Friday, 31 December 2010

You were expecting something not shit. Well, tough.

So anyway. I've a couple friends who're in love with climbing. Like, the-cliffs-may-have-filed-restraining-orders in love with climbing. Every spare moment they have is devoted to getting up to places that people only ever visit if they’re contemplating suicide, and doing so via routes that people only attempt if they’re contemplating suicide and just really want to spite their arms and legs along the way.

Occasionally I’ve been known to tag along to the training centres, although I've never really got into it. I mean, you go up and down a big piece of wood. Yay me.

Until yesterday, that is, when I began to suspect that there was more to this sport than meets the eye. I had tagged along to a centre that specializes in ‘Bouldering’ – this is basically climbing without using any ropes, a technique practiced by people who know what they want out of life, and what they want out of life is to make it as clear as possible that they’re completely off their fucking gourd – and after watching a few of the hard-core climbers tackle the walls, I think I’ve figured out why people see so much attraction to it.

It’s like this, folks: people who do climbing are trained in the secrets of special magic fairy powers. They are actually magicians.

I’ll explain.

There is a climbing frame in this training centre that’s built to resemble a cave. In this cave there was a man climbing. In order to fully illustrate what this man was doing at the precise point that I happened to look in his direction, I would ask you to lend me, for just one moment, your capacities for imagination.

Imagine a man sitting on a toilet. Bear with me, I’m not just being, like, sick or anything. Scouts Honour here.

Anyway. He’s sitting on a toilet. He’s fully dressed and everything, so I don’t know why he’d be on the John, but he just is. Maybe he’s trying to avoid his cunt of a wife or something. So he’s sitting on the toilet, one elbow on his knee, swinging his legs back and forth absently because the bog we’re talking about here is astonishingly tall. He was wearing an expensive gold watch, only just before you starting peeping on him, you sick perverts you, he dropped it down the pan, and he had to shoot the other hand down between his legs to catch the thing. Imagine him frozen in that position, elbow-deep in toilet bowl.

Got that image? Good.

Now imagine that instead of a watch, he's grabbing a handhold, and instead being on a toilet, he's hanging off the fucking ceiling.

Seriously. Dude’s just hanging upside down one-armed, scratching his nose and looking for all the world like he wished he brought a newspaper in with him.

People, this is not normal human endeavor. People do not simply dangle from ceilings as a regular occurrence, and I am quite sure it is beyond the scope of anything anyone is able to do without some form of assistance from the otherworld. I have read science books, I know these things.

There is magic afoot here. And once you realize this, you see the evidence everywhere. The strange arcane words they yell to each other in their gravity-defying rituals (“Abalakov! Grigri! Reverso! ArĂȘte!”). Their desire to seek out the most remote and inhospitable areas they can find, so they can plan their nefarious rituals in peace. The strange ropes and harnesses that can support a man’s body weight despite being thinner than the average shoelace (they carry hooks around, readers. The Egyptians used hooks in Mummy-making. Think on that.). You think the average climber looks buff and manly by accident? He does it to attract sacrifices for his gods! I’m onto something big here, ladies and gentlemen.

Okay, fine. You don’t believe me. A bloke dangling from the ceiling, he’s not magical, he’s just very fit, it’s perfectly possible, la la la, I am a cock, etc. Okay.

I’m not done yet.

So. Ceiling dude’s dangling there, thinking whatever thoughts upside-down people do, when a mate of his decides to come up and join him. This guy walks up to the nearest wall and just goes up the thing without even slowing pace. You’d think the ceiling would provide some sort of inconvenience, but no – he just grabs hold of bits of the roof that I’m quite sure even moss couldn’t cling to and carries on like nothing. It’s like he’s Spider-Man or something.

Now, ceiling crawling is pretty awesome by any standards, but merely defying fucking gravity isn’t the reason I want you to believe that there is magic in these proceedings (even though, y’know, there OBVIOUSLY IS.) The reason I want to give lies in the manner in which this guy managed to get across the ceiling.

Now when you’re walking along a normal, right-way-round surface, you accomplish this by having your feet bear most of your weight, as many of you will have no doubt noticed. And as many of you have also no doubt noticed, or can at least surmise, it is hard to make your feet bear your weight on a surface when the surface in question is in an alignment oppositional to local conditions of gravity. In order to accomplish this, therefore, you have to scout out any cracks or hooks in the ceiling and then mash your hands and feet into them as if each one is a co-worker’s face.

Among other skills, this requires considerable flexibility, and our boy Roof-Crawler’s flexibility was, to this ceiling, what a full battalion of tanks is to rabbit-hunting. He was wedging his feet into gaps that were next to his ears. He was wedging his feet, in fact, into gaps that were next to the opposite ear from the leg he was using. I kid you not.

This, ladies and gentlemen of my nonexistent audience, is the reason I offer for the existence of magic powers in the Climbing fraternity. With flexibility like that, this man can give himself blow jobs.

No, really, hear me out. It is a well-established fact that once a man has acquired access to blow jobs whenever he wants them, howsoever this may be, then there is nothing in life that is worth doing any more. And yet, despite having achieved a level of bodily mastery that gives him access to this most prized of Cornucopias, this man keeps coming back to do more climbing. Therefore, climbing must bestow upon its participants something that is even more awesome than infinite blow jobs. What else is there?

Magic Powers, people. Reality-bending magic powers.


As is required for all kinds of sports and hobbies in this day and age, I present the Mandatory List of Amusing Climbing Terminology, which I absolutely did not find while browsing Wikipedia looking for big words for this article:

  • Alpine Cock Ring

  • Munter hitch

  • Brown point

  • Crack climbing (a style of climbing simply defined as “wedging body parts into cracks”.)

  • Fist jam

  • Nut Key

  • Sloppy Plopping

  • Teabagging.

So in conclusion: climbers got there first, Counterstrikers.

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