It has been a beautiful thing to get back to the heart of climbing. Moving toward enjoying climbing and wanting to climb for movement’s sake and feeling a bit of ‘zen’ out in nature rather than struggling with myself over my lack of desire to try difficult lines. There are two concepts that have been resonating with me lately that have allowed me to ease my way, both up the wall and through a number of other transitions.
One is from my dear friend Julia Wakeling who reminded me once to “do it because it is fun”. On a sunny day in Boven a few years ago she told me to tie in on an 18 because I couldn’t climb the route I had been slogging away at all day. We hauled our asses up easy routes for the rest of the day, giggled a fair bit and had a ball. I have never forgotten this day and often use this strategy during a frustrating road trip. This is what I have been trying to capture lately. Close to home, one can feel limited to repeating old lines or trying very difficult personal projects. Some days, capturing the fun is about pushing myself and climbing hard and other days it is about not being indoors. If I am not enjoying myself on a route or at the gym I try to switch to something that is more enjoyable. Without the second concept though, fun can feel like you are wasting time.
The second concept is believing in what you are doing. In our recent National competition I had to ask myself why I was competing. As the only adult female competitor it was pointed out to me that I would be better off spending the travelling money on a trip to Rocklands or Boven. The answer was simple. I love competing. I wanted to compete. I only really need the route to get to the top of and another competitor would have been wonderful but the quality of route setting made up for it. I realised that during the competition period I believed entirely that getting to the top of that wall was important, I not only did well but I loved every minute of it. It was this belief that kept me going.
Maintaining this sense of belief can be challenging. Sometimes when I don’t have a project that is really captivating me or a climbing partner that is pushing me it can be frustrating to potter about on easy lines. They are beautiful but without the physical push I am often bored unless they are led out on poor protection. I enjoy scary, led out routes, to a point, but they are not my strong point. Recently, I have found it satisfying to accept that there will be a project that captivates me at some point and instead I enjoy the day at the crag, or not at the crag at all. Training days used to be about me beating myself up for not training hard enough and ending the session upset that I was never going to accomplish my goals with this inability to be motivated. Now ‘training’ has become about absorbing what I can through a concerted effort to make the experience ethereal. Mostly, once I am calm enough to accept things as contributing to my greater being and as positive, I am flowing toward my goals rather than fighting for them. Skipping a weekend out has the benefit that it makes me itchy to climb again. Replacing rusty chains on easy sport lines is good for the development of the sport and will hopefully prevent tragic accidents. Other days, scoping out new crags and tying in on top rope has been rewarding.
So far this new approach has seen me training more. I am yet to find a project line that really excites me but there is some hidden potential out there. My eyes are on new lines, and routes that I don’t have pre-conceived ideas about.