Elise and Nathan's Rock Climbing Marriage Proposal
How We Met: I was rock climbing with some friends at Texas Rock Gym on June 6, 2013. While in the lead arch area I saw a girl pointing directly at her. Puzzled, I eventually shrugged it off and kept climbing.
Side note: The girl was Nathan’s sister. He’d mentioned on their way to the gym a girl he was interested in may be climbing also. Joanna didn’t realize he’d never actually met me.
So when they arrived and Nathan me out with his pinky saying “there she is”, but Joanna pointed her entire arm and said “Who that one?” Nathan immediately pushed her hand down, screaming “NNOOOO!!!”
But the time had come for his “Do or Die Moment”. He walked up to me just as I was prepping to climb with the best pick-up line ever; “Hey! You gonna climb that route?”
How He Asked: This is our engagement story told by the two people, whom without it would never have taken place. We owe the Rojas’s so much!
I’d known about the engagement for 6 months and had helped in a little of the planning. Mostly in making sure the idea of climbing was brought up and it seemed an innocent couple’s trip to celebrate Elise’s graduation. The day was finally here, and man did it start with a day. It was one of those trips where everything that could go wrong did go wrong. The day started at 6am and before hitting the road, we took a little detour to the ER to get some much needed treatment for yours truly. After another detour to the pharmacy, we were ready to begin.
We arrived at Enchanted Rock just after 1, which wasn’t bad timing considering we didn’t start on time. We decided to start at Turkey’s Peak and hit the trail. The sun was blazing and we all made our way through at least one water bottle. The climbing was fun, but all the sun definitely wore on us. While Elise and I were enjoying some much needed shade, she precedes to tell me all about when she thinks Nate might propose and how he might do it. I was just happy I had sunglasses on, so hopefully I wasn’t giving anything away. I tried to play it cool and ask questions as if I didn’t know it was just hours away. It was fun to learn that she had no clue and this trip was going to be a successful surprise.
We ran out of time to climb too many routes at Turkey’s peak, so we started hiking over to Mark of the Beast. By the time we reached Mark of the Beast, we were all worn out. Mark of the Beast was an easy route, but also 3 pitches long. So Jairo and I knew we needed to get going to encourage Elise to climb. She was pretty exhausted by this point and was currently dealing with hamstring tendinitis. Once Jairo was at the first set of anchors, the weather threatened to ruin our day.
Climbers on a neighboring route to our right where bailing off the wall to avoid being stuck out there. But I weighed my options and decided the clouds weren’t impending enough to stop me, so I climbed. Once I got to the first set of anchors, I only took about 5 minutes to catch my breath before scurrying up to the next set of anchors. After anchoring, things got interesting.
By this point, Nate had reached the first set of anchors and there seemed to be something wrong with him anchoring in. The boys were being quiet, but no one was climbing which wasn’t a good sign. My ankles were screaming for a break, and I was starting to feel the first drops of rain. Eventually the boys said they needed to figure something out and it would be okay. I was nervous for Elise at the bottom because I could tell she wasn’t happy. It was sprinkling on her and she had been praying below for encouragement to get up the wall.
Once the boys stopped talking she started getting a little antsy. I was just praying the rain would go away and that everyone would start climbing again. Once Nate seemed set on his anchors Jairo climbed up to me. Upon reaching me, he informed me that Nate was a mess and seemed to have forgotten everything about anchoring. He wanted me to climb to the third anchors so he could be there for Nate at the second anchors. So, with our rope all out of whack, I climbed up to the third anchors and anchored in. All seemed well at this point, but that was fleeting.
Elise was not happy about the anchoring situation upon reaching the first anchors and was ready to be lowered down. I was at the top wondering what to do. Jairo has the great idea to throw our rope down and let Nate and Elise top rope all the way to the top. This is great, except Jairo didn’t throw the rope far enough and I can’t flake it towards them. So I get off anchors and hike over to let the rope drop where it needs to and then hike back to anchors so I can belay.
Jairo decides at this point it’s time to join me at the top and free solo’s the last pitch. Somewhere in all of this rope kerfuffle, I spot Daniel. I try to tell him, without anyone hearing me, that they need to hide behind the trees and I’ll send him a text. We hadn’t planned on Elise getting to the top before Nathan, so we didn’t want the family to be visible when she made it up. Jairo also got the ring from Elise’s father so he could pass it on to Nate when the time was right. With Jairo finally anchored in with me at the top, we belayed Elise to the top. She was worn out and less than a happy camper.
I tried everything I could to get her laughing and thankful to be at the top. It worked until she realized that we still had about 20 feet we’d need to hike before officially being at the top, and those 20 feet are off rope. Nate climbed up soon after and it looked like all would be well. Jairo and I quickly made a job of keeping Elise busy with a rope and working to get out of their way. Once we were confident Nate was on anchors, Jairo and I got off anchors and hiked up to sort out our ropes.
I knew the proposal was coming soon, so I whipped out my phone to get ready. By the time I looked up, the ring was out and the happy couple was hugging. I hadn’t realized that Jairo had already given Nate the ring, so it was a surprise.
At this point Elise turned around to see if we had a clue and she spotted her family. Her exhaustion from the day completely vanished and she quickly got off anchors to run up and hug everyone. It was a wonderful surprise to be a part of!