Nowadays, rock climbing attracts people quite early in their life. In Indian cities, there is public awareness of the sport. Climbing competitions are regularly held. The community of climbers is slowly growing. Several years ago, things were different. The number of people into climbing was small as was awareness of the sport. You were lucky if – as is the case today – you embraced the sport while still in school or college. Seema was 28 years old when she was introduced to rock climbing. Drawn to the sport, she climbed whenever she could. For her, climbing was love at first sight.
High on rock, intensely alive to sport filled with consequences should anything go wrong, the mind lost bandwidth to dwell on life’s troubles. Given moment in time – life’s now – was all that mattered. Climbing became Seema’s fix to find equilibrium. She earned a reputation as a strong climber among women into the sport. She had her share of first ascents. The bulk of her lead climbs in this period ranged from 5.7 to 5.9 in terms of difficulty. On top rope, she could tackle 5.11. “ I would any day call her a solid 5.8 climber. She has been up to 5.9 and 5.10,’’ Dinesh Kaigonhalli, among Bengaluru’s pioneers in climbing and one of the founders of Wildcraft, said. Dinesh has also been an instructor in mountaineering with the US based-NOLS.