Sunday, January 30, 2011

Project times

These strange times, between eying a line for the first time, figuring out you like it, figuring out it is challenging enough - just enough to keep your interest - to saying oh, it's sooo good, to coming back, trying the moves, again and again.  And the positive feelings of the first serious attempts - starting to believe in the possibility of a send.  Overcoming the fear, from doing the separate moves, to leading up.  From leading to clipping all draws instead of grabbing them, from clipping to doing a couple of draws at a time, up.  Forcing yourself - cold days, tired days, standing below with no energy left - and coming down full of excitement.  To serious tries, where you surprise yourself, you get over another move, and another move.  You set goals, and get there - maybe not today, but tomorrow.  Another miraculous foot appears, another climber sends the route.  You watch, you think, you analyze, you try to optimize.  When your brain says "I can't", but at the same time your will power pushes you on.  Project times.

Then the slope gets steeper - excitement is replaced by days of no progress, of cold, of "why am I here", "i can't", of grabbing the draw, of self-humiliation in your head, of fear.  Black humor days, watching people send, always feeling inferior, not having boulder power, lacking resistance, pumping up, the miraculous foot slipping just when you thought you were really going for it.  The days when you feel like quarreling with the whole world over, when nothing goes well, when even climbing gives up on you, when you wonder about caves and dark places, when justifying, rationalizing, and waiting simply do not make it worthwhile anymore.  The clutches close, you slumber, you go down.

Then sun comes out again, the circle turns.  They come, they go, they repeat themselves over.  The dark times.  The bright times.  Project times.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Oh, Margalef!

New year, new worries, but also more climbing.  To start it right, I have been campusing at the gym, or rather simulating, as well as pulling myself up on two fingers.  Otherwise, life is complicated, as usual, and as usual, climbing is there when there is not much else left.

Into thin air, below, redpointing Conxoirxa with the Gresca finish, 7b+ in Cabernet, one of the exceptional sectors at Margalef.  It bathed us in the sunshine the whole last w-end, offering incredible blue skies and summer temperatures.   These long routes take you on a journey into the air, into the rock-land, where only endurance and power gets things done.  Maybe this is a good enough preparation for the project?  Maybe not, but it is definitely an awesome way to spend a week-end after hard training.
Picture courtesy by Manu Velasquez