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zoe & the beatles

just a twenty-something vegan navigating healthy, positive living with a little help from her friends john, paul, ringo & george!

i’ve made it no secret. i have a new love in my life. he’s earthy. and rough. and makes me all hot and sweaty (how inappropriate am i ;)). and i love it.

ladies and gentleman (if there are any?), allow me to introduce to you to my love: ROCK CLIMBING.

most of you have a vague idea of what rock climbing is. to you, the immediate image might be this:

all ropes and fancy harnesses and fake, plastic rocks and different colored tape on marking routes you don’t understand. but rock climbing is also more than this. rock climbing can look like this, too:

chris sharma, badass climber extraordinaire and professional piece of eye candy (but seriously. ladies who are attracted to guys (and you know what, for that matter, ladies who are attracted to ladies and guys who are attracted to guys!), you have not seen a body worth drooling over till you have seen a rock climber’s body. holy. god. yes, i am fifteen again). here this amazing, amazing climber is doing something called bouldering: climbing rocks without the support of a rope.

and so is this guy, alex honnold, but on a much more intense level. this guy free solos. everything.

including half-dome, pictured above. all 3568 feet of it. without a rope. this is an extreme version of rock climbing that only a small, elite group of people really participate in. this would scare me shitless. talk about bad.ass. for reals.

but let me step back and tell you my brief, yet passionate, love story with rock climbing. the first time i ever climbed, i was a kid, maybe seven or eight, and at a birthday party. as a young girl, i loved to climb everything. i climbed all over the playground, climbed up trees, climbed up rocks. heights never bothered me and still don’t, an advantage i have when climbing. at this party i only got to shimmy up the wall once or twice but i remember loving it. i remember loving the challenge and thinking about how fun it was.

though i loved the experience, i never did it again until college. well, until last semester, really. i am fortunate to have attended (still a weird concept for me. i cannot believe i am not in school any more…) a college with a pretty legit climbing wall. it’s small, yes, but not very many people climb there and the routes are super fun and challenging. can you all guess who got me into climbing? k, of course! he lives and breathes climbing. seriously. he’s amazing to watch on the wall or on the rock and has taught me so much in the past few months.

i remember the first day i went with him and another friend, some time during my junior year. it was scary and intimidating. all the people around me climbed so effortlessly and boasted muscles i only dreamed of. no way was i that strong. after that first day i went only one other time after getting belay certified (being the person with the rope at the bottom of the wall keeping the person climbing alive) and did so with another friend of mine, nate. well, i sucked at belaying and he kind of dropped a few feet, which spooked him a little. naturally, nate freaked out and kind of yelled at me in front of the whole gym. douchey move? hell yes. then he told me i shouldn’t be belaying if i don’t really know how. so i took that comment to heart and never stepped foot on the rock wall floor again.

…till last semester, that is. last semester, my entire life changed. i stopped running. i stopped living, essentially, in my school’s gyms. k bought me a pair of used, mismatched climbing shoes

(remember these?)

and i took a deep breath, found some cajones, and tied into my first route.

how was it? exhilerating. frightening. intimidating. i was scared to climb in front of all these people who seemed like climbing experts. i didn’t want to embarrass myself. what i found, however, was a group of thoughtful, encouraging, and incredibly helpful, kind people who wanted nothing for me but to succeed. like in yoga, climbers only want to see fellow climbers achieve their goals.

it took no time for me to fall in love with rock climbing. i replaced the old shoes with a brand spankin’ expensive new pair…

and bought a harness (choosing to forgo the light purple harness targeted towards women. what, women suddenly only have pink and purple to choose from? please.)

i found myself climbing outside with friends

(my friend charise, an incredible (and modest) climber, bouldering at goat rock)

(charise belaying k up a route, also goat rock)

(joe helping k repel down the side of a (giant) mountain in santa cruz. oddly enough also called goat rock…)

(finally, k beasting through a route at goat rock, santa cruz, ca)

i have fallen head-over-heels in love with climbing. and no, it is not because my boyfriend climbs. it is because i feel a strength when i climb unlike any other strength i have ever felt. i feel challenged and pushed to my physical limits. with each new improvement, each new monument in my climbing career, i feel empowered.

similar to yoga, climbing allows me to experience my body and all it has to offer. like yoga, climbing requires breath to movement, focus and concentration, a positive mind-set. climbing shows me just how amazing my body truly is and just how much i can accomplish if i put my mind to it.

some people run marathons to prove to themselves their bodies are amazing. me? i climb rocks.

oh, and to top it all off, look what i found the other day at planet granite?

oh yes my loves. that would be a chalk bag (chalk is used to soak up the sweat on your hands). but not any chalk bag. a beatles chalk bag. you would of thought i found a friggin pot of gold with the way i reacted. but no, i did not find a pot of gold. just the most badass chalk bag there ever was.

so if you’ve ever felt like climbing, please, just do it. no one is judging you. everyone is there to support you, actually. gift yourself the gift of climbing and discover the depths of your strength. ’cause you’ve got a lot pack into that little body of yours, believe me 🙂

have you ever climbed? did you like it? do you climb? do you want to climb? tell me about it!




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