Saturday, August 15, 2015

Leaping Out in Faith, Or, I've Been Climbing So Much Lately

I admit it, Amanda and I have totally drank the Kool-aid in regard to rock climbing.

I'm sure that many of you have seen the photos we've been posting on Facebook and some of you have even come climbing with us (we have an open invitation to anyone who wants to come climb... we still have guest passes at the Y and we can probably finagle something with our REI membership if you want to come along for that).

I've been saying that I like climbing so much because it's like a giant puzzle that I can only solve by moving my body through it... it engages me on so many levels. I need to use my critical thinking to see the steps of the puzzle, I need to engage my physicality to actually climb the wall, and I'm also engaged as a part of community; if you want to climb with a top rope or a lead, you need to have someone belaying for you at the bottom. Which also means that every so often you, yourself need to belay for someone else. In this way, everyone gets support from others.

Well, I mean, you also get support from your community because climbers celebrate anytime someone tops out on the wall or solves a particularly hard problem. But this post is about the line that supports us, that binds, that keeps us from going splat on the floor. It's a faithful line that we walk, er, hang on... And there's a particular knot that holds the whole thing together.

The picture to the right is a bracelet that I learned how tie with knots that are used in climbing (I know, chugging the Kool-aid, I know). That top knot is known as a double fisherman's knot or a double overhand knot. It really just ties the tail of your line onto itself so it doesn't get caught on anything. The bottom knot is a double figure-8. It creates a loop so that you can actually tie your harness onto the line (when it includes a follow-through with the tail end). Some climbers have been known to use a bowline on a bight, but the double figure-8 is the more universal knot, both in popularity and versatility. There is also something that approaches mysticism around that double figure-8.