Saturday, October 6, 2012

Damai Wall

Oh look - I'm back to blogging, and this is a post longer than a photo plus a few sentences!

You must be wondering, though, Reader - just how many different posts can I write on the same subject? Just how many different ways can I describe a rock face with bolts on it? Well, I don't know, but I keep trying =D

So, Damai is the only one (of the more popular climbing sites) at Batu Caves that I haven't covered. The place is way more "comfortable" than Nanyang and Nyamuk. There's a proper carpark (not as proper as being complete with neat white lines, but still...), well-maintained grounds with paved paths, benches, a small playground for children, and a nice footpath covered in a-sort-of rubber flooring right next to the wall. It's basically a small recreational park where one can also rock-climb. There are supposed to be public restrooms too, though I didn't manage to locate them.

The view, back-facing the wall:

And the view, back-facing the park:

I only realised after a while that my first few shots did not include *any* climbers currently climbing. So, here:

Anyway, unlike my regular climbing gym, outdoor routes are never marked with their difficulty. I'd usually ask if one is "difficult" before I start on it, but the answer's always that they're sure I could do it. So, really, I never know until I'm up there and I finish, or I hurt one of my joints and have to give up.

After a relatively lengthy break from climbing, I got started on a purportedly 6a+. Reader, you must know that I can barely complete a 6a indoor route even when climbing regularly. But hey, no one wants to put up with a total wimp, so when the guy told me it's "mostly OK, with just a couple of cruxes", I said alright, I'll give it a try. I got stuck at the first crux for quite a while (poor belayer, but thank goodness he was so patient!) but I got past it. Belayer commented "Wow, you got past that part!" and that sort-of compliment got me really motivated to go on, despite the throbbing pain in my left shoulder, which sort of got pulled the wrong way getting past "that part". The human brain is very funny - I had studied how it reacts to compliments, understood how shallow such feel-good-stimulants can be - and yet, I still get affected by them. In a good way, in this instance, of course. Anyway, mind over matter isn't always enough to achieve what is beyond my physical limits. At the second crux, just a little way below the second last runner, my lack of height, length of limbs and brute strength failed me. I did not manage to finish the route. I think it's that crux that gives the otherwise 6a route the "+". Oh, well.

I did two more on that occasion, and finished both, though one of them I managed partly because the belayer wouldn't let me down unless I went all the way up (her version of motivation, but yea, it worked...)

Reader, now I am going to digress.

At times, when I read about people who travel the world, set up camps and spend all day just climbing, I feel pangs of envy. I mean, I'd love to do that too, wouldn't I? Climb till the skins come off my hands, rub antiseptic all over them, and then climb some more! Well, maybe not to that extreme - I am not a fan of open wounds and bloody smears on the rocks - but seriously, wouldn't it be really fun to climb until I get sick of climbing? (Oh... no, I'll never get sick of climbing... what a nonsensical thought! A man was cleaning my 4th floor office window - from the *outside* - today and when I took a peek at him through the blinds, I noticed, of all things, that he was wearing a Petzl harness. Yea, climbing has become that much part of me now.)

Imagine - a few awesome days (or weeks!) away from the responsibilities of regular life, just camping and climbing. I know my last camping trip didn't go so well. I also shudder at the mere thought of having no proper toilet / shower, or worse, having to use the toilet when something I'm really scared of is in it... (a small part of the trip I didn't share was that my friend, who was and still is, terrified of frogs, had to use the toilet in the middle of the night and there was a frog right on the wall inside..... in case you're wondering, yes, frogs can totally perch on walls - see the following photo, which by the way, was taken in the bathroom in my house and is totally unrelated to whatever I'm writing about now *ahem*)

I'm not scared of frogs, but there are other things that'll freak me out. No, I'm not going to make a list. I think I made my point.

Despite all that - wouldn't it still be grand to just camp and climb, and not think about any of the things that upset me? Simply grand!

Right, end of digression, end of post.

Good night, world!


laura.forestdreams:) said...

i don't know about all that climbing stuff...but i imagine if you were to do it all after'd end up with leg muscles that look like arnold schwartzeneger''s...

now, i'm not scared of those little tree frogs, but i have had one jump on me while in the about being surprised!! i almost made a sky light in the bathroom!!

neil said...

Whoa... I wouldn't want to be "surprised" like that! @.@