The secret to climbing is pixie dust

I still get scared when I climb. Granted, I haven’t climbed all that many times, despite being surrounded by it for a while now...But still, the fear remains. Though it has gotten easier. I wrote about this fear and how photography helps push me through it in an Outdoor Women’s Alliance article. I’ve come a long way since that trip to Joshua Tree. This past weekend I faced a major hurdle that I once opted out of: The Malibu Creek Traverse. (dun dun dun). It is a traverse that I watched my friends and Jared Leto cross with effortless ease. Ya, no, really the actual Jared Leto. The successful actor and 30 Seconds to Mars frontman, now turned avid climber and buddies with Alex Honnold and whoever the hell else he wants to be friends with. From the safety of a land boulder, I took a (very bad) picture of him and Traci waving to me from the traverse flanked by stagnant water that translates into lava in my brain.

That was almost three years ago. Thanks to the amazing winter California had, Malibu Creek’s water is now a bit cleaner and actually consists of a running creek. I’ve never heard running water there before. There were cliff divers galore and an air of summary freedom. It was beautiful. But the water? Still lava. And the traverse? Still daunting- especially with my camera in tow. But I had climbing shoes, I had a lot more climbing under my belt, and I wasn’t going to chicken out this time. I still hated it. Every movement was tense and scared. I wasn’t fearful for my life - falling two feet into algae filled water wasn’t exactly a death sentence. But it wasn’t something I welcomed either. Still, I did it. And then I faced the next challenge. Vertical climbing. Even on easy routes, I reach a certain height and level of exposure, and the fear sets in. I start to question why I’m up there. Like literally question. If you've ever climbed with me, you'll hear me say, what the *&%$& am I doing up here? I hate this! But then. I do it again. Because it is thrilling and it does feel good to conquer your fears. Fear is a powerful voice in your head. It will stop you from doing the things that can change your life. I’ve already promised myself to never stop being real. So here’s my promise to never let fear guide me. Oh and magic pixie dust (aka chalk) is your best friend - unless you have some sort of genetic mutation that does not allow sweat to be released from your palms. Like ever. ehem. Traci. ehem.

Shani LeeadComment