Exercise With Verbs for Me, Climbing Lingo for You

1) Muse’s directive: “Use the following verbs in any way you wish: racket, snug, green, spoon, boggle, snake. Not all verbs, you say?…Verbs are sometimes a matter of opinion.”

We stroll into the climbing gym, Sandy and I, with gear in hand. We’re eager to get started. But no sooner does my sandaled foot touch the floor than a gaggle of girl scouts pours through the door behind us. They flow and break around us like a rushing current, and we stand, inert as stones in a stream. The clan rackets about, pushing, howling, giggling, poking, biting. I wonder momentarily if we are actually in the company of chimps who’ve been snugged up in official green vests to be passed off for real human offspring.  I’d probably try that too if it meant I’d be granted year-round access to Thin Mints and Samoas. Fearing rabies, Sandy and I hopscotch around the girls.

Once in the inner sanctum of the gym, we begin to gear up.

“Hah, watch that buckle, Colt,” Sandy sneers at my Craigslist harness, “Make a ‘C’ not an ‘O’,”he advises. I’m glad he’s reminded me because this isn’t a design I’m accustomed to. This thing looked more trustworthy in the picture. I actually think there’s a burn mark on one of the leg straps. Who needs those anyway?

We stub our toes into our climbing shoes and chalk up our hands. Sandy starts doing some static stretches to warm up,  but I try to jump right onto my favorite V1 bouldering problem. I’m thwarted by a guy trying to green a barbie to bouldering for the first time. It’s plain as day she’s not outdoorsy and only came here because she’s into the dude.

I skirt around them and start canvassing the wall to get limber, spooning my heel to the bigger holds so i can stretch out my legs. Once Sandy and I are both warm and content, we meander through the hoard of chimp-scouts and head for the top roping section of the gym.

I’m climbing first, so I thread my figure-eight and barrel knot into the rope in front of the track I’ve been eyeing. It’s a 5.9+ with an overhang at the top where all the holds look to get sparse. I’m just starting to plot out my moves when a girl on the next track (a 5.11) catches my eye. Sandy takes note of my distraction,  and we collectively boggle out because we suddenly don’t feel very manly. This chick’s got guns to spare and she moves quick like a spider, which is attractive in a creepy way.

I shake my head to clear it and give Sandy the word that I’m ready. He clicks the safety on the biner and takes up the slack through his ATC while I approach the wall.  Smearing the sole of my right shoe in a backstep, I grip the first jug with my left hand. I let my center of gravity rest in my hips against the wall before I snake my right hand up for the next hold.

2) My current word count for my novel is: 17,866/30,000.

3) Muse’s next directive: “Who’s the tallest person you know? The homeliest? The crankiest? The meekest? People at the bitter end of any continuum invite trouble. Begin with an extreme and see what happens.”

P.S. Explore here for more fun with climbing lingo.

2 thoughts on “Exercise With Verbs for Me, Climbing Lingo for You

  1. bethy

    So proud of you for not only overcoming quite a challenging verb feat, but for doing the research and using real climbing terms. I always really really appreciate when a writer cares enough about what they are writing about to make it accurate (like info hunting on topics they like the idea of but have no or little actual experience with) so as not to insult those who will come across the story and are intimatley familiar with the topic of the peice. But I’ve been thinking….my responses on here may or may not be helping. I’ve realized I haven’t been following the critic outline you gave to me. I’m so sorry. I guess I don’t do well with outlined responses. However, dear writer, you hold a special place in my heart and if you need to reinforce the structure of what my replies should be, just send me a line. (I do understand if I don’t hear from you as you are busy writing a book and a blog currently and mayhap be just a smidge worn out on writing). At any rate, just call or text or blog me back so I can know if my willy-nilly write-backs are helpfull at all.

  2. Andrej Dukalev

    As a person who casually frequents climbing gyms I must say I abhor gaggles of kids running around the climbing gym as they are first and foremost not safe, come with lumbering parents that take up space while not doing anything, and run around like sugar high cocker spaniels that jump on and off the wall while I am trying to examine a route like one would a baroque painting. One does not do that in a museum nor should they do the same at the gym. As a pastime started by people that use “dude” more than the average American ever should, this sport is not high intensity or frantic. Next time I will go to your sons little league game and start running around the bases out of order just because who needs formality and curtsey?
    I say that Sandy is all wrong, why do static stretches. Canvasing or starting on easy Vlownumber is the correct way to start, duh.
    I find it funny that you hit the nail on the head on the type of people you see at the gym by including kids and first dates, you just missed the one dude without a shirt. It is funny how you see people use climbing gym terms like second nature. I am sure we do that for all hobbies that we do, I must thank the forefathers of climbing on making them as intuitive as possible. Thanks dudes!


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