Sunday, 29 June 2014

Getting In The Right Frame Of Mind

How are you going to feel when you break out into the crux? Guilty? There's no place for guilt. You have to be thoroughly self-absorbed. You have to be thinking about the things you want to do and why you do them. You have to think about why this climb is so important and why this move is going to define you, regardless of whether you manage it or not. You have to envisage a future where you do it and a future where you fall off. You have to be happy in both those futures and then you have to go for it full-pelt.

Technical blankness envelopes the starting climber. You straight away get a feeling of 'perchedness' and you're already at a considerable height. The beginning's effects are two-fold. You feel incredibly vulnerable, but also like you're flying. It gears you up and sends you floating into the heart of the arete. 
Above it starts to get serious. You're high and the climbing is loose and kind of old-fashioned.  This introduces another level of uncertainty and then you look above. It looks impenetrable, steep and terrifying. You're in space now. Below you is a sizable drop and the wall is overhanging. As you break out onto the crux, there's only one path to chose. It climbs backwards and you end up with all your limbs in a big knot. If you get through it, you might just get out onto the upper wall on some more suspect rock

You need to be damn sure you're not going to regret getting on this route. Fooling yourself that you're going to do it every time is irresponsible. You don't need to be sure you're going to do it, if you're happy with all possible outcomes. To embark on the route is to fulfill the dream: the dream is outrageousness. To get on the route is to have been on that wave. Whether you die, are crippled, or do it, you have explored your own mind, you have explored the thing that you thought most important and you've created your own kingdom. The arete at Maiden's Bluff is a fairy line that allows physicallities to be left behind and the rawest part of the human psyche to be explored.

As we're approaching the time for the solo, it's these thoughts that I'm convincing myself of. Such a looming challenge creates a massive presence in your life that really starts to dominate day-to-day thoughts. It's similar to a traditional headpoint in many ways, but more fractious in its effects on your mind.  Eventually, you've thought about it so much and know it so well that you think it's time to go for it and you can no longer just stay in the present. If you can't create certainty of outcomes, you can create certainty of motive. If I fall off this thing, I hope people approach my actions with an open mind and try and understand. I hope that one day someone will take up the baton of Moors new wave climbing and we'll all have to stop hiding behind gimmicks. There's a new level of risk that we've shied away from, hiding behind the normalising repertoire of the climbing media. Raw Moors smashes this to pieces.

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