Thursday, March 15, 2012

Monkey Looks back at a Year of Climbing

THIS is what I climb atop for my euphoria.
This Thursday I hit another milestone - redpointing my first 6c lead route at Redpoint Climbing Centre.

It was my second attempt at the route, after falling off the crux during my onsight attempt last week. Oh and I mentioned doing this at Redpoint Centre because of their supposed higher grade level (*shrugs*).

So I messed up a move at one point, which left me wrong handed at a crucial section - managed to slowly sorted myself out and recovered; rested properly and cruised the crux with conviction.

As I topped out though, I realised that I wasn't get the sense of euphoria that I was expecting. It wasn't like I was playing it cool either, I just felt calm (but not zen) about it.

Having thought about it on the way home, I suddenly I realised exactly why - it's been exactly one year since I had my first climbing session, after passing my belay test.

"But what does that have to do with anything Mr Stan?" I imagine my imaginary readers asking in a 'You've gone off the tangent again, did you get your medication' tone of voice.

Well, I'll tell you how exactly. Are you sitting comfortably?

Hands up who recognises this chair.
Let me start by peering through the looking glass... or time machine... or quantum light tunnel thing... I don't know... and look back at what I've achieved in the pass year in climbing:

10 Mar 11 - Passed belay test.
15 Mar 11 - First unsupervised rock climbing session, started at around 4 / 4+ level.
21 Mar 11 - Pew pew! My eyes got blasted by laser, a month off climbing.
Apr / May 11 - First 6a.
23 May 11 - First lead climb.
23 Jun 11 - Redpointed first 6b (Top rope).
11 Jul 11 - Onsighted first 6b on Lead (rainbow).
27 Aug 11 - Seconded first outdoor route at the Roaches.
29 Sep 11 - Redpointed first 6c (Top rope).
Oct - Dec 11 - Stopped climbing as much with work, social life and relationship stuff getting in the way.
14 Jan 12 - Redpointed first 6c+ (Top rope) after resuming climbing.
25 Jan 12 - Onsighted first 6b+ on Lead.
11 Feb 12 - Redpointed first 7a+ (Top rope).
21 Feb 12 - Onsighted first 6c (Top rope).
15 Mar 12 - Redpointed first 6c on Lead.
Yes, I'm boasting a bit here. Yes, you can mock me with your own progress.
And after digging through my YouTube videos and blog posts to get the dates right... you know what?

None of that actually mattered when I was on the wall, wanting to redpoint that 6c. I'd already watched my video to see what went wrong; I paced myself when I was on route; I rested at every opportunity before the crux; when comes to shove I just expected to finish it as I committed to the crux move.

I did realise I'd just completed another milestone for myself, but everything leading up to now somehow didn't seem relevant. I blame this book for it:

And I'd only just finished chapter one.
I guess I just realised that, this - today, is just the beginning of my climbing career. I'm only just beginning to open my mind up to climbing properly - I'm actively thinking about what I'm doing, and writing about it. Dave MacLeod told me in person (whilst I was in a dream, that I didn't have because I have no idea what he looks like) that I sucked and need to free my mind and start over to rid of my bad habits. I know that I need to start over if I were to progress.

I think the sense of euphoria is going to diminish from this point onwards, but my overall joy from climbing will be improved. Kinda like more foreplay, less climax perhaps.

BUT, it's been a totally amazing first year. So here's to all the wonderful memories; amazing friends; emotional experiences; painful wedgies; scary falls and dead skin cells. I could actually say that Rock Climbing saved my life, but that's another story.

Thank you Mr. Obama
I'm about to have my second laser eye surgery which will put me out of action for another month. Instead of being anxious about my performance plummeting, I'm actually looking forward to it (unintended pun!).

Monkey goes Pew Pew Pew!

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