I was able to get a reporter and photographer out to Stonehouse Pond on Kellie's Day. Liz at Foster Daily Democrat tried her hand at rock climbing for the very first time. She rocked it and here's her story along with some photos!
|Rock-Solid Faith: Climbing Goes Beyond Physical Skills|
By Liz Markhlevskaya
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
BARRINGTON — Hanging on the side of a cliff at Stonehouse Pond, I was clenching on for dear life.
Being held up by just my fingertips and the very edges of my shoes, I looked down and saw what looked like an abyss. My limbs started to shake, as I looked up and saw the rock face I was attempting to climb. I found the smallest crevice in the rock that I could step on, and hesitated before putting most of my weight on it. As I fought the urge to use my arms to pull up, I heard the instructor, Kellie Barr-Foster, yelling, “Trust the shoe!”
Barr-Foster, who saved a man’s life at Stonehouse Pond last month, was belaying the rope, which was preventing me from falling if I lost my grip. Convincing myself that my shoe won’t slip off, I put most of my weight on it, and pushed myself up further without slipping.
If I’m thinking about my boot coming off the rock it will come off,” I recalled Jeff Stone, a climbing instructor, saying before my climb. “If I think about it staying there long enough for me to make my next move, it will stay there.” Stone, 69, who has been climbing for 20 years, still learns lessons each time he goes climbing, he says. One of those lessons is distinguishing objective fear from subjective fear, such as the fear of heights.
On Saturday, he was in the local group of climbers who came to Stonehouse Pond in honor of Barr-Foster, who saved fisherman Steve Travis, of Nottingham, from drowning. Travis had been fly fishing at the pond on Oct. 2, when one of the bladders on his float tube gave out and he became fatigued trying to get back to shore. Barr-Foster, who heard him calling for help, rushed into the pond, grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, and swam him to shore.
On Oct. 21, the town selectmen proclaimed Nov. 2, 2013, as “Kellie Barr-Foster Day.” Barr-Foster, a rock climber of 20 years, spent much of Saturday helping other climbers, and shouting out tips as she belayed them from the bottom of the cliff.
“She has a way of making it flow for you,” said Jane Lissner, who has been climbing with Barr-Foster over the summer. Lissner, 48, of Dover, began climbing in May, after overcoming cancer and regaining her strength from six months of chemotherapy.“I’m really kind of hooked now,” she said about climbing.For Lissner, climbing “is a real metaphor for life. If something seems difficult to do, it’s not as difficult as it seems.”
Stone, of Wilton, who is one of the instructors with AMC Rock Climbing Club, said he, too, “was hooked” after the first time he went climbing in North Conway 20 years ago. According to Stone, who is a software engineer, rock climbing tends to appeal to “techies” like him, as the sport involves using the gear and physics in one’s favor.
The group of climbers on Saturday, consisting of children and adults alike, organized via the meetup.com group, called NH Rock Climbing, which is open to all levels of climbers.
And whether it’s offering each other snacks or lending gear to beginner climbers, the camaraderie among fellow climbers on Saturday was hard to miss.