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MIT blogger Elizabeth C. '13

In which Elizabeth tries something new. by Elizabeth C. '13

(My idea of thrills is changing the location of my bookshelf.)

The other day I learned something new. After being here for almost three years, I learned that MIT has a climbing wall. Now, in any other circumstance, this would have been a mere blip on my daily radar of Shiny-Things-That-Distract-Me. But on this day, Chris not only had to give me hard time for not knowing this thing existed (I live under a rock, apparently… so much so that I don’t know about the giant rocks on campus…), but he even had to go as far to suggest that I might try going there sometime (the horror!), leading to a momentary, but non-negligable, conversation on how I should try rock climbing. Now, before you think, “Elizabeth, that seems like a perfectly reasonable direction for that conversation to take,” I just want say:

Homies. Have. You. Seen. My. Arms.

This was my response to the conversation:

(Minus the fact that I DO NOT HAVE STEVE AUSTIN’S ARMS/UPPER BODY STRENGTH!) I also don’t have the greatest track record with climbing things. Over the summer, I climbed a tree in a banana suit (long story) and got stuck.

(I call this one, “You thought I was kidding but I actually totally wasn’t.”)

Thus, I immediately dismissed the entire notion of rock climbing. So while the blip was more like a bloop, it was still a bloop nonetheless, and I went about the rest of my week unaffected by this new nugget of knowledge.

Turns out the rest of the week was kind of hard for me and for a lot of other people, as I discovered during dinner on Friday night when Luke attempted to eat one of the centerpieces.

Yup. It was just one of those weeks. And I was just glad the week was over. I was ready to unwind and veg for a couple hours. I was going to watch a rerun of Modern Family. And then Luke, unaware of my brief encounter with the wall earlier that week, HAD to bring up that by some FREAK COINCIDENCE he was going to climbing at the wall that night, and the rest of the table – who apparently all frequent the wall because I have been completely unaware of the fact that they are avid climbers – were going too. Why was this wall haunting me?? Here is the reader’s digest version of what followed:

1. Luke tries to convince me to go climbing. See conversation with Chris.

2. Chris D., a staff member of the wall and fellow Simmons resident, says he’s bringing strobe lights for a disco-themed climb night at the wall. My position still stands.

3. Other people decide to go as well. GrumblegrumblepeerpressureI’mstillnotgoing.

4. Luke: “If you go, you could blog about it…” OKAY I’M IN SUCKERS!

Thus, Luke, Sasha, and I made our trek to Walker Memorial. It used to be a gym but now it’s a multipurpose building and houses the offices of many of the student groups. I don’t have fond memories associated with the building, but then again, I’ve only been there to take exams.

We made our way up to the third floor and found the room that houses the climbing wall. Chris D. was pretty excited for the evening when we got there. This is actually him in the middle of saying, “I’m so excited!” When we arrived, I met an alum who told me that the climbing wall was built by students around 2006. People in the MIT community use it for bouldering, which doesn’t involve climbing super high. Upon discovering this, my blood pressure significantly lowered. With a $1 fee, I picked up some climbing shoes and I was ready to go! Well, almost…

I think this is Luke in the middle of saying, “Stop asking me if you’re going to fall and break your neck, you’re going to be fine, Elizabeth.”

And actually, things went pretty well! I made it up my first route and was feeling on top of the world (or this room, rather). And then Chris D. turned off the lights and turned on the strobe lights. I must say, if you ever try bouldering, doing it with blacklights and dubstep your first time is… an experience. My phone went a little nuts trying to capture photos.

It’s super fun, but a little difficult when all the tapes that mark the routes are changing colors…

Nathan, another Simmons resident, it a pretty super climber. Look at that lil’ monkey go! (Just kidding. Nathan, I don’t know you that well, so if you read this I hope you don’t take offense at me calling you a monkey.) People stopped by throughout the night and were super friendly and helpful to n00bs like me who had never touched a climbing wall before. Thank you to Nathan, Chris D., and Luke for humoring me while I obnoxiously shouted, “Wait, where does my foot go next? Wait how am I supposed to put my arm over there? Wait, how does this work?!?!” while hanging paralyzed on the wall.

Ootz ootz ootz ootz

“O hai”

So, moral of the story is – Mom, I tried something new! Something that I didn’t want to do at first but then ended up having a lot of fun doing! Also, MIT has a bouldering wall! And now I know what I’m going this Friday night! But for now I’m going to stop typing because my arms are still sooo sore… oof.