Hope all those in the USA had a great Labor Day weekend. For me I spent it making a journey over to Madrid, Spain and drive 5+ hours up up up to Teverga region. I am on Day #2 and have learned so much already about my climbing, my life and myself.
Where is Thou Humility? – There is endless climbing here in this region and the one I am climbing in has sporadic choices below 5.11 grade. I had made it a goal this year to focus on climbing every and any 5.10 I could get on this year with sporadic 11s here and there, to establish some consistency and then do the same with 5.11s next year and so on. Here, that is impossible. It was more like I needed to climb any possible 5.11 out there and jump on a 12 here and there and wish for the best (haha!). So far it has been great, but increasing tension with less rests means I am pumping out more and not on-sighting everything and hanging on climbs. Meanwhile, everyone around me is warming up 5.12s and getting their hard 5.13 or 5.14 projects. And everyone is making every effort to meet me and climb with me. Even a legend is here and he told me I inspired him with my will to redpoint some projects that were clearly not my style. He said watching others and me at the crag push ourselves to succeed gave him energy and inspiration to try to shoot for his project. He told me how watching other climbers in their journey to climb and be the best they can be yet still have fun was a huge source of inspiration to him. Here is this seasoned pro-climber telling me how much I have inspired him. Just when I need it, climbing humbles me in such great ways.
Being Conquered is Not Failure – This trip must have been meant to be. I was forced to jump on climbs at and past my limit and I also took the opportunity to work a few things that have been my weakness for some time now. Cracks (with features) and super overhung. Mixed in with my pride and joy vertical techy crimpy climbing. Well I succeeded with stars on anything that I am typically challenged with like cracks and super overhung (oh yeah!) and experienced heavy challenges on the vertical thin face climbing, my pride and joy. At first I was crushed. My coach told me being conquered is not failure, but rather success. Allowing myself to only climb things I can onsight is a false sense of success. Allowing myself to fall and struggle and push through the styles that challenge me along with my strengths and make vast improvement or redpoint is true success and progression. I was so hard on myself, but I did not realize that actually almost red pointed my techy project. If I don’t redpoint it tomorrow, which is my last chance, I am ok with it because what I achieved the last few days is priceless to making continued progression in my climbing.
Winners Embrace Progress Over Time – I used to kind of climb grades all over the place and not really consistent across any real grade. I was great at specific types of climbing but not across a wide span of styles. When I first started climbing, we would all say, “X is my style, and I am not good at X style” and that was more of a focus on our success or reason for failure. I have been working hard to change that and I have to say I am proud to have onsighted a 5.11a that is a crack system with some features and slightly overhung portions. For once, I could walk up to something that would have not been within my reach just one year ago and feel confident I could at least safely lead up to the top. My coach told me on this trip how much progress I made over the past few years. She said progress over time is the real approach to becoming an excellent all-around climber. She is right. Since early last year, my finger injury forced me to slow down, take a step back and focus on the little things that have needed attention and focusing on strides over time. And it has paid off. I have tons more to learn and more places to see, and the more all around I become, the more options will open up to me…..so as long as I patiently work in strides over time.
Well Maybe It’s All It’s ‘Cracked’ Up to Be – I am sorry to highlight this in its own category. But I always say how much I dislike climbing cracks. And to be honest, we are not talking about true Moab splitter crack, jam all the way. True crack climbers deserve mad respect. I am talking about a nice fingery crack for 20 feet then get on the face to rest for a few moves, crack 5 feet, and then stem for a rest, crack for 15 feet, layback overhang for 10, and so on. So a much much milder version of crack. This has been the one style that kills me every time because I just don’t understand how to use my body effectively or efficiently. And this year I made it a point to start working a little more on this style, even though it is not my favorite. Well, I got on a face crack climb with intermediate face blank moves throughout the climb. And it was not only an onsight, but I actually loved it. It was such a brilliant and clever climb. Climbing has taught me to step out of my comfort zone and when you least expect it, you actually start liking your frenemies.
Geez, overall, loving my trip and I just started. Here we go, more fun with existing and new friends combined with valuable life lessons.
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas A. Edison