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I have to admit I was initially very nervous about rock climbing in Durango.  I have always had a paralyzing fear of heights!  I am also a 47 year old mother of two and am admittedly out of shape!   But, I am also normally up for an adventure and like to keep up with things to do in Durango.  So, when San Juan Mountain Guides offered to take us climbing, I responded with a hesitant “sure!”

We met our guide, Eric, in the morning just before 8am, at their meeting place at The Rock Lounge in town.  He was ready for us, with helmets, harnesses and climbing shoes!  After grabbing our gear, he drove us on the 5-minute drive to the edge of town, to X-Rock!  We parked and did the 10-minute, easy hike to our climbing spot.  It was beautiful (and a little intimidating for me)!!  Eric got to work getting the safety lines ready, while discussing climbing strategy with us.

Gateway Staff Rock Climbing

Gateway Staff Rock Climbing

My friend went first (thank goodness!), and she made it almost to the very top!  Eric was a pro, talking her through it all and encouraging her every step of the way!  When it was my turn, Eric assured me that safety is their top priority; he sensed that I was terrified!  But ironically, once I began climbing, all of my fears disappeared!  Instead, I was focused on where to place my feet and hands for the next hold.  It was challenging to use my leg strength, arm strength, and my core muscles!  Eric gave me pointers that really helped, and I was so proud when I, too, made it to almost the very top!  The view of the Animas Valley down below was so beautiful!  Coming down was just as fun, as I ‘bounced’ all the way down.  Eric was impressed with my skills, and I felt more empowered than I have in years!

My first thought, after making it down, was this is a great family-friendly activity in Durango, and that I wanted to take my husband and kids!  It was so much better than the indoor climbing walls we’ve done a few times before.  To be out in nature, with REAL rock cliffs to conquer—there is nothing like the feeling!

On my second climb, it was a bit more challenging, and I made it about half way up, and was just as proud of myself!  My friend made it up all the way on the second time, supported by encouraging cheers from Eric and me.

After our half-day climbing adventure, we hiked back down to the vehicle, and after Eric drove us back to our car, we went for a celebratory beer and lunch at Brew Pub & Kitchen, one of our many favorite local breweries, and talked about when could go climbing with Eric again!  Maybe next time, we will advance from the beginner climb to the more advanced one.  I for one, am up to the challenge!  (note:  when you go, remember to bring hiking shoes, clothes with a breathable fabric, and a small backpack with 2 water bottles and a light snack).  Thank you, to Eric and San Juan Mountain Guides, for not only helping me with my fear of heights, but for one of the best days ever, out in nature, climbing in Durango – our own little rock climbing paradise!