So last week I started praying for the motivation to commit more of my time and resources to sport climbing.
I think I have come upon a serious wall, so to speak, with de clippings, and I think I’ve been at it for a while. Here’s my story:
So way back when I was about 14 or 15, I was crushing some gymnastics, and then, in the middle of a strong training summer, I was so over it. And I had lots of lame reasons, and it felt like the right thing to do to quit at the time blah blah, but the truth was that I was terrified. I had come up fast in the sport, learned all kinds of awesome tricks, and swung bars as well as girls several levels beyond me. But by this point the next tricks on the list were really scary, and I spent a lot of time just half-trying them, not committing, bailing out, hurting myself worse in the process. I stopped loving bars and vault – the powerful, fast, upper-body-intensive events that drew me to the sport as a spindly 8 yr old. I started focusing on beam and floor, things that were closer to the ground and involved less aerial momentum.
With no new tricks, though, I got discouraged. My teammates learned the new vaults, did bar releases, giants, complicated dismounts, and I just plateaued like wow, so bored right now.
Fast forward 17 years or so, and I feel like I’m in a simliar place with sport climbing. I haven’t tried a sport climb that felt honestly limit in….a really long time (not counting the 11a warm up at jailhouse that I only saw the top of once). I’m pretty sure the last move I worked and couldn’t do in sequence within a few go’s was the move to the drilled pocket on that thing at Reimers…wtf is it called? Next to Lord of the Dance-Dance? Classiqe, lots of chipping and drilled pockets? Anyway, point is it was 2009 at the very latest. And it’s not that I try lines and can’t do them and quit. I don’t even get ON them. I just take a few goes (or in the case of Jailhouse, a few WEEKS) to put moves together with rests and kneebars in the right order, then go back to the boulders.
So I went to Rumney with Leo last weekend and did my fear game. It was amazing to hang out with him and I think we talked almost non-stop the entire time, and I loved the area, but stuck to easy terrain. I’ve been forcing myself to do at least one 12a/bb at every sport climbing spot, and I got through that easily enough there, but jeeze ann, let’s at least try to pretend to be trying to try hard.
And I can’t give up. Serious, effortfull sport climbing has to be a part of my life. My joints can’t boulder season after season, and my heart can’t handle not climbing at all, plus I love it, AND I’m completely decent at it. I need it in my life in order to be fully myself.
So all that, and reflecting on my gymnastics experience, has lead me to the conclude that my fear of heights has become unmanageable, and is negatively impacting my life.
I have a functional fear of heights that limits my ability to climb my best when there are ropes or exposure involved. My ability drops a grade every 12 feet I climb up, and as I get panicked about that, and tired from climbing so badly, my vision tunnels until I might as well be looking for holds through one of those shoe-box eclipse viewer things.
What to do? I had no idea so I started praying about it, which is where I started this story. After that I got 2 exciting and unexpected phone calls.
The first one was from ClimbTech, the Austin-based climbing and industrial safety gear company that made my pretty red quickdraws, and also makes permadraws for gyms and crags and the original removable bolt, and a new line of climbing accessories. They’re starting up an athlete ambassador program, and expanding their line of sport climbing gear, and asked ME to be a part of it!
“You know I’m kind of struggling with sport climbing, right?”
They did, but feel certain that my extensive travel and vast enthusiasm will keep me clippin, and they’re willing to invest a little in me. So WOw! I’m honored and excited, because I’ve also been praying for a set of matching new draws. I feel like it would inspire me and it IS!
The other call was about a sport climbing trip opportunity, but more on that later.
Anyway, I’m headed to the Rocklands right now, like I”m at the airport, and need to go pretty much now. Let’s talk more when I arrive there and get settled, on Saturday. It’s Tuesday. Yeah.