Ah, the breeze gusting through your hair, the astounding views, the feel of hard earth under your fingernails and under your feet, the triumph as you climb over that last boulder and take it all in, the pleasant ache in your muscles…The view from the top, to the earth which is far, far below.
Mountain climbing. It’s a rush and it’s a popular pastime for adrenaline junkies and outdoor enthusiasts. But popular climbing places like Yosemite National Park are a good half a day’s drive away—and of course, for those of us scared of heights (read: falls), dangerous. Enter Stoneworks Climbing Gym, right here in Beaverton, Oregon, a large suburb of Portland.
Stoneworks Climbing Gym allows you to get your mountaineering fix year round without having to take time off from work, gear up, and risk life and limb. “Boasting walls up to 32 feet high with overhangs, roofs, caves, and more, this gym has had a route for everyone since 1993.” Stoneworks caters to rock climbers of all shapes, sizes and experience levels.
My fear of heights is well-documented and very, very real. My wife is trying to break me of this fear, and it started with the Tram ride. Next up on this list was rock climbing, though this wasn’t entirely voluntary. I discovered one Saturday when the missus coaxed me into the car and began to drive, I didn’t know where we were going, but she told me I was going to be perfectly safe and perfectly adrenaline filled. These are not words I generally like to hear.
So when we arrived at the newly renovated facility and I realized what I was in for, I was shaking in my boots, but then I looked over at my wife. Brave as brave could be. No way could I chicken out and let her be the brave one, so, I complied.
As we approached one of the smaller rock walls and the helpful guide strapped me in, gave me my safety gear and explained how completely and utterly safe I was, I began to feel at ease and, gingerly I began to ascent up the behemoth wall (well, my perspective, it was behemoth. In reality, we’re talking fifteen feet). I began to find comfort in the molded stones as I hugged and lunged and stretched and panted my way up the wall. A few times, I tried to repel down but my wife wouldn’t let me. She stayed level with me, smiled and encouraged me up that rock wall. I just kept looking up and, before I knew it, I had reached the top!
I had done it! I had conquered my fear! And, as I repelled down the wall and prepared myself for one just a little bit bigger, my wife smiled. She’d never looked more proud. Stoneworks also offers lessons, kids camps and group climbs. Stoneworks Climbing Gym is located at 6775 SW 111th Beaverton Oregon 97008. Visit their wbesite at http://belay.com/ for pricing and other information.