Miming is not something that I often do. In fact I find myself quite often mocking the mimers. The people who sit around and mime beta. Stem out left, good black edge. They move their feet in time with the words. Two big pockets, shoulder height for your hands, choose the right one and get your right hand in it. Their hands mimicking the words, grabbing fake rock. Transfer the weight on to the left foot, stand up and grasp the pinch/undercling with your left hand. It is best at the center of the pinch. The slow dance continues. Clip the draw from here. Establish the right foot and reach high, to the second pocket over the bolt. The pocket is super positive if you grab and pull right, but you will be doing this with your right hand. The hands raise and the eyes squint in concentration as the spray down continues.
Google “definition: project” and the first response will look something like this:
“An individual or collaborative enterprise planned and designed to achieve an aim.” There are times in my life where I have many irons on the fire. Planning a trip to Patagonia, writing a guidebook and starting a blog all come to mind. Then I have this clipboard on which a perpetual list lives. At any one time there are probably at least forty projects that I would like to get done written on the ever changing sheet of paper. A lot are simple to do items: laundry, plane tickets and get an oil change. In the big overall scheme of things, not true projects, but they are all things that need to get done. All this not withstanding, I am not someone who projects.
Not being someone who normally has climbing projects on my docket and definitely not being a mimer, it is with some amusement that I found myself standing in my room, doing the interpretive dance. Pull and crimp with my right hand, about chest height. Stand up, feet onto good edge and reach high for the sidepull-crimp with my left. My hand slowly moves up and my eyes close, picturing the yellow Bighorn Dolomite marred with black rubber and white chalk. I grab the upper part of the sidepull/crimp with my left hand, reaching down and grasping the imaginary rope with my right. I pull up the rope and clip it into the left facing draw, stabilizing the biner with my middle finger and controlling the rope with my index and thumb. My hand busts out up and right, grabbing another sidepull/crimp with my right hand. Even in my room, I practice the breathing, remembering its importance. I balance on my left foot while pulling hard on my right hand. I stand up and deposit my left foot on a polished, black nubbin. High right foot on a sucky, slopey hold. I let go with my left hand and make a long reach through to a bomber pocket. I grab and pull left. I breathe. It is a positive hold and I bring my feet underneath me, then reach down and grab the rope, pull it up and make the clip with my right hand. Then a long reach with my right foot and then the same with my right hand. Breathe. Positive crimps. Breathe. Match feet. Left hand good pocket. Breathe. Through the crux. Shake out. Cake from here, don’t blow it, breathe, you have up climbed and down-climbed this section.
A project. To many climbers it is what drives the upward movement through the grades. Climbing harder by working on moves, figuring them out and eventually linking them together. The send of these routes can come after a few tries or 100s of tries over the years. For me, projects are not a part of my climbing diet or at least not a big part, more akin to hamburgers than to beans and rice or grits. None the less, I found myself shaking out on the first big hold and looking at the next 20 feet to the anchor up in Sinks last week. I had the moves dialed and pulled them off, not flawlessly, but confidently. The high foot still sucked and as I reached through with my left hand to the good pocket, I could feel my right hand side crimp failing. Nonetheless, I drove on. More than any thing though, I think that finally clipping the quick clips at the top was more of a let down. The fight that I had expected wasn’t there and maybe I felt a bit empty. Days later, I sit after another day of climbing up in the canyon and can’t help but feel that I want more.