Thursday, 3 September 2015
Hitting The Wall - Harvest Time
It's a big deal when a day doesn't go well. There aren't that many days now before winter and just getting to the crag is a mini-expedition. It's an hour-long drive and then a substantial slog up to the crag. Sandy crag itself almost has a mountain feel to it. The wind is nearly always blowing up there and, depending on where it's coming from, you can either have a sweaty slip-fest or a neigh-on arctic experience. If you can juggle these various elements (as well as managing to get on it before the sun hits it), then there are invariably good conditions to be had. Sometimes though, you can just be having a naff day.
I find my main motivation with routes is the feeling that they are outrageously hard and dangerous, but that I am good enough to climb them. Being able to realistically set off on something that you have built up as more-or-less impossible is something I never tire of. This is great at the beginning of a project, but there inevitably comes a time when the moves don't really seem that extreme any more, but you just don't seem to always climb them. If you have a bad session and you struggle to do links you did before, or you feel way more sketchy on crux moves, then that is a real hit to the euphoric mania that drives much of new-routing.
I suppose this is a very important time in a project. You naturally want to run away and forget all about it, but what makes the difference between doing these incredible things and not managing to do them is how you respond when hit with the terrifying obstacle of being shite. I find a sound tactic at this stage is to get a friend on the route who doesn't know it at all. Hopefully they won't flash it on a top rope and they will make some noise about how mad it is. This rekindles the original love you had for the line and makes you realise that you were just being a bit mopey. You can also meditate: try and feel the spirit of the route and how that interacts with your desires and core being.
As we head into autumn, psyche is going to be a hard-won thing. The days I look out of the window and see a cold and painful sky, I need to be putting my thick socks on and getting goose-bumpy. Back in time for pie...
Posted by Franco Cookson Written Thursday, September 03, 2015