5 Lessons I Learned My First Time Rock Climbing

“I don’t think I’ve ever climbed a tree.”

I'll admit, I was a little scared to climb.

I’ll admit, I was a little scared to go rock climbing.

This was my thought a few hours after my first attempt at rock climbing. I probably should have realized it sooner. But I’m glad I didn’t. If I had, I wouldn’t have even attempted to rock climb in Utah’s beautiful American Fork Canyon.

My first time “rock climbing”—yes, I’m using quotes because I didn’t get very far—needs some context. I have a really cool job at USANA. As the internal communications coordinator, I write content for our internal website, which includes stories about awesome employees doing some amazing things

Two of those employees/rock climbers are Social Media Specialist, Sarah Flinn and Lab Associate, Jenna Templeton. After asking them if I could write a story about this cool hobby—and spend an afternoon rock climbing—they convinced me, and my boss, Executive Director of Communications, Amy Haran, to try it too.

Here are five lessons I learned my first time rock climbing:

1. Don’t be so intimidated

During the approach to the climb, I kept looking up at the canyon walls thinking, “I can’t do this.” Totally the wrong attitude to have. Anything in life can be intimidating, but being in the right mindset can help you conquer a daunting situation.

2. Be trusting

This goes for the equipment, yourself, and whomever you may be climbing with—especially the person belaying you. (Thanks Sarah for not letting me fall, and sorry for swinging into you instead of putting my feet on the wall.)

Jenna told me, “You can’t go climbing hoping that the rope won’t snap. You need to feel comfortable that your belayer is being safe and trust the equipment.” Sound advice.

Running into the person belaying you isn't recommended. But you might have a good laugh about it.

Running into the person belaying you isn’t recommended. But you might have a good laugh about it.

3. Climbing harnesses are not flattering

It’s also not very comfortable (at least for those people who, like me, have larger thighs). I got over the unflattering part pretty quickly since the harness literally kept me from falling to the ground.

4. The scenery is beautiful

This is probably dependent on where you climb, but chances are just about everywhere outside has some pretty awesome views. Even the approach to the climb was gorgeous. If I had made it to the top, or even more than a few feet off the ground, I bet the canyon would’ve been even more breathtaking.

5. Don’t give up

Admittedly, I did give up—at least during this trip. I didn’t want to take up everyone’s time trying to find the perfect spot to put my feet or worry about touching cobwebs. Thinking back now, I totally could have climbed a little farther up. I’ll give it another shot. This time maybe I’ll try out the climbing wall we have in the gym here at the Home Office.

If there’s a moral to this experience, it’s to try something new. I never would have attempted rock climbing if it weren’t for Sarah, Jenna and Amy. They got me out of my comfort zone and had me all of three feet off the ground, but I’m glad I gave it a shot. You never know when an adventure will take you to new heights.

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