Only a few weeks ago I found myself protesting or at least parts of me were…my fingers, my arms, my shoulders, my very core against the constant 9.8m./sec.2. The conglomeration of the weeks, months and years of rallying against gravity provided a sort of bitter sweet nostalgia and meditative realization. Now, yet again, I’ve come to something nucleic.
I have been struggling over this one project that I wish could have been outdoors. Sadly it isn’t and so I’m half unenthusiastic about it, but then again there is a very serious tone in which it has etched itself into my consciousness. The boulder problem has been on the wall for over a month. The four crimpy holds that start the route on the most inclined part of the wall, probably 60o off from the vertical, always had scraped the most essential skin off my fingertips even before the crux of the problem. After going through the heavy battle on crimps, a serious looking sloper marked halfway. My foot come off the wall majority of the times I’ve tried the move. What needs to be done is to get your foot to stay and slowly peel off to get a good handle on the hold. Following an already epic mêlée comes in an almost frictionless block. The green volume that I reach with the right hand to match with the left, has marginal friction when held at an awkward angle. The greater part of the move comes from twisting the entire torso at the hips to gain a position that maximizes leverage from it. The long reach to the last sloper followed by a pragmatic reach to the last edge seem to be the icing but isn’t at all too easy either. The problem’s done. It has been a month long project that at times I simply had to put off for weeks just to get it out of my mind. The hurt and the indelible expectation of falling again and again gave me nightmares in my waking hours. It called back several times but I ignored it. As I write this it has only been two and a half hours since I’ve finished the problem…finally. I had attempts when I felt solid on the moves but fail on the last sloper. I had attempts when I felt good on all the crimps, only to fall on the match on the halfway transition from crimp to sloper. I also fell trying to hold onto the green volume from a bad angle. Before I ever did the problem, I always thought I had to get to the holds perfectly, latch on every one of the crimps solid as possible…no mistakes, hold on to the slopers…no mistakes. The final send was surprising. It wasn’t at all perfect. The first crimp felt heavy from the take off. I almost fell on the 2nd crimp, the chalk on my fingers slowly becoming slimy at will. On the third crimp, I had to adjust my fingers a bit as I didn’t land them perfectly. On the last crimp, again I had to readjust everything. The move for the transition sloper had to be fast, I had only a few seconds before the body sags again. I shot my right hand for the volume only to find my fingers inches away from slipping. The send was less than perfect. I almost failed again and the tone of this blog would be different. I wouldn’t have it any other way though. I’m even grateful it had been an epic struggle.
Even in perfect situations there is bound to be problems. Even so, if the circumstances surrounding your “ascent” is less than perfect, you should still hold on, never giving in to the will of what weighs you down. It is as simple as that. It is amazing to me that at times when harsh realities sink in, I find my climbing lecturing me on life’s ambiguity. It feels good.