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Rules of Life // by Michelle Mudhar

There are religious books, self help books, there is even Jeremy Kyle. Everyone seems to have a take on how to live life, and which rules to follow. Like many, I prefer to have a loose framework to live my life by. I don’t really have a particular ideology to follow.

two roads diverged in a wood and took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.  Robert Frost.  This quote is with a picture of Michelle in a wood.

Michelle’s outlook on life through the lens of climbing

Climbing appeals to me as a sport because it too has a basic framework/set of rules to use. The laws of physics don’t change and I can solve problems using those laws to progress. The ironic part is that elements of climbing are all about breaking those rules. Taking that lead fall when you know its safe, but the rules say it’s dangerous: climbing past a clip because it’s easier to climb past it than clip in an awkward position; taking risks when you can just as easily walk away. Climbing has taught me so much about how to live my life.

Michelle Mudhar holding the rope on a sea cliff climbing route, with the sea in the background.

Michelle lead belaying on a sea cliff route.

climber Michelle traversing on a high route.

Michelle climbing indoors on an interesting high traverse set up.

How often have I talked myself into not doing something because of a fear of failure. Through climbing I’ve now learnt to assess the risk and give it a go, I’m prepared to face the outcome of failure.

I used to be good at not giving 100% just in case I failed, because then I could have said I might have been able to do it in retrospect.

But I got better at climbing when I started giving it my all, teaching my head that it was ok to fail. After all, through failure I was recognising my limitations, then learning how to overcome them. My climbing improved in leaps and bounds. Climbing has taught me not to hide from life, but to embrace the changes that life brings. It has taught me to work on my weaknesses and battle my fears, but most importantly it has taught me that I don’t need to do all that alone.

michelle5

Michelle indoor lead climbing.

I don’t need to do it all alone, because one of the rules of life according to climbing is that you’re stronger together. The helpful beta, the emotional support, the competitive edge; all resultant from the family which you become a part of when you climb. The importance of that family became crystal clear to me when I had a climbing accident which left me paralysed. I am still dealing with it if I’m honest, and I can’t hand on heart say that I have accepted it. But the life rules according to climbing have helped time and time again.

Michelle in a wheelchair being pushed by a man.

Michelle in a wheelchair following her accident.

I have wanted to stop working hard half a million times, but I remembered I would get one chance at this rehab and I would regret it if I looked back and hadn’t given it 110%. It would be oh so easy to look back and say, ‘well it may have been better “if”‘. Cheating myself into thinking the reason I couldn’t walk was the amount of effort I put in. Instead of admitting the scariest thing of all about this – I can give 110% all of the time and it still may only make the smallest difference……… Or none at all. But I am prepared for that. My spinal cord will heal at its own pace and as much as it can, which is the part where it may not be enough. But I am determined that I won’t turn away from this climb thinking I could have done better. I’ll know that whatever the outcome I will have done my best, even if it’s not good enough to walk. And I would encourage you all to do the same as well, in everything you do in life.

“Dream big and work hard for it, because doing so takes you places — not always where you want, but often way farther than you can imagine.”- Rannveig Aamodt

By Michelle Mudhar

Michelle Mudhar is a British trad and sport climber. She loves “epic Dolomite style multipitch routes”  and her favourite rock type is Lundy granite.  In 2015 she experienced a life changing accident whilst sport climbing in Wales.  

STAY SAFE: Always tie a knot in the end of your rope in case your route and lower off are longer than your rope.  The knot at the end of the rope behind the belayer will stop your rope from running through if it is too short.  

If you don’t understand or want to see more about this subject, Petzl have created a really good guide to demonstrate

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