In the pictures, just another project.
Typing with my hands still white from chalk and a big smile on my face, today I found an answer.
In the last days I was asking myself whether I am still a climber or just a trainer who loves climbing. I struggled a lot to find the answer. I came to the conclusion that I am a trainer, because, despite climbing almost every day, pulling plastic is not my idea of climbing. My idea of climbing is climbing on rock, but also some kind of rock climbing doesn't fit in that idea. I like to think about climbing as new areas, new problems, and not as having to drive hours to test myself on yet another variation or on a classic problem with a weightbelt on.
So yes, I came to the conclusion that I am a trainer, because I approach my training as a medium, but the medium has, over time, replaced the aim, almost becoming the aim.
Not that this answer changed anything in my mind, it's been more a realization than a surprise. It doesn't make me sad or pissed, it's just the way things are at the moment.
If you haven't watched the film or read the book, I highly recommend you to watch or read "The Tartar Steppe": it talks about me. It talks about preparing oneself for something that never comes. I prepare myself for amazing climbs in amazing locations on amazing travels that for some reasons, never come. Or very rarely come, and never as I want.
Time is the most precious thing that I have. Everything takes time, and most of all, perfection takes time. I don't have this time at the moment, therefore I don't have perfection. But I still fight for perfection.
Anyway, today was special.
All alone at home, I had the privilege of taking my time. I slept a lot, I played my bass, I ate properly and while it was starting to lash down with rain, I begun my warm up. Still a bit stiff from the lifting and pressing session of last Friday (more on that soon), I gently pushed it until I felt quite good. I decided to try a long standing project, and on my second go I had my best redpoint go so far, doing the frist four moves and getting to the... crux. The following moves are still beyond my redpoint level, they still feel hard in isolation, but today I did the first four moves in a row for the second time since Spring. Sadly, just after a couple more tries, my skin started to give in, so I changed problem.
Again, I had an excellent go, my core was feeling strong and I was confident about success, but unfortunately my skin was sweaty and my forearms pumped, so I fell. On this project, I've done better only once, doing the last crux move and falling on the following one, that is much easier but still not a path.
I was feeling tired, so I took some time to rest, thinking about how I could go on a little bit more. Of course I had to switch to problems with positive holds on which skin wouldn't make a lot of difference, and I decided to try one that I set some weeks ago, with a crux move that I had only done once, in isolation.
It felt it like an inspiration. From the first move I felt strong, and with each following move I could notice my body moving differently, shifting its weight in another way than on previous attempts, and I found myself at the start of the crux: I got the undercling that I always feared and set my feet, then went to the small pinch; I was still there, on. Going on without thinking I stuck the crux move for the first time from the start, and despite not hitting it perfectly, I dug deep, setting my feet for the last tricky move. At that point, abruptly, reality set back again and I realized that I was there, pulling hard, with my right hand slightly slipping off, and for a brief moment I tought that I had nothing left. That moment lasted just an instant and it disappeared with its thought: I got the next hold, then the following one, then the following one, then the top.
I jumped down and swore. No wet eyes this time. Noone at home but me. Just me and my success. All for myself.
This problem felt very special. I really pulled it out from nowhere. And I felt strong on it, too. When I set it, I gave it a particular name: "Ciao, grazie". After trying it for a while and realizing it was hard, I started feeling a bit sad, because I did not want such a problem to remain a project. Climbing it was to be some sort of tribute to the person which it is dedicated to. So today I completed it, and completed the plan, and the tribute. It's not newsworthy, it's not a new 8c in Font. But it's my problem, my project and my personal tribute.
With this, I also reminded myself that I love this shit. The happiness is there, and maybe it's a hard and rare find because I like to push myself to my absolute limits. Setting easier problems wouldn't warrant the same emotions.
There's so much more than this, that I just can't fully express at the moment.
With this renewed feeling of happiness, success and fullfillment, I also forgot about the initial question. I don't care what I am. I don't care whether I am a trainer or a climber. And I understand why it's been so difficult to find an answer to that question: because it's a stupid question, and stupid questions never have right answers.
Thanks for sharing.