Thursday, 20 September 2012


I am the ultimate grade chaser, and the grade that I chase is "+1".
As I've said before, climbing problems is really important, but it's not all that matters: doing moves that I could not do before, matters. It's rare to find a problem on which you can't do any of the moves, mostly because of the lack of new rock in the surroundings of where I live. There are new projects, of course, but each one is plagued by some minor or major issue that make them unappealing or unfeasible for me, especially bad landings. On one of these boulders I already smashed an ankle two years ago and I can't see myself getting on it very soon or very easily.
Anyway, The paradise in which every performed move is a new PB, is my board. Man, that's better than Prozac and cocaine together. There are no bad landings there, and nothing is morpho. I can pull or I can't.
Which leads to the next topic.
Despite a current wave of thought, all kindness and good will, that considers it a bad thing, I live on ego.
But it's my ego. It's not my ego versus someone else's one. It's just me, because in the climbing world that I know, there's only me. So, my ego satisfies myself without the need of confrontations with others, mainly because to me other climbers do not exist. If they do, I don't care what they do. This solves a lot of problems.
On my board, there are sequences, and you are supposed to do what's written on the notebook. If it says "match", you must match. If it says "LH cross" you must cross with your left hand, and you can only use the footholds that are allowed.
The key is not getting to the top, the key is screaming on every move. And I do.
I want it to be as hard as it can be, while not being impossible.
On rock, this attitude is not possible, unless you find yourself at Raven Tor, Minus Ten or the likes (and if you do, you have all my respect and a gentle kind of livid envy, because they are places in which history was made), and of course you can't complain if a new sequence is discovered, you can't call it cheating and it's all legit. But even so, I'll never switch to a new sequence if I planned to use another that feels harder.
I really can't see the point of trying to discover a new sequence: is it just to find yourself on top? If so, the easiest way is to walk on top of the boulder from the descent. I'm sure you get what I mean.
Last May, I repeated a problem with a sequence that allowed me to start one hold lower, but this also skipped a long first move off a nasty two finger jam in a crack. I don't know whether this sequence is harder or easier - for sure it's not morpho and everyone can do it -, fact is that the original move that I couldn't do remained in my mind.
That's why, applying my philosophy, I found myself under that piece of rock last Sunday. I did the move second go, cut loose - something I generally don't like, but on that occasion it felt so good - put my right foot back on, dropped into the undercling and stepped off.
I had done the move and that is all that matters, more than the problem. Will I go back to repeat it with this move? Probably, but with another completely different attitude and mindset.
On the day I did the problem, I had also tried another sequence of which I could not do the moves in isolation. Sunday I crushed this as well, just to be sure.
So, what's harder? Dynoing from a slot or getting an undercling above your head and locking it off? To me, now, it doesn't matter anymore. It mattered before because I only had done one sequence, but now, that I have done them all, it doesn't matter anymore. Which grade did I climb on Sunday? I climbed "+1". And that's why I pulled out my flask and sipped some Jura - thanks Paul.
I think that I am quite presumptuous, I've always been. But my ego was weak, and I was constantly thinking about others: what they were climbing, how much, where, how often, and sometimes I've been green with envy, feeling bitter and defrauded of something that I felt I had the right to have. It's a bad way of feeling. It's horrible.
Now, luckily, I am blessed by an enormous ego. So big that in my mind there's no room for anyone else.
And this is great.

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