middle of the city before sunrise. After some hard routes, I just lay down on the ground, listening to the distant sound of the city slowly waking up. Those experiences of climbing in complete silence in an urban environment were valuable to me.
Copenhagen is very special to me and I am glad I started on artificial walls. It makes climbing more about the movements for me – I don't find artificial walls boring and the outdoor experience is just an awesome extra that I'm always looking forward to get back to! Besides, in Copenhagen, one never needs to enter a car. You can bike everywhere!