Robert H. Schuller once said “I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed.” Recently I have taken this approach to not only my climbing but also anything else that I am exploring. I think I have stated previously that I spent years holding myself back and self-sabotaging my own personal growth and goals. I am remiss to admit this as I feel a little ashamed for I have the ability to achieve so much.
To make a clear and new start to improve my well-being and to break the habits of old, I have set myself solid and achievable goals on a daily basis whilst here in Kalymnos. To give a little background will help with understanding why. Firstly, like most climbers I have a nemesis grade! This grade is 6c+ (22) or (5.11c/d) for the conversion phobic. I have always had some mental block with this grade and over the past two years basically avoided climbing it not matter what.
So anyways, before coming to Kalymnos I decided to try and climb as hard as I could and this meant trying to send 7a+ (24) through 7b+ (26) routes. What I didn’t take into consideration was that although I have an extremely solid foundation of experience to spend time projecting routes in the mid-seven’s, I hadn’t cleared a very big flaw in this foundation. This was a more important thing to me than just going number hunting. Don’t get me wrong I am definitely wanting to climb hard routes, but without clearing this nemesis in my mind…….I was causing my own failure…this had to stop.
It took me a little while to sort out exactly what my process would be as I had to completely rethink my approach, goals and motivations. I spoke to my friend Monique Forestier about this and she gave me some sage advice “If you don’t know why you’re doing it…….Then what are you doing it for?!” There’s gold in these words. After a couple of weeks here on the island just climbing routes and getting back into the swing of things I made some decisions. Very simple ones.
- On every climbing day pick a project at the crag you’re going to. There’s a lot to choose from here in Kalymnos.
- Warm up well
- If there is nemesis grade routes at the crag, climb them and try and on-sight them. If you don’t its ok, because its about clearing your head cabbage.
- Make sure you are still moving toward the anchors when you fall
(go for the next move anyway).
- Put the draws on your project, rest and then try it again….And again….And again on the day Remember it’s ok to take your gear for a walk.
- Walk away at the end of the day with your head held high and show some self-compassion……by saying I tried really bloody hard today.
Remember your process………This is the key to it all. Don’t delineate from the path of least resistance. Your process is what got you to where you are at the moment. What makes you think anything else will work.
This is where I failed…….I forget my process!
I work better when my process is strict and I function better mentally when I stick to a solid game plan……I am not an on-sight climber at all and I’m definitely not a “random acts of ascents” kind of guy. I thrive on function and form.
My projects are 7a or 7a+ at the moment and I am trying my 6c+ grade regularly. I am also most importantly not giving up anymore at all and the head cabbage is not a permanent fixture anymore…..it comes and goes quickly now and I am enjoying myself a lot more………life’s to short!
Climb hard, love long, laugh loud and have fun……….