Spending two weeks climbing in the sports worlds epicentre is certainly a great way to improve ones attitude towards what you do in the vertical. There is a quiet confidence that the Spanish climbers display. They are not loud, they don’t even look like they are trying too hard, but their ability and base level of fitness is incredible. I would say that per-capita Spanish climbers climb harder than any others.
I was working my project at Oliana that was affectionately known as “The Warm Up”. Yep, it was the easiest route at the crag on the main wall. A stiff 7a (23) that was a little runout in places and had a wonderfully interesting setup into the crux if you were a little taller – like myself. I top-roped it a couple of times on the first day. I am happy to have chosen that option to calm the nerves a little.
Day two on the route I decided to lead it and tied in. I was tentative and a little anxious, but I was above all motivated to try it. Since it was the warm up I decided to agree with the recommendation of my friends Monique and Simon to just go bolt to bolt and warm up the body. This was a great suggestion as I found myself over gripping and super tense as I climbed. I was pumped by the fourth bolt and said “Take!”
To have to say take on the warm up was a truly enlightening and humbling experience. To have to redefine how you do things and try new things was a real brain teaser. I mention this because there is a particular technique that I have been trying to work on for a few months now, but I have not been able to find the right type of route to practice on. Well this route was the route I was looking for and it certainly showed me a thing or two. The technique I wanted to work on was how I needed to climb this route correctly. I had been handed an opportunity.
Over the course of the next few days I came back to this route for my education. It was really humbling to have to work this route. It was well within my ability to send but as stated “the technique needed to be acquired.” I am very much a believer in “continuous improvement” and you when you’re unable to take two steps forward, you sometimes need to take one step back to grow. One must put the ego aside and learn.
It took me nine attempts to send this route and that was over four days. I was more excited about the new technique I had embedded into my climbing arsenal then I was about sending the route.
Realising that the success you seek lays somewhere different to where you thought it did is a truly wonderful thing.
Remember to be excited by the little things and that opportunity knocks but once 🙂