18 September 2015–Aahh the feelings of inadequacy that come with not being able to send the project. Not good enough. Wanting it too bad. People say: “you gotta want it”. But sometimes the problem is wanting it too bad. But what is too bad? There is that fine balance between desire and apathy. I can get frustrated when I am not successful and that in turn frustrates me. Kind of a weird downward spiral. Sometimes mistakes can yield the most progress, both physically and mentally.
Yesterday Anne, Asher, Kevin, Bronwyn and I went up to the Iris. Anne’s project was occupied, so after warming up on some fun pocket pulling she opted for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Pump, another 5.12- in the vicinity. She floated up it to where it got hard, took a few whips then eventually made the moves and clipped the chains. Both Kevin and I wanted to top rope the thing, so Anne left the draws and lowered off.
I tied in and meandered up the first 2/3rds of the route, mostly five eight jug hauling with good pockets. Like Anne, the crux stumped me a bit and I took a few times, talked out some beta and eventually did the moves and got to the top. After lowering off, Kevin gave it a go. His process was similar to mine.
After the TR fest, Peick hopped back on for a second burn. She pulled the rope and danced up to the crux. Physically, she toyed with going left, using the side pull, but then decided against it, and went straight up with her left hand to the edge, then right hand to the pocket above, skooched her feet up and then up to the higher pocket with her left. All which was different than the beta she gave me and had used herself the first time. Despite the abrupt change in kinesthetics she floated on up, a helium balloon on an updraft, and clipped the chains for the redpoint. “You can leave it up” I yell up after offering the well deserved congratulations. “I’ll give it a burn on TR and I think Kevin wants to too.” I lower Anne and we exchange high fives. “You did that differently this time, went up with your left” I say. “Yeah, it seemed easier.” “Yep I think that is the beta I used too” Morgan adds. In true friend style though she quickly moves the attention from her send to me, her belayer, by bringing up some story from some non-epic fail/bail that occurred on some mole hill somewhere and randomly shares that with the group.
“Well, I’ll give you a belay” Kevin says, as I grab the end of the rope and start pulling it through for the top rope. The conversation continues at idle chit chat until I realize that the entire rope is on the ground at my feet. “Awww, Fuck Me” I exclaim. “Well that was fucking dumb” I continue, smacking my hand against my forehead. “I was wondering what you were doing” Kevin adds with a smile.
Well, shit, now I guess I have to get the rope back up there. Needless to say I had no intent on leading this route. But “if you do the crime, you do the time.” After a bit of banter and guffaws at my stupidity, I slide my shoes on, tie in, and start up the rock, Kevin attentively holding the rope down below. The five-eight jug haul, which of course doesn’t feel like five-eight goes smooth enough and after clipping the crux draw, I have Kevin take, then lean back and suss the moves. I think about the movement I had tried, (without much success) before and counter that with the movement Anne had done on her second go. After repositioning my feet, I make a few tentative upward movements and promptly fall off, taking my first lead fall in a number of months. Needless to say it feels good. I feel in control. I know the climbing is within my reach (pun intended). I batman back up, have a quick back and forth about beta with Morgan and Anne, who were watching from below then set up for time two. Left hand side pull, right hand good pocket. Left hand up to crimp/edge, right hand to small pocket. Move up feet, looking for hidden pocket with BIG tick. Left hand higher…OK pocket. Make the clip. Smooth as butter I pull through, using the side pull for my right hand and then up and left to a few pockets, which has me feeling a bit of a burn. Not seeing the intermediary, I lunge for the big jug at the anchors and, of course, miss it, going for the requisite fall. Another batman up, more beta exchange and actually seeing the two pockets for my left hand have me excited for another go. Once again, up and left, with fingers in left pocket, thumb in right then a few small pockets with the right, movement of feet and the ending jug with right. I try to suppress a smile.
Back on the ground, the TR firmly back in place, Kevin hems and haws over whether to pull the rope or not. Eventually he thanks me for the inspiration, pulls the rope and Anne belays him up. We, once again, fare about the same, though his movement looks a bit smoother than mine.
The afternoon wears on and I continue to climb, logging some seven pitches or so, an unusually high number for myself, especially considering the grades. After a lead of a 10d I try a TR into lead of a 12b and then a TR of Choke Cherry Eyes as the darkness encroached. I fare no better on the last two than I did on Butch Cassidy…but the fact that I got on and tried…well sometimes that is really what makes a day.
And sometimes that understanding comes from a mistake.
Featured Image: The Wlld Iris Main Wall