Monday, 12 April 2010

Fossil Wall

Yesterday saw a mad dash to the Peak for a day out of London, which I have been in need of for quite some time.

Grit probably would have probably been a  better option given the abundance of easy problems but both my partner and I never get on with the stuff. We did however want to try something different and after a quick search I came across Fossil Wall.

It was a speculative choice, but having been I can highly recommend it provided you like limestone. It is situated above the A6 just outside of Bakewell.

It was great to get out for a bit and dust off the cobwebs, however I am now paying the price with an acky shoulder.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Everything and Nothing

And just when I try to walk away - I find that I can't.

The life that I had when I started this blog bears little resemblance to the one that I have now. This isn't me anymore. Even now I'm in the twilight hours of further drastic change. This interim place too shall soon be no longer. I sometimes wish that it didn't have to be so dramatic. I now look back and wonder, was it really that bad, but sifting through the debris of past few years will get me nowhere.

It's difficult to admit that I will never climb at a reasonable level again. Last weekend I went bouldering indoors a few times. I guess it was in part to say goodbye. I've always had an odd relationship with climbing and the end is no different. I am angry with climbing. I wish I could just look back and see all of the good times, cool places, achievements, but all that I see is a person struggling her hardest and never achieving anything approaching her potential. I am mad at myself for letting climbing distract me from a life that was falling apart and in desperate need of attention. No, take it all away, it was never worth it. I look over my past blog articles and feel pathetic. Angst in the form of a not even partly committed training diary, but this was never really about climbing. Actually climbing was never just about climbing. It was about a person who was lost and found something hidden behind a rock flake in North Wales, a dusty cave in California, a limestone pocket in Spain. It was a belief that had long vanished.

I've recently come to the conclusion that while hard work is no guarantee of success, it makes it more likely than not trying and it often takes much, much more than you can ever imagine.

Monday, 22 February 2010

In the Pines

Now that all the cards have been laid on the table, I never feel alone. The heaviness of it thumps down the hallway behind me. It enters every room before I do and spills over the conversation. I’m haunted by knowing how the story ends.

This blog has in some way been about giving up. Climbing for me was a distraction from a life that had otherwise ended. It served as a focus which eventually gave me a piece of myself back, but it’s what happened next which was always my goal.

Of all the aspects surrounding challenges, dealing with failure is the one that I find most difficult. Reason would dictate that I should be accustomed to it by now, but this isn’t so. In fact I feel as though it’s cumulative and gets worse with each one.

I constantly set difficult challenges for myself. I’m never happy with just getting by. Time and time again I have wished that this wasn’t the case. I don’t even know if constantly battling makes me happy. It’s just what I do. Given this, I need to be more at peace with not always achieving what I set out to do.

Last week I achieved exactly what I set out to do. I still can’t understand why the emotions of sadness and joy feel so similar. Maybe they aren’t that different.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Old Friends

With a slight flutter in my heart, I shuffle my feet, and the generous incut of the final hold comes clearly into view. With a weakened arm, I steady myself and momentarily pause. “Grab it; it’s yours” the voice in my head shouts while the rest of the world vanishes. I somehow manage to keep it together just long enough to pop and I feel my fingers grip success. The voice was right; the problem was in the bag.

It was indoors but it was my first V5 in I don’t know how long. The problem was a balancy number on a vertical wall that suited my fingers, but not my lack of technique. I decided that, on balance, climbing – even with an injury – makes sense for me right now.

The past couple of months have been rough and when viewed in the context of the year as a whole look pretty grim. Not unsurprisingly, I fell off a cliff (figuratively, not literally).

I’ve been running away for a while now. I think that I needed a bit of space but this could only go on for so long. I realised that one of the major things in my life that was missing was climbing.

My physio exercises fell by the wayside and my shoulder is no better. It’s still weak and very painful on occasion. It probably needs more rest.

I’ve always had an all or nothing approach to life. I need to have a goal and I need to feel like I am working towards it. I don’t even need to fully believe in it. I just need something. Climbing keeps me focused. It keeps me out of trouble. It’s an outlet for me that I can’t seem to replace with anything healthy.

With this in mind, I decided to climb again. I went about 5 times over the holiday break and it was very dispiriting to say the least. V1 was a massive struggle and I could only manage a few moves on harder problems.

Misguidedly, I thought that by just making the decision to climb again things would start to fall into place. I now saw climbing as yet another thing in my life in which I had some potential and that I ultimately failed at. Just what I needed. I thought about quitting. I told myself that I didn’t care anymore and I couldn’t see myself committing again. It hurt too much.

The next time I went to the wall, I learnt just how wrong all of those feelings were. I found a lovely 6a+ at Craggy 2 (my regular wall was closed for refurbishment). It was somewhat powerful and reachy (for me!), yet I got it on the second try. I remembered just what it felt like to send a problem – I remembered why I had to go back to climbing. It was something that I hadn’t felt in a long while, probably since I had my viva.

Today I managed to get up a V5 at the Arch. I’m still a million miles away from where I want to be. However it is so much better to feel like I am working towards something, even if I’m too injured to be able to climb like I used to. I am going to take a break for about a week or so and concentrate on my physio exercises, but I don’t think that I’ll be taking months at a time off again.