Forearms like concrete

Climbing! Before I moved to India, I so had the plan to go rock climbing in Delhi that I even brought my harness and talcum powder over from Germany. But then I didn’t find a partner and somehow forgot the idea. Until I met Franzi.

tower in the midst of a lot of greenWhen that we had found each other, we needed a wall. One can’t be too picky in Delhi, because the climbing scene is tiny and no commercial halls have been built till date (as far as we know). So the only option is to go to the tower of the Indian Mountaineering Foundation.

Set in a lovely park, the tower wasn’t climbed on when we arrived – because the guys allow themselves a lunch break from 12am to 4pm. Lucky us, we happend to arrive shortly before they opened up again…  that is, when they slowly start hooking in all the ropes, lay the harnesses out, do some yoga….

Meanwhile I tried to understand what all the people in the big building of the Mountaineering Foundation behind the tower were doing, if they organise some hiking trips in the Himalayas, do climbing camps, glacier training or just weekend trips around Delhi. But nothing like that. All they actually do is issuing permits for tours in the mountains, a guy explained us. All other things we should do ourselves – or ask the commercial operators in the hill stations.

Finally the tower was set up and we could start. But of course not after filling in some forms and writing in a big book. Then we were provided with an instructor who had to supervise us. Interesting: Whereas we in Germay are used to check the partner’s knot and harness before climbing and give a signal at the top when we want to come down, here in India the most important part is the verbal check when the climber wants to start at the bottom. We later saw why: Chances are that the partner is still talking on the phone or writing a message and not paying attention at all.

climbersUnfortunately for us one side of the tower is extremely overhanging with routes far out of our reach, one side is used for speed climbing with a tour too difficult for us, one side is very short and very easy and the remaining side sports a peeling surface with greasy, sometimes spinning grips. And there seem to be not enough grips of one colour to mark a whole route so that everybody has to remember which grip belongs to which route. Difficult.

Despite all this, we had a lot of fun – until our forearms were too solid way too soon. Then we hardened them even more at the boulder wall. But when the sun set, we couldn’t hold onto even the biggest grips any longer and had to give up. But we’ll be back soon. To ensure this, we invested some money and went into an outdoor shop to buy us climbing shoes.

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