Governor Stable Bouldering CompetitionGovernor Stable 抱石競賽


Oh, I was just a spectator, not a competitor, because I didn’t have the guts to boulder.

Since I started to climb last June, I’ve always thought that I would only be a top-roper or maybe would dream about being a lead climber. Bouldering? That’s a bit scary; what if I fall? Based on what I learned from my wilderness first aid class, a person doesn’t have to fall from a significant height to have a significant injury. So, bouldering? How can it NOT be scary?

But something inside me changed after observing the Governor Stable Bouldering Competition. During my 6-hour long observation, numerous times I told myself, “I wish I could climb.”

In my climbing gym, my climbing partner used to encourage me, “the concept of bouldering is not at all different from top-roping.” Indeed, but every time I tried, once I reached a certain height, I chickened out. It’s all mental, but I can’t help it.

On Saturday, I witnessed the bouldering competition, which attracted about 200 climbers to work on 200-plus routes on several sections of natural forming rock surfaces and cracks. The competition was like a problem-solving process. Every climber had to attack as many as possible brain-stirring hard problems to claim the rewards.

I watched my friend and others climb from 10 to 4 o’clock. They first stared at the route, pondered and then strategized. I did the same. They started to climb, and my mind did the same. They fell or slipped off the rock, and stood up and used their fingers and feet to gently touch the rock, to feel where on the rock was inviting, and then tried again. I waited until nobody was working on the route, and had a brief body contact with the rock as well, and hoped that the sensation would provoke inspiration. I sensed that the rock was sending me some messages, and I wished I could climb.

Bouldering started to look less scary and more fun. In Chinese, we call bouldering “Hug the Rock” and right now I love this translation, because it’s such an appropriate footnote of climbers’ intimate relationship with the rock.

The closing curtain fell with the gradual disappearance of the sunlight; climbers changed to their sneakers, carried their crash pads, and hiked out of the woods. They looked just like a troop of poker cards from Alice in Wonderland; their faces reflected the sunset and the sunset glorified their pride.

Waiting for the closing ceremony, people scattered around on the grass field. Some people sandwiched themselves in their crash pads and played bull fighting; others set up an elastic rope between two trees and practiced the art of balancing.

It was a fun day. Bouldering to me is still a bit scary but it is also far more friendly than I’ve ever imagined. Hearing the laughter from the climbers, I smiled, and I told myself, “If I hug the rock the right way, the rock will hug me back.”


自從去年六月開始室內攀登,總是堅定不移地以為,攀登時一定要使用繩索才安心。很認份地和我的繩伴互相確保,攀登的型態總是top-roping,偶爾也想著要趕快鍛鍊自己,以進階到lead climbing的程度。抱石?看起來有些危險。要是不小心失足,該怎麼辦?野外急救的課程訓練告訴我,一個人不需要從太高處落下,就可以造成嚴重的傷害。所以,抱石這樣運動,怎不讓人心生畏懼?

但是,上週六以一個觀賽者的身份,看了長達六小時的Governor Stable抱石競賽。心裡有點蠢蠢欲動,認份的感覺開始動搖。在觀賽的過程中,心裡的那個聲音,不知道說了幾次「我也想爬爬看!」





隨著日影西斜,競賽也接近尾聲。攀岩者換上他們的球鞋,背起緩衝墊(crash pads),走出孕育這片岩場的樹林。這個行列真好像愛麗斯夢遊仙境的撲克牌兵隊,他們的臉龐反映著陽光熠熠生輝,而陽光燃亮他們臉上的驕傲。



balancing game

2 thoughts on “<lang_en>Governor Stable Bouldering Competition</lang_en><lang_zh>Governor Stable 抱石競賽</lang_zh>”

  1. 這真的很累

  2. 小帽,
    爬涼亭啊,那圓圓的柱子,你是不是也是抱上去的呢?那就是「抱柱」了 🙂

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