Three Confessions

Sure, a lot of great climbs are found next to clear blue waters; alongside ocean vistas; 10 feet from your campsite; or directly along a country road complete with room for parking. But another bunch of great climbs are found at the end of 45 minute hikes up steep trails in blazing heat. Yes, I’m fit. Yes, I’m outdoorsy. Confession: i don’t like hiking.

When we finally reach the boulder field/valley, sticky with sweat and completely out of breath, i’m so thankful that we “made it.” But then I see people walking the trails not even in search of climbs and they make me reconsider, why don’t we “enjoy it”? I even saw a woman who was pregnant (or possibly fat). “What are you doing here?” I wondered. Tip of my hat to preggo! She really made me stop and appreciate the setting we were in. Just check out the “Top(out) of the World” video to see how amazing our views were. I now promise that while taking breaks to catch my breath, I will take more care to look around.

Yesterday we wandered around sections one and two leaving no boulder unscrutinized and all day along I didn’t send anything. Not one problem. I kept thinking about Ceila’s recent question, “Are you getting really strong?” and kept making excuses like, “We’ve only climbed three days so far this month and it’s July 27th already” while sinking deeper into a foul mood. Confession: I have bad juju.

Looking back i realize there was really nothing lacking in our day at all. I had heard what Richard told me on our first boulder, “Stop thinking about the send. Enjoy the moves.” but i hadnt listened. In the introduction to Arno Ilgner’s “The Rock Warrior’s Way” he explains this common trap, “Our self-image and our self-worth are far too wrapped up in achievements. We constantly act out of fear and avoidance, rather than out of the love of challenge or of climbing itself.”

With my head now removed from my ass I can see that I should have not only enjoyed the moves but also enjoyed the fact that Richard and I were working problems together. Something I had never expected since I’m a V1 and he’s a V6 (you know what I mean). But there we were flirting with a beautiful V5, him working the crux and me working the first 4 moves. There’s plenty of joy right there. And I’m getting closer to the zen.

At most destinations we’ve encountered nature’s tricky barriers like rattlesnakes and cougars. But on our first day in Cresciano, we’d encountered ticks. On our clothes, on our crash pad, on the backpack, and yes, even a few on our skin. We immediately bought bug repellent and liberally doused ourselves in DEET, performed routine tick inspections, and were (are!) generally freaking out about TBE. However, what I have to confess does not just involve ticks. It’s highballs, the arduous approach, bad landings, short boulders, and ticks. Confession: I’m too cool.

Similar to the lesson of enjoying the climb regardless of my ego, it’s time to let needless mindfucks stop getting in the way of seeing an amazing opportunity. Those excuses, too high, too chossy, no feet, no skin, scary, wrong shoes, bad spot, are just mindfucks getting in the way of enjoying. Climbing Magazine’s July 2007 editorial “The rebirth of Cool” poo-pooed all those lame mindfucks and declared, “any day out climbing as a gift not a burden.”

We are in SWITZERLAND! and we didn’t even plan it. We’ve touched many types of limestone, sandstone, granite, gneiss, conglomerate, and volcanic tuff. We’ve stood in awe of Midnight Lightning, Dreamtime, El Cap, Evilution and countless equally difficult yet lesser known climbs. No. More. Mindfucks. It’s all a gift.

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  • yodabear
    27 Jul 2010 | Permalink | Reply

    well said! Hope you checked out the backside of dreamtime

  • Ceila
    27 Jul 2010 | Permalink | Reply

    It’s not about sending. Climbing is about the process and the moves. If you make it about the process you’ll be able to climb forever and love climbing forever!

    Also, Don’t worry if you’re not climbing everyday- you’re still enjoying your travels! Hate to say it but there is more to traveling then looking for boulders. Enjoy it – I’m super jealous :)

    • admin
      28 Jul 2010 | Permalink | Reply

      Yes, the moves… And another thing I didn’t address is the social aspect. We continue to say things to each other like, “if we ever come back with Yudai, and Ceila, and Tony, etc, etc, we’ll be fully prepared for the ticks!” or, “this would be perfect place to come back to with friends because of, x, y, z factors”

  • Victoria Vincent
    28 Jul 2010 | Permalink | Reply

    Sorry we missed your call and in case you did not get the email on ticks: Continue body checks. Any tick who is on you for less than 2 days is generally not a problem. If you get a fever or rash or get sick, call your Uncle Rob!

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