Climbing is just as much a mental sport as it is a physical one. Not only do climbers need the muscle and technique to scale large walls, but they also have to contend with a screaming subconscious that's constantly reminding them that today is actually not such a great day to die. Imagine being a slip away from falling and you're TERRIFIED. And yet, you're trying not to let fear take over as you slowly feel yourself losing strength. Oh? That instinct? The one that's been passed down in humans for generations in order to help keep this very species alive? Yeah, that one. Let's just ignore it until I can walk on two feet again. It takes a lot of mental fortitude to keep your fear in check. For many, overcoming the fear of falling is an obstacle that needs to be tackled. For Kasahara Konomi, that's the fun part.
Iwakakeru -Sport Climbing Girls- follows recovering game addict, Kasahara Konomi, as she tries to figure out what school club would fit her best. And as she looks around, her eyes get distracted by a tall wall filled with a rainbow spectrum of colors from top to bottom. It's completely new, yet familiar to her somehow. Drawn to it like a moth to a flame, Konomi walks right up to the wall. Resident hard-ass Jun-chan then strolls in and basically bullies Konomi into trying it for herself. In typical anime shy girl fashion, Konomi is physically unable to say "no" to anything Jun suggests. And that's how, in just one short afternoon, Konomi goes from knowing nothing about indoor climbing to finding herself halfway up an intermediate route and hanging sideways.
But it seems like she's enjoying it?
Konomi is seen here gearing up to make a big move. She has the option of swapping her feet, shifting her center of gravity, and simply reaching over for hold.
But no. She's planning to just fucking go for it.
Let's take a step back here and remember that this is her first day. She's advanced straight through the beginner routes, and she's already working on a route rated 5.11. For reference, I've been climbing for 4 years now, and I'm still climbing 5.11s. This girl is good.
I refuse to admit I'm bad.
To make matters even more complicated, she's lead climbing. Roped climbing is generally split into two categories, the beginner-friendly top-rope and the intimidating lead climb. The terms describe the positional relation of the climber to the rope.
While top-roping, the climber's protection is in the anchor affixed at the top of a wall. If a climber falls, they'll be caught by the rope that is fed through the anchor above. The climber can fully trust the anchor, so most falls will be relatively controlled, since rope slack is systematically pulled through the system.
While lead climbing, the climber leads the way up the wall with the rope trailing behind them. Along the way, the climber clips into their rope into carabiners hung at around 5-10 ft. intervals to "protect the climb". If a fall occurs, the last clip functionally becomes the anchor. The climber's rope will catch on the last clip, making the climber swing and pivot around that point. You realize the higher you are above the anchor, the longer the fall will be if your arms give out.
There's a mounting fear that grows the farther you climb above that last clip, and an immense sigh of relief when a new clip is made. When lead climbing, the falls become more dramatic. There's extra slack in the rope to facilitate movement for the climber, which also creates a greater fall distance. Remember Konomi's stance from earlier? She's planning to jump horizontally. And horizontal movement drastically increases the amount of swing in the fall as well.
Because geometry. Just think about it.
Technique while clipping into the carabiner is important as well, and could otherwise lead to dire consequences. If you incorrectly clip the rope, there's a chance that it could inadvertently release the gate of the carabiner and fall out completely. Now, that clip is no longer the anchor point, so the climber falls further to wherever the next anchor point may be. Hopefully, there is one.
Hitting the deck from 25 feet up or higher is a sobering thought.
To recap, as a climber, you're battling the wall itself to hold on for dear life, while also battling your own mind to stay focused and keep from freezing up in fear. Also, you have to constantly assess the holds and concoct plans to get further up. And to top it all off, you're also responsible for protecting yourself, since you need to make sure a fall doesn't result in a broken leg or worse. Despite all of this, Kasahara Konomi placed complete trust in herself and her abilities and fully committed to a huge dynamic move. Letting go of all her points of contact with the wall, she leaped, leaving nothing between herself and the gym floor.
This girl is a monster. She didn't even blink.
I'm not convinced she even knows the concept of fear.
Kasahara Konomi has undeniably, the biggest, grade A certifiable balls of steel.