Basking in the glow of that very first lead

By Meggan Wenbourne

Made it! Did it! View from the top looking toward the snow-capped Sierra.

Made it! Did it! View from the top of Shuteye Ridge toward the snow-capped Sierra.

I started climbing because I was afraid of heights. Yes, you read correctly. To me, this fear was a waste of my energy and time and being an impatient person meant I needed to get over this immediately.

At first I wasn’t able to look down … at all. Even the slightest downward glance sent my fingers tingling and my brow sweating. I hated the way it made me feel. I thought I would never be able to make it to the top of the wall I was climbing (granted it WAS fifty feet up) let alone be able to come back down without having a full blown panic attack.

I kept coming back though. I learned how to belay a few days later from a friend and so it began. Years later and I am finally getting around to leading on gear. For someone who’s so impatient, I sure took my sweet time getting out there.

The day, or rather, weekend has finally come for new adventures on the sharp end (top end of the rope/leading) out in the world. A lot of people settle into the world of following their partners up beautiful cliff sides allowing for grand adventures without as much risk, which is great too, but I have decided I want more. Don’t get me wrong, I have been able to see so many gorgeous places by following my noble partner up amazing climbs, but it’s finally time to venture out first.

The next step in the business of exploring new places near, far, up and down is to take matters into my own hands. It’s time to have tingly fingers and sweaty brows all over again in the vertical world. With a solid belayer and a sounding board of support, anything is possible.

Here’s to adventures, new experiences and perspiring foreheads!

Meg-IndiansMeggan Wenbourne is an avid climber, mountain biker and backpacker who works and plays in Santa Cruz, CA. She spends her time traveling to the mountains as often as possible to get lost in the pine trees and explore the granite rock of the Sierra Nevada range and has recently developed an obsession with the desert and its red rocks. When not away on an adventure, she can be found eating burritos and training at Pacific Edge Climbing Gym, riding amazing trails in the Santa Cruz Mountains or nestled away in her cozy tiny house with cookies and adventure reading.