The urge to climb is perhaps one of the most basic and natural urges I have felt ever since I can remember, beginning with the trees in the playgrounds of childhood. I have always known an inexplicable, seemingly illogical, wild desire to climb. The more trees I climbed, the more trees I wanted to climb! I never analysed why I wanted to climb trees or what made me climb again and again. The answers were always there in just doing it: in feeling the complex emotions, the twisting, mangling tingling of nerves that strangely calmed me and gave me a sense of peace.
I would stand beneath the tree, looking up at the maze of branches and leaves, visualizing my path to the greatest heights I dared to climb along the limbs of the tree that were the ramps propelling me to higher heights. The exhilaration was in reaching the top and seeing the breath-taking giddy space between the earth and me. There is nothing quite like sitting on a branch enjoying the perspective of the world through a maze of green leaves and brown branches.
I knew that a single slip would plummet me to the ground, banging my head on a thousand branches along the way. My mind could not afford to blink for even a second, because that is all the time it takes for the body to lose the tension that keeps it alive. There was a sense of harmony, of balance and peace in the tension. You focus through a haze with all your senses, thoughts, your very being one-pointed in it's attention span to stay alive. That surely is what creates the BUZZ.....
I am writing on Rock climbing. I am not documenting the psychology of a monkey. But perhaps it all figures. Climbing trees may not be so different from climbing rocks. They both stem from the subconscious urge to climb...climb whatever you see. Some people climb rocks, others climb trees, still others climb buildings. Essentially, they are different expressions for that wild desire to CLIMB; to be high above humanity, to soar, to feel a sense of peace and poise under extreme stress...to feel the BUZZ...!!
Somewhere along the way, I discovered rock. Or rather, I discovered that rock could be climbed. I had always seen rocks and huge boulders but I had never really seen into them. I had not yet DISCOVERED rock as a climbable entity that provides release for "the urge to climb".
So started my continuing love affair with rock. It probably sounds very weird, but yes, I discovered the life of the rock. Each feature told a tale; each crack, each splinter had a character; the surface of each rock with its varied texture and different hues had it's own personality. Each piece of rock is so different that every time I see a rock while walking., I am compelled to examine it and try to understand what it is trying to say to me. Some rocks scream, "You can't get up me, u slob...I'm too high and mighty". Some merely whisper, "Come and try me...u might enjoy it". Yet others entice you with, "I'm fun, but I could kill you". Well actually, all of them say "I could kill you", some just say it louder than others.
Rock Climbing is all about conquering your fears by exercising control over your mind. Fear makes you hesitate, and hesitation makes your deepest fears come true. My best climbs have always been in a positive frame of mind, when my movements were a subconscious flow without awareness of mind, and my mind seemingly responded by following the smooth poetic trajectory of my body. Whenever I have been aware of my mind controlling my movements, somehow things always get screwed up. It is perhaps about that state of perfection when body and mind are no longer separate.
The satisfaction of a perfectly executed set of moves on vertical ground with my feet kicking out in space makes me feel like an eagle nesting up high on an unapproachable cliff. It seems to me there is only the universe and I, and I am overwhelmed by a tremendous love and respect for the rock that symbolises the very universe that lets me enjoy that rare poetic moment. That's what makes it all worthwhile. After a perfect climb, you no longer care that there is no skin on your fingertips, you do not notice the bloody scratches on your arms and legs, or bother about the screaming exhaustion of your arms. You just have a deep wide grin on your mug and a satisfaction deep, deep within your soul that nothing can touch.
That's why I climb rocks.
Some Facts I Learnt
- Rock climbing in Delhi is about as popular as baseball in Afghanistan. Most people don't know about it and the ones who do, have no idea what to do about it.
- Adventure companies are now offering rappelling and rock climbing at places in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains.
- The Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi is world renowned and respected for the climbing courses that it runs in the Garhwal Himalayas.
- The IMF near Dhaula Kuan reportedly has equipment like ropes and karabiners for sale/hire, though I personally have not tried it.
Rock Climbing sites in and around Delhi
- Laado Serai near Mehrauli, where there is basically a huge bouldering area.
- Near Dumduma Lake in Haryana which has some really hard rock
- At Dhauj in Haryana