One of the biggest challenges that I have been facing as a climber is shifting how I approach routes. It is really easy to read the “how to climb” books that explain the basics- but when it really comes to actively choosing to engage in the process it becomes unique to you- especially when you are trying something that is incredibly difficult relative to yourself.
No amount of literature can possibly prepare someone for the insanity that goes through your head when it comes to the pressure of wanting to get a route done… especially on a time-frame. Over the past few weeks I have been down in Australia climbing in the Arapiles; which is humorous to me due to my particular likes and dislikes when it comes to climbing.
I am not one to particularly enjoy small, sustained, technical climbing… however; that is just because it is not my strength… so being down here I am forced to face my weakness. For about the first week I focused on climbing difficult routes ranging in the lower to mid-thirteens. I found it difficult to go from pulling and thugging my way up routes to having to be delicate and intricate. Finding footwork and body position was rough! However; I caught on decently quick- and after knocking off a few of them I felt like I was ready to start tackling a project… which so happened to be Punks in the Gym.
…Or so I thought- turns out this route is like nothing I had ever faced before! It is techy… smeary… crimpy… and worst of all something I could work through! It is one thing to jump on a route and just get biotch-slapped off… it is totally another when you don’t do as good as you would expect, but you still pull through. On my fact finding and information gathering missions on the route; I found intricate body positions that allowed me to work my way around my inability to deal with not just pulling my way up! Pretty soon I was able to go from being able to pull on underneath the crux moves to climbing all the way to the chains fairly competently. In my mind the deal is sealed… and I am planning on investing all of my time and energy into trying to figure out how to red-point send.
With a good climbing partner and watching their ascent of the route I feel a super- psyched to join the send train! Ideally I want it to go quick… I have the moves down… I am feeling ok (I have worn holes in my finger-tips- but whatever… I rested two days) and I am feeling warm. Due to my relative success and what I felt was some quick-linkage my, “feeling miles away to sending the route approach…” is gone and I am starting to relax and I am not pulling as hard on the holds compared to when I was first learning the route. Still not super relaxed but we will see what happens
I have a few more days to get it… here is to hoping!