On Belay? (Dating Article)

On Belay? (Dating Article)

6 rules of dating that Rock Climbing will teach you

by Lindsay Gonzalez

If fear of relationships sounds like more your thing than fear of heights, then you should take your dating activities to the rock climbing gym. It’s time to learn about trust and communication along with a new fun fitness activity.

Rock climbing is a social. As a climber who has been in the dating scene, it’s a great place to meet people with similar interests. You’ll usually run into a lot of people who enjoy the outdoors, value their own fitness and enjoy spending time with others. The community is supportive and those within it strive for greatness and pursuing personal goals.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Belayer position.

When climbing top rope you need a partner to be On Belay.  The belay is the safe position on the ground that controls the rope and literally holds your life on the line.  They watch you on the way up and down, reading your body language and learning when to give you a little slack or a tighter hold. They listen with an intent ear for your verbal calls.

As you begin, share the responsibilities, first check to see if your partner has their safety carabiner locked and they will check to see if you’re tied in correctly.  Next ask them if they are “on belay”? They will say “belay on” which is your cue that they are ready for you to begin.  Once your hands are on the wall you state “climbing!” and the belay says “climb on”! signaling you to being.

When two people start climbing together they learn a lot about how each other communicates and deals with stressors.  You’ll each learn to read another persons body language and support them when they’re in an uncomfortable place. The lessons of rock climbing carry over into these 6 rules of dating.

1.     Communication is key. Be clear and concise with your needs.

2.    If you are in an uncomfortable position, say it! Let your partner be there for you to take in the slack and support your effort.

3.     Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get a route.  Try again and share the excitement of improving.

4.     Celebrate each others successes, go for a drink or a dinner after a day of climbing.

5.     Plan for another adventure. Let dating be fun and adventurous, plan to challenge yourself with a harder route or try climbing outdoors together.

6.     Safety first! Protect yourself and look out for the good of your partner both on and off the rock wall.

Next to compatibility trust is the most important part of a long lasting relationship.



November of 2016 I got a phone call from my friend Andrea. She told me about her experience of being a spectator at the all women's Exposure skateboarding competition in Southern California. I have never heard her so stoked about anything. She said "buy a skateboard, we are learning how to skate!" 

I started skateboarding when I was about 10 and from 10-15 loved it, but lets get real, I am 33 and starting over as a beginner. I called my friends at East of Maui Board-shop in Annapolis Maryland and I asked Mark Saunders to build me a board. I worked/was on the payroll of EOM for the better part of 10 years. I sold countless numbers of skateboard decks for stoked kids, but this one is for me! 

Mark sent me a fully built Pizza Skateboard and it was on. I drove from my home in Colorado to Oceanside, CA where Andrea lives for a 10 day surf/skate/yoga trip and immediately was hooked. 

We met up with our friend Chad who lives in San Diego. He worked with me at EOM another lifetime ago and was so pumped to meet us at the skatepark. We went to Prince Park in Oceanside and stood around for a bit scared out of our minds! Thanks to Chad for being our super cool point guy. He took off and started ripping around the park like it was no big deal while Andrea and I stood in the corner watching with all our pads on. All the pads, all the time! 

Finally we started pushing around and laughing and falling. We were watching some of the other women and girls at the skatepark rip it up and we were just flailing. A woman named Kendra came up to us as I was saying how i wanted to drop a 4 foot ramp from the coping. Andrea looked at me and said, "Are we doing this?" with weary inflection in her voice and I answered "Oh yeah", with shaky confidence. Kendra was so supportive. She was immediately our biggest fan as we began to throw ourselves against the pavement. I am NOT joking! She was taking videos of us so we could see our progress. 

As we were there with all our pads on adding some bruises and blood to add to the mix, so many kids, men and women were watching, supporting and giving us pointers. I fell in love with trying and learning something new and most of all I fell in love with the community. 

With the scars of my newfound badassery, I drove back to Colorado. It was definitely hard to leave my new friends in Cali but I was determined to keep up with skateboarding. I got my friend Leda interested in joining and we have been going to the skatepark at 7 am learning new tricks and practicing pool riding. There have even been a few weekends in the middle of the day where we find ourselves at the skatepark outnumbered by boys and men who obviously know how to skate. Again we have found it. The skateboarding community is so supportive and people appreciate us trying. 

Skateboarding has become a huge part of my life here in Colorado.  I have found several other women that are learning and getting really good. Most of us are 30-45 years old! We are standing at the edge of our fears dropping into the unknown possibility of making a line in the pool or busting our asses against concrete. Either way it's a learning experience. Either way it's growth. 

I have to send a huge shout out to Andrea Knox, Leda Olmsted, Kendra, Nicole Noller, Sasha-Lasha, Allan Cheateau, Mark Saunders, the Cali Crew and all the people who have been supportive of me learning. In this practice of life I am always the student and falling just gives me an opportunity to get back up again. I am hooked. Thank you Skateboarding!