|By Finn the Human
From The Land of Ooo
Jul 25, 2012
I think it's all about perspective, how you choose to look at climbing.
When I first started climbing harder a few years ago, I would push myself really hard and get really mad at myself when I failed. I would never throw a tantrum, but I would grumble to myself, grouch at my belayer, and generally let it ruin my day.
But then, a little over 2 years ago I was in an accident, and I was unable to climb for about a year. When I finally got back into climbing, it was an entirely different experience. First of all, after a year of zero climbing, I sucked. I was 30 pounds heavier, and totally out of shape. It was extremely frustrating to be able to read a climb, only to realize my body was incapable of doing the moves. Talk about an ego check.
I think dealing with that initial "suckage" taught me a lot of patience with climbing. Part of me just wanted to quit-because it was so damn frustrating-but another part of me wanted to keep going because I knew I would get better. I stuck with it, and when I started making progress, it was one of the most rewarding feelings I've ever experienced.
I also think that being unable to climb for so long helped me remember why I like to climb in the first place. I like to climb because it's fun, it's liberating, and it feels good to work my body hard. Somewhere along the line I lost focus, and just started pushing, pushing, pushing for harder grades. When I started climbing again I couldn't climb hard, so all that was left for me was to have fun.
Now I've been climbing for a little over a year again, and I'm climbing harder than I ever have, and enjoying it more than I ever have. I set goals for myself, and yes, I get frustrated when I fail on my redpoint attempts, but then I remind myself why I'm out there in the first place. It's to have fun and to improve myself, not to get mad and drive myself crazy.
Recently I've been climbing with a 16 year old kid I met at the gym, and the dude is a prodigy. He recently sent his first 12c on his 3rd attempt, and is projecting a few different 13's. We'll go climb and he'll send my projects after a couple tries. In years past, that would have infuriated me, but now I love it. It's super exciting to watch him improve and grow, and it gives me motivation to push myself and catch up to him (if I can... haha...)
Anyway, I realize I'm kinda rambling here, and I didn't give any specific advice for other people, but maybe someone can learn something from my experiences.