Everyone gathers around the newly set wall. Laughing and chatting among themselves. Oh the joy that could be had if one were to actually finish the new orange route.
I want to climb the orange route…
Instead, I’m mouth breathing and attempting to steady my mind from recoiling as my climbing ability slowly degrades before my eyes. Climbing, for the last 20 minutes, has left me weak as a kitten.
I hope no one thinks I climb this poorly all the time so I’m going to do a quick look around…
Just to make sure no one is watching.
Chasing the Dragon
I have found that the biggest obstacle to progress is your own memory. There is no forgetting how good it feels to climb well – there is no forgetting those noteworthy sends – and there is no forgetting how your body feels and moves when you are strong.
Unfortunately, when you have that perceived memory of being strong, you will no doubt cling to it as not only a point of reference but also, a point of validation.
But comparison is the thief of joy.
And frankly, no one cares how hard you climbed in the context of the present.
When I look back on my climbing experience, I realize that I’ve never really tried hard to climb well. I’ve done a lot of climbing and as such, I eventually climbed harder, but I’ve never worked hard to climb better.
Plus, being from North Carolina, the land of the mythical ‘strongman’, where climbers are just strong and capable, even after many months on the couch, one does not simply ‘train’ for climbing. You live and breath climbing and as I mentioned before, then you eventually climb harder.
This approach is total rubbish but as someone who has lived this, getting into the ‘I’m going to train for climbing’ mindset, is an intimate challenge. As it unhinges you, you find there is consistent fear of judgement by your peers- which are completely unfounded – there is the lack of motivation on low energy days and there is the lingering fear that all this work will be for nothing or worse, it will get you injured.
Above: Me – attempting to campus
Fear plays you on so many levels but rather than letting the fear of the experience or potential failure pluck your strings – let the fear of inaction motivate you into action.
And as Stevie Haston says, ‘learn to be competent…’