Climbing Our Way To The Top: Obstacles as a Metaphor, Part 2

Some people are at the top of the ladder, some are in the middle, still more are at the bottom, and a whole lot more don't even know there is a ladder.

-Robert H. Schuller

This — the second installment in a series of six — is all about the rope climb.  I want to be clear from the outset, this was not a strength of mine as a young lad.  Gym class, for me, was nothing short of traumatic, and I remember struggling with all things athletic.  Far from the enthusiasm I feel for it now, the rope climb felt more like a punishment designed to prove, once and for all, my total ineptitude and inadequacy to the rest of my peers.  Staring up at this tenuous filament suspended from the dizzying heights of the gymnasium ceiling high above, I couldn't have felt... well.. heavier. I was a bit "husky", and fitness wasn't my proclivity, but looking back I am rather disappointed at the lack of instruction offered in the "physical education" programs of my youth. Having now had the opportunity to share this rope-ascension skill with several people, I have found that most can learn it easily within the first few minutes.  Perhaps my gym teacher was never properly taught, or maybe back then the job was more about the wind-pants and whistle anyway!  I digress...

Today I find a good deal of satisfaction in being able to easily overcome obstacles like this.  But as you will see in the video, technique trumps strength, and this is more of a skill than a show of force.

Here is a close up of the friction-locking foot work that makes this technique so easy.  Also, consider this a *Vibram Five Finger Performance Update*!  They work famously in this rope climbing skill because the technique requires a dextrous manipulation of the rope, the added kinesthetic awareness that my Vibram's provide make for a more precise and surgical technique.  The disadvantage however being the soft sole, which lessens the friction on the rope.  I imagine boots would make for a more stable friction-lock.  Chances of me giving that a try...  low.  Very low indeed.

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So, what's the message here.  Why this post.  I honestly want to inspire you to get out there and play! Challenge yourself, and develop your skill and potential!  Don't have access to your own obstacle course you say?  Visit a local park or playground (after school is out, don't be weird!), they usually have amazing infrastructure designed for human play..  Ok, designed for small humans, but you can adapt!  Consider getting involved with the many obstacle course races and challenges that are cropping up all over the country!  You are an animal...  Train like one!

Got ten toes, and are looking for a discounted pair of Vibrams?  Check out BornToRun.com!  Use the coupon code SURTHRIVAL to get 10% off your purchase!

Thanks for reading, watching, and please feel free to leave some graffiti on the wall below!

~Daniel