“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.” –Henry Ford
I love this quote and how it applies directly to climbing. Have I talked enough about the ego busting nature of climbing? How just when you think you’ve progressed you’re brought down a peg or two? It’s the challenge and beauty of this ridiculously hard sport and I think it’s one of the reasons I really like climbers. The egotistical ones don’t tend to stick around for long. I’m not saying there aren’t some huge egos out there in the climbing world, but the nature of the sport itself tends to keep the more humble athletes…the ones who are willing to try to move their arm up an inch for hours at a time. That takes…a certain kind of personality.So, last month we seized the day and booked a Modo car and drove up to Squamish for another day of ego busting outdoor bouldering. Man, that is one beautiful drive that I never get tired of! Have I also mentioned that I really need to start doing more outdoor sport climbing? At least then I know something is catching my fall. Every time we go up to Squamish I know it’s going to be hard, I know I my pride will be hurting and I know I will be frustrated and yet it seems to surprise me every time. This time was no different. All I wanted was to finish one project. One freakin’ boulder! Yes, for the experienced climber this may be laughable, but for me…it’s a real goal. Zeke had a goal to finish a V5 level boulder and he totally rocked it, in addition to a whole bunch of other boulders. As always, I’m impressed and amazed by his climbing.
Zeke was just as determined as I was to find a project that I could tackle and complete and towards the end of the day….the miracle finally happened! There is a fine line in life between pushing yourself too hard or not enough and finding the right boulder or route to climb lies in that very hard to find sweet spot. In my two years of climbing I’ve learned that you really do need to push yourself past that comfort zone and that does not mean you are being reckless or tempting fate. For example, my fear of heights pops up regularly when I climb but now that I’m a couple of years in I am starting to recognize it and realize that it’s often completely irrational. When that moment hits and my heart starts to race, if I’m feeling stable on the problem I stop, evaluate and if I have the guts I push through. Sometimes that means just moving one hold higher and that is ok. When I’m able to push through that fear I can’t even describe how amazing it feels. Overcoming your fears is the most underated happy drug out there. Seriously. Try it. Now enjoy some pics of Zeke sending a couple of his problems. Gotta love climbing jargon.
So, after some attempts at various boulders and a whole lot of hiking through the forest with our crash pad and gear, Zeke found me a highly rated easy boulder to climb and at first, I didn’t think I could do it, much to my chagrin (side note – chagrin is such a good word.) But, then Zeke reminded me of this fancy thing I know called “technique” that you know, I use all the time in the gym so why not outside? When I figured out the beta and actually applied this fancy “technique” thing guess what? I fell on my ass and cried all the way home. Just kidding. I nailed the problem! I couldn’t believe it. I set my fear aside and focused on the actual movement and of course had the best spotter ever behind me and voila – mission accomplished. So, it took all day, but I was able to leave with that little boost. And hopefully our next trip up will go even better. Every time I boulder outside I feel like I’m slowly gaining XP points like in some sort of climbing video game. With any luck I’ll gain a few levels in the coming years.
Thanks again bouldering for teaching me to be humble, patient, kind with myself and courageous.
The Squamish Bouldering guide