Saturday, 23 June 2012

A Realisation

Looks like the sun has set on the long spring dry spell in the Highlands.  June showers are here again and it's looking like this will be the first weekend for quite some time that I haven't got at least one route done.  Sad times.  On the bright side, I'm seeing it as an opportunity to pull hard on small holds, to get pumped silly in a controlled environment and a chance to go running and not feel guilty that I'm throwing away the precious few trad opportunities that we Northerner's get offered.

Training for ledge shuffling
I'm feel pretty positive about the way the climbing year has gone so far.  Last August I started a new job that gives me a three day weekend, but means I'm away from home three nights a week. Initially I worried that being away for those three nights would really take a chunk out of the amount I could climb or go to the wall, that I'd start to lose strength (what strength?), fitness (what fitness?) and that I'd generally feel out of the loop.  Instead, by careful (selfish?) use of my longer weekends I think if anything I'm still on the very gradually improving gradient that I've been on since I started climbing in 2004.  When it comes to grades (and I apologise, but it does) the numbers don't say much, but the numbers of the numbers tell me I'm doing more, quicker.

Let's not get carried away,  mind.  E3 is still a big deal.  Redpointing a 7a is still something to be proud of, and bouldering harder than 7A seems nigh-on impossible (mind you, if this chap is to be believed, it appears that I've chosen to take on 'the world's hardest 7A+' in Malc's Arete).  I'm well aware that I'm the height of mediocrity, a fact reinforced by reading about and seeing the exploits of many folk that I know:  Rob, Murdo, Dave, to name a few, not to mention the rumblings of the grade-hungry climbing media.  I sometimes wonder why I take it all so seriously, why I hang from a fingerboard, why I do circuits on Rich's board, why I run, why I read about training, about core strength, about periodisation, about active rest, why I even write all this down.  And then I realise, it's because I love it.  Yes, I want to be a better climber, I want to go to amazing places and to be able to climb inspiring routes, I want to have deep experiences, to learn things about myself that only adventure, fear, hardship can teach.  But, even if those things never happen,  I've realised it's the process of trying to get there that I love.

1 comment:

Dave MacLeod said...

Malc's arete is fine at 7a+ if you foot hook the same slopy ledge your hands are on with your left foot to to the last move. If you try and do it the way it was originally done before things broke off it likely would be harder than 7a+.