Quickdraws

Looking for a Loony Girl Climber

19. 05. 2020, Alena Čepelková

“Hi, I’m looking for a girl who’s a bit loony – addicted to climbing (rope) and doesn’t mind going to a climbing gym four times a week and then sets off to Jura for a weekend.” (Dating ad from Czech climbing server called Lezec)

Well, I know some girls… they might not exactly fit the description, but…

I know a girl who fell in love with climbing when she was two years older than the number in the name of a famous route at the Panteon area (“E55” VIIb, 6a). She lost her husband, who was an intellectual, and her father, a great climber, died. She couldn’t get over the grief, so she decided to turn back to the genes she inherited. She went straight from being an intellectual to a climber. She’s now training in a climbing gym four times a week. As for the weekends, she would go anywhere – on the condition that it includes climbing. The grief has disappeared and everything has become new and beautiful. It turned out that she is quite gifted at crack climbing and who knows, maybe she’ll learn to place those knots as well.

I know a girl who was squeezed by a huge piece of rock while climbing. It shattered her ankle and she had to undergo several operations, none of which was entirely successful. Her foot has been crooked ever since and she cannot walk properly without special shoes. Despite that, she organized a girl-only expedition to China. She said that finding sponsors was much easier because it involved a disabled girl scaling a 6 000 meter mountain. She made it to the top.

Then the beginning of the semester came, and with the finals approaching, I had to forget about the wild sandstone adventures for a while. Time to grind some training routines in the climbing gym.

I know a girl who, when she was 80, climbed a rock at a symbolic cemetery under Ostrva mountain in the High Tatras, just to place flowers next to the plaque of her beloved. The chief of the Slovakian climber’s club (JAMES) couldn’t bear watching her climbing the slick wet rock and muttered something about “reckless pubescent”. Now, she’s three years older and wonders if it’s not too embarrassing for her to go to a climbing gym. Her grandson wants her to take him there.

And when I think about it… some years ago, a 17-year-old lunatic girl decided not to take a cable car to Lomnický Štít mountain and forced her friend to walk with her. Her friend swore she would never do it again while the girl decided to become a climber and enrolled in a climbing club – not to get married to one of those guys but to climb like they do. She wanted to have children as well, so she parked the prams by old brick walls, and traversed back and forth to train her fingers. She did that especially during winter in order to build some strength for the summer season. Sometimes, she thought she was the only lunatic out there.

But she hasn’t been. There’s plenty of us – the lunatic girls who love climbing have always been and will be here!

Once you start climbing, it’s for life.

Climbing freaks for life (photo: Karel Vlček)

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