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getting in touch with my inner colorado girl

Earning my title


After a bouldering session at my climbing gym last week, I glanced down at my climbing shoes and noticed that they seemed to be getting a little worn, which seemed strange to me. I made a mental note, and the next night when I was bouldering I asked Jay, one of the employees at the gym, if he thought my shoes were looking worn too. We were getting into an in-depth conversation about personal preferences in climbing shoe grip when I finally interrupted him and asked incredulously, “But I only climb twice a week or so. How could they possibly be worn?” Jay gave me this look like, “Homegirl you have got to be kidding me!” and told me that climbing twice a week makes me a regular. Not only did he say I was a regular, he also said that the two hour plus climbing sessions I have with my friends Anne and Fran are legit because we basically climb until we are jacked (a.k.a. our arms physically can’t climb anymore). And then – he REALLY did it – he called me a climber. As it turns out, during these past few months that I have been an aspiring climber I have, lo and behold, become a real climber. I have earned my title.

Screen-Shot-2011-12-01-at-8.34.59-AMDream trip: Climbing at Yosemite.

The funny part about this whole climber business is that I was probably the last person to consider myself a climber. I plan my entire week around the nights I climb at the gym and I even had a dream about climbing a 5.12 the other night but shoot until Jay called me a climber I did not consider myself a climber. My roommate has probably considered me a climber for at least a few months as I am out of the house several times a week climbing. What I needed though was to know that another climber considered me a climber. Hearing that Jay considered me a climber in his mind was what flipped the switch for me. I think that in any kind of activity (e.g. skiing, running, biking) the opinions that matter the most are from the people that you respect for their skill. It was kind of this magical affirmation for me that the hours I have spent attached to little holds on a vertical wall have meant something.

photo-2Hi I’m Paula, and I’m a CLIMBER!

The best part of this whole experience for me has been looking back at where I started: ground zero. I decided I wanted to learn so one day l bought a pair of $150 climbing shoes. Side note, all employees at any outdoor goods store love me because you can always talk me into buying the good stuff. It’s not my fault that the $150 shoes happened to fit way better than the $70 shoes!

IMG_0907The day I bought my climbing shoes. Zero clue what I was doing.

I guess upon reflection the takeaway from this whole thing is that you can become anything you want. I was not a climber six months ago. I am the most uncoordinated, least likely person to take up climbing ever. I wanted to be a climber though, so I got the shoes, got the gear and was not afraid to flail around on a wall for a bit at the beginning (and okay even now). And then it all came to fruition last week when I realized I am a climber. Reaching a goal that you set for yourself is probably one of the coolest things ever. Particularly if it’s a goal that changes your life. I feel like climbing has already opened a whole new world for me and I’m just getting started!

It’s like my boy Nas says: “I know I can be what I want to be, if I work hard at it I’ll be where I wanna be.”

My goal in this post is really not to humble brag. I have so much more to learn and improve in the climbing world, and you should seriously see how awesome my friend Anne is at climbing! Instead, my goal in this is to tell you that if I can become a climber anyone can do it! I promise the day that you finally earn the title it will all be worth it.

*I had half written this entry before I saw this gem at one of my favorite blogs in the world, Semi-Rad! Love the message of this one too. Great minds think alike.*


Author: paulamahla

Typical Colorado girl that can't make up her mind. Trail running, hiking, climbing, camping, CrossFit, ultimate frisbee, and skiing? E, all of the above.

5 thoughts on “Earning my title

  1. I have those exact same climbing shoes!

  2. Awesome post! My friend who is really into climbing did a yosemite trip this last fall! She’s still working on her post about it, but her story about it is awesome.

  3. i agree with you – it’s one thing to think yourself a climber but something totally more awesome when someone you respect calls you a climber (or insert anything you’re learning here). also – it’s super cool to know you started knowing nothing and see how far you’ve come. the best!

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